The 12th annual Research and Creativity Forum and Graduate Research Extravaganza occurred Monday, April 24, in the Morgan University Center ballroom. This year they teamed up with the Quality Enhancement Plan to merge this event with the first annual High Impact Practice Showcase.

“We both wanted to do the same thing,” Director of QEP Ashlee Spearman said. “The difference is this year, instead of just doing students who have done undergraduate research, we’re incorporating all forms of High Impact Practices through the QEP, including study abroad, Service Learning, and internships in addition to undergraduate research.”

Registration happened from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. There was a Peay Talk Presentation from keynote speaker Emily Stark, who spoke of her experiences with study abroad, undergraduate research and internships. There were over 60 poster presentations from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m, and there were three oral presentations. The first two happened from 10 a.m to 12:15 p.m., and the third happened from 2:45 p.m. to 3:45 p.m.

“We want to break the stigma that only a certain type of student has the ability to participate in High Impact practices. Students are doing service learning through the basic comm 1010 class or history class or English class,” Spearman said.

Many of the students had been funded through QEP, which will be officially renamed in the fall to Keys to the World. QEP encourages students to pursue activities that add value to their curriculum in real-world settings. It also runs workshops to help students understand how to take these experiences and use them to help sell themselves in an interview or make themselves more attractive to an employer. In the fall they will team up with the Office of Undergraduate Research again for the Tennessee Experience Learning Symposium, which will function in much the same way as this event.

“This year there are so many different people involved. This year you get to see not only study abroad but service learning and study abroad and stuff. It’s nice to see different things people are doing on campus,” undergraduate research presenter and senior physics major Laura Nichols said.

The QEP has an advisory council of students who have completed high impact practices. Often students who have an idea they want to explore can get funding from them. If a student has an idea of something they would like to do, but they need to go to somewhere on their study abroad that the program would not currently cover, they can go through a process with the QEP to get that destination included in the curriculum. Students are encouraged to bring their questions and ideas to the Learning Opportunities Center for more information on high impact practices they can participate in.