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Ryan Gordon, seated, with WIU physics Professor Mark Boley (2004)
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Fifth Annual Undergraduate Research Day April 18

April 6, 2007

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MACOMB, IL - - Western Illinois University's Fifth Annual Undergraduate Research Day, featuring the scholarly activities of students across multiple academic disciplines, will be held Wednesday, April 18 in the University Union.

The Undergraduate Research Day provides a showcase for students to present posters and make podium presentations of their researched work and give performances of creative works, said William Knox, director of Western's Illinois Centennial Honors College, which sponsors the annual event.

Alumnus Ryan Gordon (B.S. Physics and Mathematics, 2005), a graduate student in physics at Iowa State University, will present the 30-minute opening session beginning at 11 a.m. in the Union Fox Room.

A welcome and remarks by Western Illinois Provost and Academic Vice President Joseph Rallo, Knox and Gordon will begin at noon in the Union Grand Ballroom.

The presentation of student projects will run from 12:30-3:30 p.m. Poster presentations will be set up in the Union Grand Ballroom; and podium and performance presentations will be held in the Capitol and Fox Rooms.

When Gordon participated in the 2005 Undergraduate Research Day, he said: "Undergraduate research is an exciting way for students to apply critical thinking skills to the fields in which they are interested. It opens graduate schools and employment by distinguishing students as being hard working and dedicated. The extra time and effort needed to conduct research are definitely worth the benefits that come out of it."

He knew what he was talking about.

Gordon is in his second graduate year at Iowa State working in the laboratory of Ruslan Prozorov, studying superconductivity and magnetism at low temperatures. The lab is a branch of the Ames Laboratory and a Department of Energy facility. The researchers' focus is on developing new devices to study superconductivity and magnetic phenomena of samples in liquid helium and liquid nitrogen-based systems, Gordon said.

He graduated from Western Illinois as the Illinois Centennial Honors College Scholar, the Physics Departmental Scholar and an Honors Scholar with high academic honors (Magna Cum Laude). Originally from Browning (IL), Gordon was the second WIU student to receive the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship, the premier undergraduate award in the field of mathematics, natural sciences and engineering, which included an award of $7,500 toward graduate school. He also was among 40 students nationwide to receive the national Phi Kappa Phi Award of Excellence, which included an award of $2,000 toward graduate study.

Gordon, who played in the University Concert Band and Wind Ensemble, worked with physics Professor Mark Boley conducting research on superconductivity; and he made presentations on his research at two national American Physics Society meetings, Argonne Science and Engineering Undergraduate Research Symposiums and at state and local conferences. In Summer 2004 he served a 10-week internship in physics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, sponsored through the National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU).

For more information about Western's Undergraduate Research Day, visit

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