Kentucky Wins!

Unbeknownst to much of the Luther contingent going to Kentucky for the National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR), the conference’s host university’s men’s basketball team entered the Final Four. But UK (their acronym, not mine!) won something else: this year’s NCUR had a record-breaking number of participant-registrants (4 200 undergraduates!) and the conference seemed to run flawlessly. NCUR was an extremely different experience from last week’s SAC conference; for one, I wasn’t alone – eleven other Luther students (mostly seniors) presented. NCUR was a conference of magnitude and subsequent anonymity.

Sure, I went to some interesting presentations and chatted with poster presenters on varied topics:

  • The wood chosen for making musical instruments is highly endangered – a call for sustainable choices in the music industry.
  • Pilgrims on a pilgrimage in Spain have a variety of motivations.
  • The word “slut” is powerful because its meaning is flexible; as labeling people with the word dehumanizes victims, slut shaming is a form of defamation.
  • Tariq Ramadan’s reformist ideas are simply rehashed proposals from Islamic reformers from the 19th century, including Jamal ad-Din al-Afghani.
  • Tobacco advertisements in a community in Ladakh, India, have little effect on adolescent smoking behavior, mainly because there are few tobacco ads.
  • Tattoos can be a form of self-therapy, as much for “losing people to death as for losing people who are still living.”
  • After a certain amount of energy enters a system of fluid liquid crystals, they will align into rolls. Increase the energy more, and the rolls will disperse into turbulence.
  • There are mathematical patterns (periods and drifting periods) in triangular tilings of media that negatively refract light.

I had some good chats with students and professors and a few adventures, including walking for 1.5 hours out of Lexington’s center to our hotel. I learned about the famous Kentucky Thoroughbred industry; we also learned that the region’s largest employers are auto manufacturers such as Toyota. Ironically, we spent a lot of time waiting for transportation to pick us up. Based on the stories I heard, everyone from Luther enjoyed him or herself. My presentation went wonderfully, and I was exhausted by the time we returned. Thankfully, I have a month-long break before my next presentation.


About landje03

A passionate outdoor educator, I hold a degree in anthropology. While not a salaried academic, I pursue various thoughts stemming from my experiences and their intersections with others' experiences. I also love to start conversations, so comment if anything tickles your fancy.
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