Undergrad research presented

More than 90 UCSD undergraduates presented research papers Saturday at the 15th annual UCSD Undergraduate Research Conference, held at the Faculty Club.

Students were organized into 17 roundtable discussions for the presentations, each presided over by a faculty member. The roundtables, with topics ranging from chemistry to political science, included student presentations followed by group discussions in which visitors were encouraged to participate.

Conference organizers said that the UCSD Undergraduate Research Conference as a whole was an opportunity to celebrate undergraduates at UCSD.

“”So many of the things here at UCSD regarding research are from graduate students — or faculty, of course,”” said coordinator Darlene Salmon. “”But this day is all about undergraduate students doing research and also the student life here at UCSD.””

The roundtable, presided over by sociology professor Leon Zamosc, centered on presentations regarding issues relevant to college students.

“”Every year we learn more about student life, culture, student values, the problems of the students and about particular sectors of students,”” Zamosc said.

This year, “”Drinking, Driving and Peer Interventions,”” presented by Sara Andrews of Eleanor Roosevelt College, explored gender differences in peer drunken driving intervention among college-age students.

Through a series of interviews and participant observation, Andrews concluded that men were more apt to use physical restraint to prevent drunken driving, while women felt less comfortable being as forceful. Instead, Andrews said women used psychological tactics more often, and as a whole were less likely to physically intervene than men.

Andrews also found that when deciding on whether to drink and drive, men focused more on environmental factors.

“”It’s something that happens a lot and it’s very relevant to people’s lives, students and otherwise,”” Andrews said.

Kristi Hein of John Muir College focused on student relationships with her presentation, “”Expectations of Sex, Love and Intimacy in College Students.”” The research dealt with how college men and women interpret and value relationships, as well as how they construct these views.

Hein found that while men and women start college with greatly differing romantic views, they gradually reach more common ground by their fourth year. She concluded that while women relate romantically through feelings and emotions, men tend to relate more through actions.

“”I liked [Hein’s] a lot because it did show that it is true that from freshman to senior year people do change their feelings about relationships,”” said Carolina Twombly, who presented research in political science. “”Instead of meaningless sex, it turns into something more.””