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University of Iowa News Release


March 21, 2011

Jakobsen Conference will highlight graduate student work March 26

University of Iowa graduate students from a variety of academic disciplines will showcase their research during the 13th annual James F. Jakobsen Graduate Conference Saturday, March 26, at the Iowa Memorial Union.

Co-sponsored by the Graduate College and the Graduate Student Senate, the free, public event gives UI graduate students experience presenting their research in a conference-like atmosphere without leaving home. A total of 136 graduate students in arts and research; biological and health sciences; creative works; the humanities; mathematical, physical and engineering sciences; and social sciences and education will have oral presentations from 1:30 to 5:30 p.m., and poster presentations from 4 to 5:30 p.m.

Projects include an analysis of ammonia as a possible alternative fuel, urban gentrification and the remaking of a Midwestern high school, and the development of a scale to assess parents' stress levels.

"This year's conference will focus on investigating and exploring the quality research coming from diverse sections of this campus," said Kyle Moody, Jakobsen Conference publicity co-chair. "Our goal is to provide a chance for students to see the research that their peers are doing and learn methods to improve their work. There is nothing quite like the Jakobsen Conference when it comes to opportunities to see a wide range of material."

This year, graduate students will make presentations in a new creative works division, which includes the music, art, nonfiction writing, theatre and communication studies programs.

"This year, we are introducing the creative works division as a regular session of the conference," said stef shuster, Graduate Student Senate president and Jakobsen Conference event planning co-chair. "Over the last several years, creative arts on our campus have faced a number of obstacles because of the flooding of 2008 and subsequent damage to buildings. As a conference that embraces all sectors of graduate student research, we are excited to have a creative works division for students in the creative disciplines."

The Jakobsen Conference is the capstone event of Graduate Student Recognition Week, which runs from March 21-27.

In conjunction with the Jakobsen Conference, the Graduate College will award its most prestigious dissertation and thesis prizes -- the D.C. Spriestersbach Dissertation Prize, the Graduate Deans' Distinguished Dissertation Award and the L.B. Sims Outstanding Master's Thesis Award --during a ceremony Friday, March 25, at the Senate Chamber of the Old Capitol.

"The Jakobsen Conference provides an opportunity for people to learn about the impactful contributions our graduate students make to the academic community and beyond through their research, scholarship and creativity," Graduate College Dean John Keller said. "As demonstrated by our Graduate College award winners, our students' work remains among the best in the nation."

For the third straight year, the Jakobsen Conference, in collaboration with the Obermann Center for Advanced Studies, will offer a free, public Service Learning and Civic Engagement Forum from 1:30 to 4 p.m. Saturday, March 26 in the Main Lounge at the IMU. About 15 UI graduate students and faculty will present their service learning research and ideas. They'll have a chance to network with representatives from a variety of governmental agencies and nonprofit organizations, and UI organizations that could benefit from the students' work and help move the projects forward.

For the second straight year, the Spring Undergraduate Research Festival (SURF), sponsored by the Iowa Center for Research by Undergraduates, will be held in conjunction with the Jakobsen Conference. The SURF event will take place from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. at the IMU, also on Saturday, March 26. Poster presenters will be recognized for outstanding achievement in the following areas: arts and humanities, mathematics and engineering, natural sciences and social sciences.

For a complete schedule, visit

For more information or special accommodations to attend the conference, contact Jakobsen Conference Publicity Co-Chair Kyle Moody ( or Event Planning Co-Chairs stef shuster ( and James Skretta (

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Graduate College Office of External Relations, 205 Gilmore Hall, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500

EDITORS NOTE: steff shuster (all lowercase) is correct.

MEDIA CONTACT: John Riehl, 319-384-1309,