Since the first conference in 1981, the Mid-Atlantic Undergraduate Social Research Conference (MAUSRC) has provided an opportunity for undergraduates to present the results of their social research. Students from colleges and universities across the region present research in a range of topics in fields such as Sociology, Anthropology, Gender Studies, Psychology, Social Work, Education, and International Studies, as well as other social scientific disciplines.
Each year, students in our department have participated in the MAUSRC by reporting the findings of a research paper they have written or are in the process of writing in an upper-level methods and theory course or senior seminar. Students receive coaching from faculty members, participation is free, and transportation is provided to the conference. This experience hones analytical and professional skills and is a valuable addition to students' résumé or graduate school applications.
In both 2013 and 2014, our department hosted the MAUSRC. In the Spring 2014 edition of our Interactions newsletter, our department chair, Dr. Robert DeFina, highlighted the importance of this unique occurrence for our students:
For the second year in a row, the sociology and criminology department is hosting the Mid-Atlantic Undergraduate Social Research Conference. This is unusual, in that historically different colleges and universities have taken turns each year hosting the Conference. It really speaks, I believe, to our department’s commitment to encouraging student research and to providing opportunities for them to present it. This sentiment is echoed in Professor Brian Jones’s article; Professor Jones is a long-time organizer and advocate of the Conference.
I urge students to contact the department’s faculty members about the opportunity. They can offer guidance and support regarding participation. And, I encourage all our students to attend, even if only as observers. It’s a great way to support fellow majors and to see the many significant questions that sociology and criminology can illuminate.
Check out highlights from the...
In the Spring 2014 edition of our Interactions newsletter, Dr. Brian Jones shared what motivates him to be involved as a MAUSRC faculty organizer and project mentor.
Even after twenty years, the words still sting.
One of my best students at the time sat down during office hours and looked me dead in the eye. “Dr. Jones,” he said. “I need to get more out of this major.”
At first, I was shocked. He had taken our most advanced courses and received a string of A’s. It stung me to think a star student thought the sociology program was not rigorous enough.
But that wasn’t it. After considerable discussion, his point became clear: he wanted to actually use sociology for something other than getting good grades.
Ever since that day I have been on a bit of a crusade to get students to do something real with their sociological knowledge, mainly, to conduct original research and present it in a conference setting.
This semester, that setting will be right here on campus on April 11, 2014. We would like you to attend as a presenter or attender, preferably both. Aside from the obvious benefits for your résumé, the positive feedback I get about the conference experience takes all the sting out of my former student’s words.
So: have you done enough essay tests, quizzes, précis, journal entries and comparisons of Marx and Weber? Do something real with your sociological knowledge: come to the conference.