URC stands for "Undergraduate Research Conference." It is an event that occurs every year at both UNH-Durham and UNH-Manchester, and I attended the poster presentations yesterday afternoon in Manchester between the last Biology lab of the semester and the CPR recertification I had to go to 47 miles away in Peabody, Massachusetts. It is part of a three-day event where there are speakers, film showings, and a Senior technology symposium. Anyone who is an undergraduate student who has been involved in research projects, either as part of an ongoing body of research work or as students working on projects that are requirements for the Senior seminar and, because of this, requirements for graduation.
The reason I went was because I am required to by one of the classes I'm in this semester - Biochemistry. Also, the second semester Biology course is offering extra credit for attending and writing about an exhibit that was viewed. Actually, it is the same for both classes, but one is required and the other is optional.
I viewed 2 exhibits by Biology majors. One was presented by a future educator, and she did a presentation on her experiences working as a student teacher at one of the middle schools in the city of Concord, NH. The other was by one of my Biochemistry classmates, and she did a presentation on an internship she did in a medical practice - that of the chief of the Neurology department at the Faulkner Hospital in Boston, MA. They were both really well done, and it was obvious to me that there is a great deal of enthusiasm on the part of each one of these two students, both young women, both really knowledgeable and personable, and each was able to present their subject matter quite effectively.
I was impressed with both of them. I also informally looked at a number of others, both science and non-science, and I found a great deal of good work.
There was a weird experience I had, though, that I wanted to mention. One of the poster presentations was a summary of events that surrounded the end of the Korean War, including photos of the people involved: MacArthur, Truman, and others. I was looking at the poster and thinking about the current insanity happening on the Korean peninsula, and standing next to me was an Eastern Orthodox priest - I want to say he is a hieromonk because he was wearing a cassock and a rounded hat rather than a shirt and trousers with a collar. Additionally he was wearing a three-bar pectoral crucifix that is common especially to the Russian church. He had a full long gray beard, and I suspect he had a lot of hair; this is their tradition, and my immediate impression was that he was the genuine article. He also had a cane, which I think had nothing to do with the habit; he was an older gentleman, and I suspect is was a necessary appliance for him to use. In any case, as I looked at this poster, the student who was responsible for the poster was talking about the events that happened. I said to him, "it certainly looks as though that part of the world has become notable for the level of peril happening there now, hasn't it?", or words to that effect. The priest, very quietly, replied, "indeed it has..." It sort of startled me because I didn't expect to hear him speak, and I just stood there for a minute as he walked along to the next poster.
It was a strange way to end that part of my day....