2019 Maricopa Student Research Conference proves to be bigger and better than ever

March 06, 2019

Exciting changes are in store for the upcoming Maricopa Student Research Conference! The 13th annual event is scheduled for April 24 at Estrella Mountain Community College (EMCC), offers more opportunities for students to compete for increased scholarship awards. Plus, medals will be given to all first-, second-, and third-place winners.

The conference is the brainchild of the late Dr. Bryan Tippett. Tippett was EMCC’s Vice President of Academic Affairs before his untimely death in the spring of 2015.

“Dr. Tippett saw what was happening in the classroom,” said Dr. Polly Miller, Residential Faculty: Computer Information Systems, who is serving as the Conference Faculty Coordinator this year. “He saw that the research the students and faculty were conducting was every bit as good as what was happening at a four-year university. He wanted to promote that work and celebrate it.”

The conference allows students to present their own work in a formal academic conference environment and compete for scholarship awards. Students must engage in undergraduate research with a faculty mentor. Students from all 10 Maricopa Community Colleges are invited to compete individually or in teams of up to three. Their works are presented orally or via poster board.

In the past, each conference featured a theme, but this year, to align with Guided Pathways and Fields of Interest, three research tracks have been introduced: Humanities and Behavioral and Social Sciences; Occupational Education; and Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM).

“A theme doesn’t necessarily resonate with faculty in certain disciplines,” Miller said. “So we eliminated the theme and we really concentrated on the disciplines this year and the research tracks. I think it’s going to be really interesting to see who competes this year.”

First-, second-, and third-place scholarships will be awarded in both the oral presentation and poster board presentation categories in each of the three research tracks. That means 18 scholarships will be awarded this year! And they’ve increased substantially from previous years. Scholarships for first, second, and third place have gone from $500, $250, and $150 in years past to $1,000, $750, and $500 this year.

This is the first time the awards have increased since the conference began in 2006.

“Thanks to the support of the Maricopa Resource Development Council, the Vice Presidents of Academic Affairs, and the Vice Presidents of Administrative Services, colleges across Maricopa have earmarked funds to support the conference,” Miller said. “So we’re really excited about it.”

Past winning research topics include “Extraction of Bioactive Plant Molecules and Their Potential Antimicrobial Properties,” “Incremental Mindset and Subjective Happiness,” “Can You Spare Some Change? The Impact of Identifiability and Religiosity on Charitable Giving,” and “David’s Three: A Look Into Renaissance Nativity.”

Research proposals are due March 20. Faculty from across the Maricopa Community Colleges will judge them against a rubric, with the top scorers moving on to the April 24 conference. Those competitors will be judged by faculty against a slightly different rubric. To see the rubrics, visit https://www.estrellamountain.edu/conferences/student-conference.

To register for the conference, go to https://www.estrellamountain.edu/conferences/student-conference/registration.