University Relations and Communications

Research, Creativity Conference to showcase student work on April 22

Biology and chemistry major Aubrey Honcoop discusses with Honors Program Director Dr. David Craig her science research during the 2014 Research and Creativity Conference.

Biology and chemistry major Aubrey Honcoop discusses with Honors Program Director Dr. David Craig her science research during the 2014 Research and Creativity Conference. 


April 14, 2016





David Craig, Honors Program, 
Carmen Price, University Relations and Communications, 657-2266


MSU BILLINGS NEWS SERVICES — Gendered language in political news coverage, inhibitors in Mountain Pine Bark Beetle Symbionts, a self-balancing robot and juried student art work will be among the topics showcased by some 100 undergraduate and graduate students participating MSU Billings’ third annual Research and Creativity Conference on Friday, April 22.


The event is free and open to the public and will include scholarly works that are as diverse as the fields of study they represent, from physics and biology to communications and creative writing.


“The event offers students the opportunity to present and share their research, scholarship or creative work in a professional and supportive setting,” Honors Program Director David Craig said. “The conference is a platform for students, staff and faculty to learn more about the variety of research and creative works occurring at MSU Billings and City College.”


John ClaytonJohn Clayton, Montana author and historian and MSUB visiting professor, will deliver the event’s keynote lecture on Thursday, April 21, at 4:30 p.m., in the Liberal Arts building, room 205.


“Research, The Fulfilling Quest: or, How a 100-Year-Old Sex Scandal Arose to Become the Most Satisfying Moment of My Career,” is based on Clayton’s journey of research and writing “The Cowboy Girl,” a historical account of Caroline Lockhart of Cody, Wyo.


Clayton says, “Nobody’s heard of her today, but Caroline wrote bestselling novels back in the 1910s. To me that makes her an important figure in Western history, literary history, and feminist history.” Her first book was a national bestseller with a positive New York Times review.


The Red Lodge-based writer is this year’s Honors Program Visiting Writer in Residence for a select group of students. He joins an ongoing list of writers in residence including Tim Cahill, Valerie Hemingway and Gary Ferguson.


He speaks of the life of a writer and, in particular, how some might assume that the most magical moments are those when you hold the first copy of your published book.


“Everything that you’ve worked for is now represented in this physical object that will go out into the world, that will perhaps leave a legacy, be stocked in libraries long after you leave the scene, and thus assure your immortality.”


But, he says, it’s not as magical as one might think.


“Really, the glory is in the research, when you find that one piece you’ve been searching for that ties the story together or that insight that makes your character likeable,” he said. “The magic moments are found in the process, in the journey.”


He’s experienced it often; but one moment in particular stands out when, buried deep among nearly 100 manuscripts written by Lockhart, now housed at the University of Wyoming, he found the answer he had been searching for that unravels the 100-year-old sex scandal between Lockart and a woman referred to as “Lady Doc.”


Following Clayton’s keynote address, the annual Juried Student Exhibition awards ceremony and reception will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. in the Northcutt Steele Gallery. Two student thesis exhibitions featuring Tabetha Rindahl and Koryn Kimmett will also be on display.


“We are pleased how faculty and students have worked in tandem to grow the quality of this event,” Craig said. “With each year, we’ve been delighted to see how our students take the knowledge gained in our classrooms and apply it to generate insightful and meaningful knowledge about the world around them. This application of classroom learning to innovative research and creative expression is at the heart of what our university represents.”


The Research and Creativity Conference is sponsored by the Montana IDeA Networks of Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE), the University Honors Program and the Office of Grants and Sponsored Programs.


For more information, visit