At the end of January 2021, 52 University of South Florida (USF) undergraduate students from 13 different majors, ranging from religious studies to biomedical sciences, gathered online to present their original research projects on a huge variety of humanities topics. The Second Annual Undergraduate Humanities Conference was sponsored by the USF Humanities Institute (HI) and is designed to promote the High Impact Practice (HIP) of undergraduate research in the humanities.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, this year’s conference was held online January 28 – 29 and featured a warm welcome from USF President Steven Currall, followed by digital poster sessions and ten panel discussions on topics such as visual rhetoric, representations of gender in literature, and medical humanities.
As USF continues to strive towards membership in the Association of American Universities (AAU), the Humanities Institute is a proud supporter of undergraduate research, a principle AAU value.
For most students, the HI conference was their first experience presenting original research. It provided the platform to share their work, meet other students working on similar topics, and take live questions from audience members. Whether preparing for graduate school or the workforce, students gain valuable professionalization skills by taking part in the conference.
“This conference provides an incredible professional opportunity for undergraduate humanities students to showcase their research in an environment that encourages advancing your researching skills without intimidating new researchers,” said Angelica Johnson, a USF English major and conference participant.
Although the conference is focused on humanities research, the student scholars represent over a dozen majors and curricular programs at USF.
“I can honestly say it is an incredible and worthwhile experience. This conference is special and unique for its ability to shine a light on research that is both personally and professionally exploratory. This conference really reminds us to put the [human] of humanities back into everything we do,” explained Francesco Little, an Integrative Animal Biology major.
Recordings of this year’s conference are now available on the Humanities Institute’s website.
The Humanities Research Conference is made possible with support from the Clara Cooper Endowment for the Humanities. The Humanities Institute provides no-cost educational opportunities for residents and facilitates humanities research by USF students and faculty.