ACC Meeting Of The Minds Showcases Top Undergraduate Research

The Atlantic Coast Conference — a collection of 12 universities stretching from Florida to Massachusetts — is typically known for its athletic competition, but the organization is also committed to showcasing the best of its academics, too.

Representatives from each of the universities visited Atlanta recently for the annual Meeting of the Minds Undergraduate Research Conference, bringing together the top student researchers from the University of Miami, Virginia Tech, Florida State University, University of Maryland, North Carolina State University, Boston College, Wake Forest, Clemson, Duke, University of North Carolina, University of Virginia, and Georgia Tech.

This year’s conference was hosted at Georgia Tech in the Global Learning Center and Academy of Medicine Building with additional support from the Office of the Provost. More than 80 undergraduates shared their research work through posters, presentations, and models or displays.

“The event began as an idea from the annual meeting of ACC university presidents in 1999,” said Karen Harwell, Georgia Tech’s director of undergraduate research. The group sought to encourage collaboration across all ACC universities outside athletic competitions. Using proceeds from the annual ACC championship football game, the university presidents established the Meeting of the Minds conference.

Meeting of the Minds has evolved into an important event for each of the participating schools. “The conference has become an opportunity for ACC universities to highlight the diversity of research work being completed by undergraduates and for students to share their work with peers,” said Harwell. “Part of the research experience is learning to present the work to varied audiences. This event allows students to present their work to other peers in a very diverse set of majors.”

Students must be appointed by their university to attend the conference; Georgia Tech sent eleven students: Nathaniel Bloodworth, Sam Coogan, Kalpi Desai, Katy Hammersmith, Steve Hsieh, Nadir Kabir, Gita Mahmoudabadi, Colby Mangels, Kelsey Martin, Daniel McGrail, Brittany Utting. The research presented by Tech students originated from several schools and colleges across the Institute, ranging from DNA structures to the image of women in advertising.

Appointed faculty members from each of the twelve schools also attend. “Faculty representatives hold their own panel sessions on undergraduate research and creative inquiry in order to learn best practices from each other,” said Harwell.

Meeting of the Minds
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A Georgia Tech student presents his research at the ACC Meeting of the Minds Undergraduate Research Conference.