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Release: March 25, 1999

Research Forum April 5 will give students opportunity to present work

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Syphilis and soldiers, dance and data fusion, home runs and hierarchical text categorization.

These are just some of the topics students at the University of Iowa will present Monday, April 5, when the Graduate Student Senate (GSS) holds its first university-wide Research Forum.

The forum is scheduled to run from 12:30 to 5:30 p.m. in the Ritchey Ballroom of the Iowa Memorial Union and adjoining rooms. It is free and open to the public. More information is available via the Web at, or by calling the GSS at (319) 335-3260.

GSS President Kyle Munn said the forum is intended to give undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students an opportunity to present their research to faculty and fellow students. Research may be presented orally, with a poster or in some other manner.

"We have several poster presentations from math, computer science, biological sciences," Munn said. "Instead of presenting orally, they'll make up slides on a poster board and you can read them. Then there are oral presentations. We even had a person from dance sign up to do a short dance for us."

He said about 25 students have submitted proposals so far, although he'd like double that number and intends to accept proposals as close to the event as possible.

"This is an outlet for students who don't have a chance to go to a conference or, if they plan to attend some conferences, an opportunity to refine their presentations," Munn said. "It's also intended to show the student body and others on campus what kind of research is taking place."

A third objective of the forum is to give students contemplating graduate school an overview of the requirements and application process.

The forum will begin with a keynote address by UI Graduate College Associate Dean John Keller, followed by concurrent presentations in several rooms in the Iowa Memorial Union. Students will have about 12 minutes to make their presentations, and three minutes will be allowed for questions. (more)

At 3:30 p.m., Leslie B. Sims, associate provost and dean of the UI Graduate College, will make a presentation and explain how students can apply to graduate school. The forum will conclude around 5:30 p.m.

Michelle Rhoades, a UI doctoral student studying 20th century French history, plans to discuss her dissertation "Syphilis and Soldiers: The Control and Regulation of Women during the First World War." Her work, which is not yet completed, centers on the French government's frantic -- and, Rhoades posits, increasingly unreasonable -- regulation of prostitutes and other women in an effort to contain the spread of venereal disease among soldiers during World War I.

"Being part of this conference will give me, one, an opportunity to do a paper, and two, a chance to receive some feedback from people who know French history and those who don't," said Rhoades, who has submitted another version of her paper to a professional conference for French historians. "I think sometimes falling on your face in your backyard is better than falling on your face in someone else's backyard. This conference is an ideal spot to test one's legs."