Heart of Texas Undergraduate Research Conference ignites research at Baylor

Baylor's first Heart of Texas Undergraduate Research Conference will take place virtually on the 27 of March. Photo Courtesy of Baylor BURST

By Caitlin Erramouspe | Reporter

The Heart of Texas Undergraduate Research Conference (HoT) is brand new to Baylor and will take place on March 27, providing an opportunity for students to present their research in a formal setting.

At the conference, students will be able to present oral research presentations, attend a graduate school fair, listen to an MD/PhD panel and hear a keynote speaker. Any student is allowed to attend and must register by March 7 at 11:59 p.m.

The conference is cohosted by Baylor Undergraduate Research in Science and Technology (BURST), the Hillis Scholars and the Science Research Fellows. It aims to unite the research community at Baylor and provide students with the chance to speak about their research with others in the field.

Shubhneet Warar, a senior from Shreveport, La., is the president of BURST. She recognized after attending other research conferences that Baylor lacked support for their undergraduate research students. The idea for HoT began in the spring of 2020, but, due to COVID-19, the plan was pushed until this semester. The conference is virtual but will provide students the opportunity to engage with others in the research community.

“We hope that this event will unite the research community at Baylor as faculty, graduate students, and undergrads come together to showcase their work and learn from each other,” Warar said.

Warar said she was excited for undergraduate research to discuss and collaborate with other researchers in their fields.

“Communication is a key part of research and being able to effectively present technical work and answer questions from other scientists is an integral skill, so whether you’re a veteran presenter or first-timer, the practice and individualized feedback that you receive will be helpful,” Warar said.

Sai Sagireddy, a freshman University Scholar from Trinidad and Tobago, will be presenting at the conference.

“I will be speaking about my work on increasing healthcare accessibility in Waco. Over 26% of Waco’s residents live below the federal poverty line and with rising healthcare costs within Texas, accessibility to healthcare is an issue for them,” Sagireddy said.

HoT will be Sagireddy’s first conference, but he is ready to inspire and learn from other students at the conference

“I want to let my project show students that when you see a problem, no matter how big it is, hard work and dedication can fix it,” Sagireddy said.

Besides student research presentations, there will be other speakers, including the keynote speaker Dr. Richard Meyers. Meyers, brought by the Hillis Scholars, is the president and scientific director of the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology and researcher on Human Genome Project.

Baylor students and faculty won’t be the only researchers in attendance. BURST reached out to over 16 other colleges in the heart of Texas to present their research at HoT, Warar explained.

Over 16 STEM divisions will be present during the conference. For students that aren’t sure what area they are interested in researching, the conference provides an opportunity for them to find what they’re passionate about, according to Warar.

“We’ve received so much support and affirmation from people at Baylor, and I truly feel like the research community is coming together for this event,” Warar said.