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IUPUI to host statewide Indiana University Undergraduate Research Conference

Richard E. Ward
Richard E. Ward


November 6, 2012

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Research findings include discovery of wider Civil War usage of railroad batteries

INDIANAPOLIS -- As many as seven railroad batteries -- not just two as previously thought -- were widely used across the Confederacy during the Civil War and played important roles in several key war campaigns, according to an Indiana University Kokomo undergraduate student researcher.

In a meticulous study of primary and secondary sources of the Civil War, IU Kokomo student Nathan J. Runda uncovered five to seven railroad batteries -- combat machinery composed of heavy artillery pieces mounted on flat railroad cars -- used during the war. Runda says his discovery “is a positive contribution to the field of Civil War scholarship because it brings to light a portion of Civil War history that has not been thoroughly analyzed and researched until now.”

Runda is one of 130 undergraduate students from eight Indiana University campuses who will either display poster presentations or deliver oral presentations about their faculty-mentored research projects during the annual Indiana University Undergraduate Research Conference. Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis is hosting the conference from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 16, in Room 450 of the IUPUI Campus Center, 420 University Blvd.

Runda will display his research findings during a poster presentation at the conference’s first poster session. The poster sessions, the first one scheduled from 10:20 to 11:30 a.m., and the second from 1:15 to 2:15 p.m., are open to the public.

All Indiana University undergraduate researchers were invited to submit abstracts of their research in a bid for presentation time during the statewide conference, now in its 18th year.
The conference is open to all disciplines including visual and performing arts, humanities, natural and physical sciences, mathematics, engineering, business, education and nursing.

“IUURC celebrates undergraduate research and creative activity, performed in partnership with faculty members, independently from course requirements,” said host Richard E. Ward, executive director of the IUPUI Center for Research and Learning. “It recognizes higher education's ongoing emphasis upon engaged learning by undergraduates and celebrates an important part of academic life that is common to all of the campuses of Indiana University.”
Research topics as diverse as the study of the railroad batteries, the multidisciplinary design of a robotic football player and the effect of treadmill exercise on high blood pressure are among the projects researchers will display in this year’s event.

In addition to the poster and oral presentations, networking sessions for students and faculty researchers, along with a graduate school fair, will take place.

Speakers for conference events open to participating research students include Nasser Paydar, executive vice chancellor of IUPUI; James C. Wimbush, dean of the University Graduate School; Sherry F. Queener, IU Graduate School associate dean; and Robinah K. Maasa, an undergraduate student majoring in biology in the Purdue School of Science at IUPUI.