During January of 2010, I took an Honors class entitled Religion and Conflict. We spent the month of January traveling throughout Ireland and Northern Ireland, learning about the Catholic-Protestant conflict in that region within the context of historic Christian belief. At the end of the term, we returned to Upland to write a research paper as a culmination of our learning. We were given freedom to choose to angle from which we would conduct our research. I have an interest in peace studies, so I wrote about identity and conflict, examining how social and religious identity contributes to conflict maintenance in Northern Ireland.
After submitting the research paper, the course was officially finished. However, the professor, Dr. Scott Moeschberger, told us students about an additional opportunity that would be available in the spring: the Butler Undergraduate Research Conference. I chose to continue working on my paper after the class had finished, preparing to present it at the conference, which took place mid-April. Dr. Moeschberger supported me by attending a practice presentation session, where he gave me advice on how to answer questions that might be posed to me after my presentation at Butler. The Honors Guild also sponsored my trip by paying my registration fee and offering transportation to and from Butler University.
I found the experience of presenting at Butler to be extremely valuable. I became much more invested in my research once it became a continuous project. I learned how to condense a long paper into a five-minute speech. I also gained confidence from the experience of presenting my work to a group of my peers. By attending the conference, I was able to get an idea of the quality of my scholarship compared to that of students from other universities in the region. I was both impressed and inspired by my interactions with other students at Butler, and am already looking forward to attending the conference again next year.
—– Rebekah Briner, Class of 2011