Butler University student Jaquell Hamelin hypothesized that black students are less loyal to their schools than white students are, but he didn’t know for sure. So, he decided to research the question, and on Friday, April 13, he presented his findings at Butler’s 30th annual Undergraduate Research Conference (URC).
Hamelin told a packed classroom that he surveyed students from Butler and Purdue. He asked whether they would donate to their university after graduation, if they felt they had a positive relationship with, considered themselves loyal to, and would recommend their school.
Although the sample size was small, he said, the preliminary results confirmed what he expected: Of the 21 white respondents, 15 considered themselves loyal; of the 11 black respondents, three labeled themselves that way.
“Even though there are black and white college kids here and they’re trying to achieve the same thing, the white students have more tools when they leave,” he said. “These schools weren’t built to support the needs of diverse student bodies.”
Hamelin was among nearly 900 participants in the conference, which attracted students from 23 states who were presenting in 25 subject areas.
Courtney Hayes, a student from Eastern Kentucky University, presented her research on “Optimization of Camera Trapping Methods for Surveying Mesopredators in the Appalachian Foothills.” To find out what kind of mid-sized, mid-level predators live in her region—meaning skunks, raccoons, possums, and more—she put out bait and installed cameras at 72 sites across 10 counties.
The hope, she said, was to measure biodiversity, which is an indicator of ecosystem health.
Hayes said being able to share her work at the URC was a nice experience.
“I’ve presented in Kentucky a lot and I’ve presented in Virginia, but it was interesting to come to Indiana, where there are no spotted skunks, to see how people want to hear about it,” she said.
While science-related presentations accounted for slightly more than half of this year’s URC presentations, the conference also included topics such as “The Relationship Between Social Media, Anxiety, and Depression,” “Are the Highly Religious Better at Resisting Temptation?” and “Stress and Academic Outcomes in College Students.”
Four teams of two from an IUPUI anthropology class presented their research on what happened to workers at the Carrier and Rexnord plants in Indianapolis who were laid off when their factories moved to Mexico. The students found that workers were bitter and blamed “greedy” management for valuing money over American jobs.
Jake Watson, one of the IUPUI students, said the goal of his and partner Corinne Baker’s portion of the project was to give the laid-off workers a voice.
“We’re undergrads,” he said. “We’re not trying to fix everything in the world. But we think that by drawing attention to this conversation and this process of deindustrialization, we can change the conversation in the future.”
Marc Allan MFA ’18