Undergraduates get a lot of bad press these days. I guess that has always been true, but sometimes the laments about the "millennial generation" seem especially loud. So I found it a useful counterbalance to serve as a judge for this year's Undergraduate Exhibition.
Picture the scene yesterday in the HUB-Robeson Center's Alumni Hall: Dozens and dozens of research posters produced by Penn State undergraduates, with representation from the arts and humanities, engineering, health and life sciences, physical sciences, social and behavioral sciences, and course-based projects. I was a judge for social and behavioral sciences and got a chance to talk with some extremely smart and articulate undergraduates.
Strolling around afterward, I enjoyed seeing the variety inherent in the research -- everything from posters on biosynthesis of Thiostrepton A to analysis of a poet's oeuvre to an examination of ways that infants' crawling behaviors affect their communicative development.
It was a humbling and inspiring way to spend an hour.