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Spartanburg Marriott (forum headquarters)
SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The first collegiate research forum organized exclusively for students attending Southern Conference institutions is entering its final preparation stages.
The SoCon Undergraduate Research Forum (SURF) will take place Oct. 28-29 on the campus of Wofford College in Spartanburg, S.C. More than 100 students, faculty and staff are expected to participate in the two-day event.
In addition to the STEM disciplines of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, research presented at SURF may include the arts and humanities. There will be no registration fee and no cost to participating students. Bill Kwochka, associate professor of organic chemistry at Western Carolina University, has chaired the subcommittee organizing SURF.
“The forum is particularly designed for sophomores and juniors who may not have extensive experience in presenting research,” said John Iamarino, Commissioner of the Southern Conference. “SURF will give these students a chance to become comfortable at presenting their projects and provide them greater opportunities to participate in regional and national symposiums.”
SURF is a byproduct of the Southern Conference Academic Exchange, an initiative started in 2014 by the 10 member institutions to work collaboratively on academic-related matters. Led by the chief academic officers, the Exchange has already operated a leadership development program for faculty and staff, paved the way for SURF, and is working on sharing international study programs.
“The research forum is a tangible example of how Southern Conference members can work together outside the field of athletic competition,” said Iamarino. “It has been gratifying to see the support provided by our presidents, chancellors and provosts.”
Stacey Hettes, associate provost for faculty development at Wofford, has been the primary point person in arranging logistics for the two-day forum at Wofford. The conference office has assisted in securing the nearby Spartanburg Marriott Hotel as the headquarters property for participants, has arranged catering by Ingles Markets and will provide a gift bag for all attendees. Complimentary tickets to the Mercer-Wofford football game on Oct. 29 will also be available to attendees.
Students interested in participating in SURF should contact their academic advisors on campus.