Is next Albert (or Alberta) Einstein a student at USD?

Is next Albert (or Alberta) Einstein a student at USD? If the next Einstein is a student at The University of South Dakota, he or she can be found in Vermillion on March 31 at IdeaFest. An annual showcase of undergraduate research and creative activity, IdeaFest includes students from all disciplines presenting their work in posters, artistic performances and oral presentations.

The all-day event is held in the Coyote Student Center and is free and open to the public. A complete schedule of events can be found at

This year's full schedule will feature two keynote speakers in Farber Hall. At 3 p.m. Dennis Gonsalves, director of the Pacific Basic Agricultural Research Center, will give a lecture entitled "The Virus-Resistant Transgenic Papaya: Inside Scoop on its Development and Impact on Hawaii's Papaya Industry."

A panel discussion on "Science and Ethics of Genetic Engineering" moderated by Dr. Ron Lindahl, dean of the School of Medicine at the USD, will follow and include Gonsalves along with Jerry Pommer of Hematech, Father Jim Mason, USD undergraduate biology major Katherine McDonald, and Melvin Ustad, associate dean of research at USD.

At 8 p.m., Elizabeth Wayland Barber, professor of linguistics and archaeology at Occidental College, will lecture on "The Mummies of Chinese Turkestan."

The University of South Dakota offers numerous opportunities for undergraduate research and IdeaFest provides an opportunity for students to display their research. Oral presentations go from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. with a break for poster presentations from noon to 1 p.m.

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