NORTH ADAMS, MASS. — Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) will hold its 15th Annual Undergraduate Research Conference (URC) on Thursday, April 20, from 8:45 a.m. to 5 p.m. More than 125 students will offer 104 presentations during the all-day conference.

This event, which showcases research projects in a variety of disciplines, is free and open to the public.

Paper presentations and special sessions will take place in Bowman Hall, and posters will be displayed and presented in the Venable Hall Gymnasium. Special art exhibits will be displayed throughout the day in the Bowman Gallery and Murdock Hall room 208.

The conference also will feature an Armory Art Exhibit in the Bowman Art Gallery, and there will be art exhibits in Bowman Hall, in the second- and third-floor corridors. In addition, the Philosophy Mini Conference will take place in Murdock Hall, room 218.

According to Dr. Justin Golub, URC chair, undergraduate research has grown to become an integral part of the MCLA experience. Students have opportunities to conduct research across the curriculum.

“Students may find themselves involved in a project with a faculty member in their major, but also have the opportunity to conduct research for a course that piques their interest, and becomes a semester- or year-long passion,” Golub said. “Research is a great experience for students; it fosters their curiosity and interests, and helps them become critical thinkers. The opportunity to present their research allows students to shine, and showcase their skills.”

This year’s keynote speaker will be Kaitlin Hallet ’10, a program manager at Fidelity Investments in Boston, who majored in English and secondary education at MCLA. She will speak on “How to Prepare for a Career in Finance by Going to School to Teach English” at 12:30 p.m. in the Amsler Campus Center gymnasium.

As an undergraduate, Hallet participated in the URC twice, presenting one paper in 2009 and three in 2010. She also gave presentations based on several of those papers at a state-wide undergraduate research conference.

Through these experiences, Hallet learned that she loves presenting to large groups: “Whenever I got the opportunity to enrich others by doing so, I would take it,” she said. However, her biggest takeaway was how much she enjoyed “working alongside really smart people with so many varied interests – there’s nothing like a conference atmosphere.”

After several jobs following her MCLA graduation, in 2011 Hallet began work as an administrative assistant at MIT’s Sloan School of Management. This role quickly expanded into the financial realm when she took over the management of 15 individual and four group accounts, in addition to approving faculty and staff purchases and student timesheets.

After two years at MIT, she accepted a training coordinator position at Fidelity Investments. Now, as a program manager, Hallet oversees highly visible and complex programmatic courses, and works with a team that focuses on building and sustaining a positive environment for Fidelity’s current and future leaders through advanced management training programs and initiatives.

MCLA, Hallet said, was the best choice for her.

“MCLA is for people who want to really dive into their education, who are passionate about taking part in their classes,” she said. “There are a lot of amazing, artsy people there, and the faculty and staff are all incredibly supportive and encouraging.”

The conference is part of the College’s Undergraduate Research Program, which emphasizes individual opportunities for student work with faculty. For more information, including descriptions of all projects and presentations, go to

Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) is the Commonwealth's public liberal arts college and a campus of the Massachusetts state university system. MCLA promotes excellence in learning and teaching, innovative scholarship, intellectual creativity, public service, applied knowledge, and active and responsible citizenship. MCLA graduates are prepared to be practical problem solvers and engaged, resilient global citizens.