Regional undergraduate conference draws record number of attendees


Grand Rapids, Mich. (Nov. 21, 2013) – The seventh annual West Michigan Regional Undergraduate Science Conference was held Saturday, November 16 at Van Andel Research Institute. The conference, which this year drew a record attendance of more than 340 students and faculty, is geared towards students in all science-related disciplines and provides a unique opportunity for undergraduates to present their scientific findings to peers and professionals.

“For some students, the conference is the first opportunity to present their own research,” said Dr. Steven Triezenberg, Director of Van Andel Education Institute. “It can be an experience that is influential in their career path.”

Poster presentations were made by 180 students from more than 12 colleges and universities. Students also met with representatives from 11 graduate schools including Van Andel Institute Graduate School to learn more about advancing their science education.

“It’s one thing to present your work to your class; it’s quite another to stand up and present it in front of a few hundred people,”said Dr. Nick Duesbery, Head of the Laboratory of Cancer and Developmental Cell Biology at Van Andel Research Institute. Dr. Duesbery helped coordinate the conference and expects the event to continue to grow.

The conference is organized by Aquinas College, Calvin College, Grand Valley State University, Hope College and Van Andel Institute Graduate School. Like other programs at Van Andel Education Institute (VAEI), it has grown significantly over the past seven years.

VAEI is dedicated to strengthening science education and preparing students for science-related careers. Programs are designed for students in grade school through graduate school and are based on research findings that optimal learning of science occurs through a process of inquiry. The West Michigan Regional Undergraduate Science Conference furthers that mission by encouraging undergraduate student research.

“A critical mission for Van Andel Institute is to create scientists for the future,” said Dr. Triezenberg. “We want to encourage students of all ages to pursue fulfilling science careers.”

Learn more about the science education programs at Van Andel Institute by visiting www.vai.org/vaei. View pictures from the event on Van Andel Institute’s Facebook Page.


About Van Andel Institute

Established by Jay and Betty Van Andel in 1996, Van Andel Institute (VAI) is an independent research and educational organization based in Grand Rapids, Mich., dedicated to preserving, enhancing and expanding the frontiers of medical science, and to achieving excellence in education by probing fundamental issues of education and the learning process.  Van Andel Research Institute (VARI), VAI’s research arm, is dedicated to studying the genetic, cellular and molecular origins of cancer, Parkinson’s and other diseases and working to translate those findings into effective therapies. This is accomplished through the work of more than 200 researchers in on-site laboratories and in collaborative partnerships that span the globe. Find out more about Van Andel Institute or donate by visiting www.vai.org