Tag Archives: undergraduate research

Research Teas at Van Pelt Library


This fall, we are organizing a series called Research Teas that are meant to be open forums for students, both undergraduate and graduate, to discuss their research. Each of the six sessions this semester will have a topic to ground our discussions (see below), but participants are welcome to discuss their own research regardless of that month’s topic. Tea and cookies will be served!

We hope that this forum provides an opportunity for students to share ideas about research across disciplines and interests. Sessions will be held from 4 to 5:30pm in the Collaborative Classroom, and you can register by clicking the links below. We hope to see you on Wednesdays this fall!

September 23 – Personal Voice: Letters and Diaries

October 7 – The Week that Was: Historical Newspapers and Magazines

October 21 – Historical Geography: Discovering, Using, and Making Maps

November 4 – From Millions of Books: Making and Manipulating a Corpus

November 18 – Worth a Thousand Words: Working with Photographs and Images

December 2 – Picturing the Past and Present: Political cartoons, comics, and graphic novels

CURF Poster Session – Spring 2013

Each year, the Center for Undergraduate Research & Fellowships (CURF) hosts Undergraduate Research Symposiums, where undergrads present their research on fascinating topics. David and I try to make a habit of going to the symposium each semester, and I have enjoyed talking with students about their work on everything from Allen Ginsberg to soccer-playing humanoids.

We wrote about the September 2012 posters back in January, and we’re excited to add three new posters to our Student Work Showcase from the March 2013 CURF Symposium.

Photo of student Arielle Pardes with her research poster
Arielle Pardes sharing her poster, “The Birds, the Bees, and the Swedes” with a poster session attendee

Continue reading CURF Poster Session – Spring 2013

Using iPads in the Rare Book Room

This guest post by Cathy Turner describes her experiences with our iPads in the Classroom program:

Cathy Turner and John Pollack from the Rare Book and Manuscript Library with students

This year in my class, Literature of the Great Depression in America, I designed three class days (I called them clinics) around connecting the text-based resources of Van Pelt Library — the stacks and rare books and manuscripts — with the library’s digital resources through WIC’s iPad lending program.  While combining rare books with a more cutting edge tool might seem an unusual pairing, students found both cool and the combination solved a problem that I had getting students to understand the process and people involved in creating the types of books and magazines that readers used in the 1930s.

Students love going to the rare book room.  Even the books I show them, which are less than 100 years old, seem like relics.  For English majors, the fact that the books at Penn are often signed carries even deeper significance.  Students tell me that it is exciting to hold a book in their hand that they can imagine the authors we read, John Steinbeck or William Carlos Williams, had touched.  (They often have no idea how lucky they themselves are to be allowed to touch these things.  Few rare book and manuscript departments are as eager as Penn’s to give undergraduates access.)  Visiting the rare book room in a class on the 20th Century gives students some connection to the fairly near past, even as it feels quite distant to them. Continue reading Using iPads in the Rare Book Room

Re:Humanities 2013 Undergraduate DH Symposium

For all undergraduates interested in Digital Humanities, there is a very exciting opportunity coming up to get more involved in the field, have your work showcased, and meet other undergrads and professors who share your DH interests.  The symposium is called Re:Humanities 2013 and is organized by the Re:Humanities group, consisting of undergraduate students from Haverford, Bryn Mawr, and Swarthmore Colleges.  As the only national DH conference run by and for students, Re:Humanities explores all aspects of digital scholarship through multimodal approaches.  The symposium, this year at Haverford College, will take place on April 4th and 5th, and the group has extended its deadline for proposals/papers until next Friday, December 7th.  Follow group updates on Twitter with the hashtag #rehum13, and check out the video from last year’s event for more information:

Penn undergrads interested in DH are especially encouraged to submit a proposal, based either on a project you’ve already completed or one that you’re interested in starting.  Our staff at WIC would be excited to help you with whichever project you choose.  Project ideas can be found by exploring some of our resources here at WIC, whether on our Student Work Showcase page, or in our various blog posts (see some of my posts on Demystifying the Digital Humanities, Playing Games with Metadata, and the Penn Humanities Forum, for examples of some DH ideas).

Re:Humanities also encourages “transmedia storytelling,” which could be a very fun and less complicated project than, say, data or text mining.  Here at WIC, we often use Storify to capture our events, by creating a narrative from pictures, tweets, Facebook posts, and participant comments that accumulate over the course of an event.  See our Gadget Day and Symposium Storifies as examples.  Such a digital story could be especially interesting to recount current events, for example, highlights of the 2012 election.  If you’re not into storytelling, you could think about some other topics that those at WIC have explored in the past:  creating a mashup video, a comic book, or an interactive Google map.

These are just a few ideas that you can explore.  Please come talk to us if you need help developing or carrying out an idea.  The deadline is next Friday, December 7, and we wouldn’t want you to miss this DH opportunity!

Student Showcase – McNair Research Posters

Each summer, WIC staff and librarians from many parts of Penn Libraries have the distinct pleasure of helping the McNair Scholars cohort with their summer research projects. Last year, the students explored creation of research posters in addition to live presentations (with PowerPoint). This year, that trend continued. Nine McNair Scholars spent many days this summer in Van Pelt mastering reference managers and presentation software. Our staff helped students design, and refine, their posters, and we are glad to present a few examples in the 2012 McNair Student Poster Showcase. We look forward to assisting the nine student researchers as they continue to explore these topics over the upcoming school year.

Exemplary Poster Design

Our poster printer has been humming along all year, and we have enjoyed helping students learn how to improve layout and design. This spring, we identified two exemplary posters from a large set shown at the Center for Undergraduate Research and Fellowships (CURF) Undergraduate Research Symposium. Rick Laurent Feely gives prominence to jarring images and uses a mellow color palette to convey mood in his poster “Madhouse Messiah” about the early years of poet Allen Ginsberg.

Madhouse Messiah poster

Ollin Venegas neatly organizes the elements in his presentation to fit the narrative of his research in “Notions of Health and Manhood in a Guatemalan Gym: Patterns Contra to Machismo.”

Notions of Health and Manhood in a Guatemalan Gym poster

For more on designing research posters, consider attending our upcoming Photoshop for Research Posters workshop, which will be held on June 14th in the WIC Seminar Room.

Visit to CityU in Hong Kong

I had the opportunity recently to travel to Hong Kong to facilitate two student research sharing sessions at the Outstanding Academic Papers by Students (OAPS) award ceremony conducted by City University’s Run Run Shaw Library. I gave a presentation about new media literacies, discussed our Mashup Contests and met with reference librarians. Continue reading Visit to CityU in Hong Kong