Students present research at National Conference on Undergraduate Research

Students present research at National Conference on Undergraduate Research

April 28, 2019

Two Maryville College students recently had the opportunity to present their research at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR).

The conference, held April 11-13 at Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Ga., was attended by more than 4,500 people, with nearly 400 colleges and universities represented.

Kai Wang ’19, a child development and learning major from Taiyuan, China, and Hannah Wilson ’19, a psychology major from Nashville, Tenn., delivered poster presentations about their Senior Study research. Their research was selected out of more than 4,000 submissions (and only 800 were presented).

Wang’s presentation was about The Attitudes of Teachers Towards Online Teaching Environments from a Global Perspective. The purpose of her research is to "discover the perspectives of distance education from American and Chinese teachers from two online companies: Education Without Barriers and VIPKID," she said.

Wang said she received positive feedback on her presentation from conference attendees.

“One of them is a future teacher in VIPKID, which is the company that I researched. We talked about the pros and cons of teaching English online and suggestions for teachers in an online classroom,” said Wang, who will attend Boston University this fall to pursue a master’s degree in curriculum and teaching. “NCUR is my first conference experience, and I am very glad that I could represent Maryville College as an international student. I met a lot of people who are interested in distance education, and we discussed business models and teaching strategies. Since I believe technology is the future of education, hearing from other teachers helps me to look at my research in a different perspective.”

Wilson gave a presentation about College Students’ Electronics and Social Media Use: The Impact of Nature Exposure and Physical Activity.

“I received mainly positive feedback [about my presentation]," Wilson said. “The people who stopped by thought my research was really interesting and culturally relevant.”

Wilson said that she and Wang presented their posters along with 80-100 other students.

“When I started my allotted time, I immediately had people coming up to me asking about my research,” said Wilson, who plans to attend graduate school in a few years. “Everyone who stopped by was interested in or had researched/learned about my area of research (social media, screen time, outdoors time and mental health). Some people would just read a bit then leave, but plenty of people stayed to ask questions and talk to me. This was absolutely a learning experience for me. Overall it was a lot of fun, and I'm so glad I got to be a part of NCUR.”

Dr. Kathie Shiba, professor of psychology and chair of the Division of Behavioral Sciences at Maryville College, attended the conference with the students.

“This particular conference was a national conference that specifically promotes undergraduate research in a wide range of disciplines,” Shiba said. “In addition to presenting their research at NCUR, the experience gave Kai and Hannah the opportunity to network with other undergraduate students, graduate students and graduate schools. They also saw how their research fit into current research in the field.”

Watch a video overview of the 2019 NCUR conference: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DQ-pGf2Fw-k


Maryville College is ideally situated in Maryville, Tenn., between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Knoxville, the state's third largest city. Founded in 1819, it is the 12th oldest institution of higher learning in the South and maintains an affiliation with the Presbyterian Church (USA). Known for offering its students a rigorous and highly personal experience that includes an undergraduate research requirement, Maryville College is a nationally ranked institution of higher learning that successfully joins the liberal arts and professional preparation. Total enrollment for the Fall 2019 semester is 1,148.