Joseph A. Whittaker, president-elect of Sigma XI, the Scientific Research Society, is the keynote speaker for the eighth annual Undergraduate Research and Prospective Graduate Student Conference on Tuesday, April 6.

The conference offers a professional forum for undergraduates from Virginia Tech and other institutions to showcase their research and creative scholarship, and provides information sessions on topics related to graduate education and preparation.

The welcome and opening remarks will be at 8:30 a.m. in the GLC Multipurpose Room, followed by poster presentations. Oral presentations begin at 10 a.m. in Squires Student Center. Whittaker will conduct a session for faculty members and staff from 12:15 to 12:55 p.m., in Squires' Brush Mountain B, and provide keynote remarks at the conference luncheon, which begins at 1:15 p.m. in the Old Dominion Ballroom. (A limited number of spots are available for the faculty member/staff session for both the session and the luncheon. If you are interested in attending the workshop and/or the luncheon, by April 2 RSVP online.

Whittaker is dean and professor at the School of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences at Morgan State University. He oversees more than 100 faculty members involved in research, training, and educational activities in five academic departments. His own research focus is neurotransmitter interactions and the development of respiratory control, as well as basal ganglia anatomy and physiology.

A devoted teacher, researcher, and leader, Whittaker has been recognized for his contributions to undergraduate, graduate, and medical education and to research, faculty member, and institutional development at several academic institutions. He has served on scientific review panels and committees at the National Science Foundation, the Centers for Disease Control, the National Academy of Sciences, and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Most recently he served on the NIH National Center for Research Resources' Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence panel and the Scientific and Technical Review Board on Biomedical and Behavioral Research Facilities.

Sigma XI, founded in 1886 at Cornell University, is the honor society of scientists and engineers that recognizes scientific achievement. The mission of the society is to enhance the health of the research enterprise, foster integrity in science and engineering, and promote the public's understanding of science for the purpose of improving the human condition. Virginia Tech has an active chapter of Sigma Xi.

Conference sponsors are the Center for Academic Enrichment and Excellence, Virginia Tech Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation, the Office of the Vice President for Research, and the Graduate School. Additional information about the conference can be found online. If you have questions about the conference, contact Cheryl Gittens at (540) 231-7027.

For information about the Virginia Tech Chapter of Sigma Xi, contact John Galbraith at (540) 231-9784.

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