Undergraduates invited to apply to attend, present at ACC Meeting of the Minds Conference

Meeting of the Minds photo

Joeann Salvati ’18 is currently working as a pre-doctoral research fellow in the Fundamentals of the Adolescent Brain (FAB) lab at Yale University. As a Syracuse University undergraduate studying psychology and forensic science last year, she participated in the 2018 ACC Meeting of the Minds (M.o.M.) conference. The conference highlights the research and creative work of undergraduates from the ACC’s 15 colleges and universities.

That opportunity, she says, helped solidify her love for research and for sharing her work with the scientific community.

“My research on false confessions as an undergraduate helped me recognize that I can use science to explore questions that I am passionate about, particularly why some individuals may be wrongfully involved in the criminal justice system. This has served to inform my more specific research question, as I am currently interested in the underlying mechanisms of adolescent behaviors that are deemed deviant and can lead to involvement in the criminal and juvenile justice systems.”

This year’s M.o.M. conference will be held March 29-31 at the University of Louisville. Each of the ACC’s 15 schools will select six undergraduates to attend and present at the conference. Undergraduates who have engaged in or have recently completed an original research or creative project under the mentorship of a faculty member are eligible to apply. Applicants can come from any field or discipline and can be at any point in their program of study. The experience is fully-funded for students.

“The Meeting of the Minds conference is a great opportunity for our students,” says Chris Johnson, associate provost for academic affairs. “It gives them a chance to present their research. In the process, they gain valuable feedback and perspective on their work and make important connections with faculty and students from across our fellow ACC institutions.”

Syracuse University students can apply by completing a brief application at https://tiny.cc/mom2019. The deadline to submit is Friday, Feb. 1. For more information about the 2019 M.o.M. Conference, contact Melissa Lowry at malowry@syr.edu.

Danielle Schaf, a senior majoring in anthropology in the College of Arts and Sciences and the Maxwell School and in forensic science and writing and rhetoric in Arts and Sciences and a member of the Renée Crown University Honors Program, presented at last year’s M.o.M. conference on bioarchaeological research that investigated the manifestation of manual labor and structural violence on the skeletal remains from the 19th-century Oneida County Asylum.

“Presenting it at M.o.M. provided me the opportunity to articulate the novelty of my research to an audience I had never encountered before and an audience that was quite unfamiliar with the discipline of bioarcheology. The conference helped me identify clearly the significance and originality of my research, and how to make it accessible and comprehensible to those beyond my discipline. It has continued to impact the research I have done for my senior thesis.”

Salvati, who was also an Honors participant, says the conference provided her the opportunity to present her work to researchers from various disciplines. “Often, we as researchers can get used to communicating with others in our respective field,” she says. “Presenting at the M.o.M. conference challenged me to talk about my work in a new way—one that was engaging yet comprehensible to those in different fields. This experience taught me how to articulate the key components of my science and the real-world significance of my work to individuals outside the fields of psychology and forensic science.”

Schaf said the advice she would give to students considering applying is to apply. “Do not let this opportunity go to waste. I nearly didn’t apply until my advisor recommended that I should, and I am so grateful that I did,” she says. “Presenting my research at M.o.M has been one of the highlights of my undergraduate career. The conference was unlike any other conference I had been to before. It was not only the convergence of 15 prestigious research institutions, but was also the convergence of a myriad of fields and disciplines; it was an extraordinary opportunity.”

By Kelly Homan Rodoski