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University of Iowa News Release

July 2, 2004

Top Undergraduates From Across U.S. To Gather At UI For Conference July 9-11

More than 500 undergraduates and 100 faculty and staff from around the country will gather at the University of Iowa July 9 to 11 for the 18th annual CIC Summer Research Opportunities Program (SROP) Conference.

The CIC is the academic consortium of the Big Ten universities plus the University of Chicago. All play host each summer to high-achieving undergraduate scholars from across the United States, many of whom are underrepresented in their disciplines. Through the SROP, students gain the opportunity to work closely with faculty mentors on research projects.

The annual conference is an opportunity for the students to exchange research ideas, begin professional networking, and explore the possibilities of graduate education. This year's conference, hosted by the UI Graduate College and the CIC, is titled "The Breadth of Mentorship: Scholarly Engagement, Career Development, and Personal Enrichment." An additional 150 faculty, staff, and students from the UI will participate in the conference as mentors and volunteers.

More than 8,000 students have participated in SROP, and it is estimated that at least three of every four participants go on to graduate school. The program focuses on increasing diversity and improving access for all students to pursue graduate study and academic careers, especially in disciplines where representation lags.

"SROP participants are top scholars," said John Keller, dean of the UI Graduate College. "Through this conference, the Graduate College hopes to give them a positive view of the University of Iowa's graduate programs, offering the best in higher education in an interdisciplinary setting rich in research, scholarly, cultural, and mentoring resources."

Several conference activities are open to the public, including a Talk of Iowa Live at the Java House and Live from Prairie Lights, both featuring Joy Harjo (Muskogee), poet, musician, and professor of American Indian Studies and English at UCLA. Both events will be Friday, July 9, with Talk of Iowa beginning at 10 a.m. and Live from Prairie Lights at 8 p.m in Buchanan Auditorium, Pappajohn Business Building. Both programs can be heard on WSUI-AM 910 and WOI-AM 640. In addition, a cultural exhibit of art and artifacts depicting aspects of diverse pasts and rich cultural experiences will be free and open to the public on Saturday, July 10, from 1-7 p.m. in the North Room, Iowa Memorial Union.

UI faculty and staff are invited to attend a two-part session, "The Power of Mentoring in Graduate Student Success," on Friday, July 9 in the Richey Ballroom, Iowa Memorial Union. Part One, a discussion for faculty and staff who work with students, runs from 2:30 to 3:20 p.m., and Part Two, featuring Dr. Jan Allen, associate dean of the graduate school at Northwestern University, runs from 3:30 to 4:45 p.m.

Contact information, schedule of events, and additional details about the conference are online:

The conference rotates each year among the CIC institutions. The last time the UI hosted the conference was 1990.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Mary Geraghty Kenyon, 319-384-0011,