Initiated in 1992 as a celebration of academic and cultural diversity at USD, IdeaFest continues to grow.  This year’s program boasts the largest number of participants to date – 369 students will be involved in 188 presentations. In addition to showcasing USD student accomplishments and creativity, IdeaFest features nationally-recognized keynote speakers. Participants this year will showcase their research and talent through a variety of methods, including panel discussions, live performances, readings, poster displays and presentations. The content will be just as varied as topics range from advances in cardiac research to Moroccan politics.

IdeaFest opens at 9 a.m. on April 13 with oral presentations. At noon, a jazz ensemble will perform at the Muenster University Center Pit Lounge and Lawrence J. Wangh, Ph.D., professor of biology at Brandeis University, will give a keynote address in the MUC ballroom. Afternoon events include a poster session, a poetry reading, and additional oral presentations.

On April 14, events begin at 9 a.m. with oral presentations and include excerpts from USD Theatre’s production of “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” at 11 a.m. A faculty brown bag lunch at noon on expanding undergraduate research and a second poster session at 1 p.m. round out the afternoon schedule. IdeaFest 2011 concludes with an address by Beth Shapiro, Ph.D., at 7:30 p.m. entitled, “Sequencing the Dead.” Shapiro is assistant professor in the department of biology at Penn State and a National Geographic Emerging Explorer. Her research is based on extracting DNA from species that lived during the ice age in North America and Siberia, charting the changes of their evolutionary history.

IdeaFest 2011 is hosted by the USD Center for Academic Engagement, Council for Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity, USD Graduate School, Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, Sigma Xi, USD Office of Academic Affairs and the College of Arts & Sciences, Department of Biology, & Department of Earth Sciences. More information about IdeaFest is available by e-mail:, and by calling (605) 677-6338.

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