Credit: Courtesy | Stacey Rucas

The College of Liberal Arts (CLA) held their first-ever Summer Undergraduate Research Program Symposium in collaboration with the College of Engineering — highlighting more than $50,000 worth of summer research from Cal Poly students and faculty.

The event, held on Oct. 1, consisted of seven different experiments and showcases where student researchers were able to explain their findings from projects conducted over the summer.

Some of these experiments included, “TikTok Videos as a Stimulus Set for Generalizable Experiments,” “Captured Slave Ships and the Abolition of the Slave Trade” and “Who’s in control? Pandemic related impacts on locus of control.” This event was in partnership with the College of Engineering, which has been putting on their own version of this event for a few years.

“The experience was wonderful to see that kind of collaboration and inclusion from these two very different sides of campus,” CLA Director of Research Engagement and Internationalization Dawn Neill said.

Faculty members pitched their ideas and only seven were chosen. From there, students were given the ability to apply for a project and a grant. Ten students were ultimately chosen based on their portfolios as well as the funds available.

CLA pooled together $50,000 in order to support these students and faculty during their research. By providing each participant with funds, researchers were able to spend their summer working on the project, rather than finding a summer job.

“The way this event actually came together was motivated by the College of Engineering saying ‘Hey, we do a symposium every year, why don’t we join forces and give our students more exposure,’” Neill said.

Senior anthropology-geography students Siena de Costa Pinto and Sophie Klitgaard, as well as Professor Stacey Rucas, came together to discuss the idea of the ‘locus of control’ at the symposium. After months of researching, they were finally able to present their findings, in person.

“It made me very happy to see, but was also very fulfilling,” Klitgaard said.

With plans already set for next year’s event, the SURP symposium is becoming a new tradition for CLA.

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