13 Years of the Undergraduate Research Symposium
Participation in the Undergraduate Research Symposium empowers undergraduates to share their ideas, discoveries, and artistic work with the campus and the local community. The event traditionally takes place in the EMU in the style of an academic conference and includes all types of academic research, allowing you to present your work through a poster, oral presentation, data story, or in a performance.
► Visit the Symposium YouTube Channel
► See the Symposium Award Offerings
► View the 2023 Symposium Program Book
An inside look into the Symposium...
Benefits of participating in the Symposium
- It helps you get involved on campus and connected to the university
- It provides an automatic introduction to friends and classmates
- The experience helps confirm if you're pursuing the right career path, or helps you discover a new career path you may not have considered before
- The process develops real-world, transferable skills that you can use on the job, including advanced problem-solving skills and career-specific behaviors and activities
- It gives you an advantage when applying for scholarships or graduate school
- You connect with a faculty member that you might not get to know and learn from otherwise
- It presents the opportunity to study something you're passionate about
Pre-college Partnership with SAIL Program
Each year, the symposium welcomes high school students from the Student Academy to Inspire Learning (SAIL) pre-college program for an immersive day on campus. Students will spend a day with current UO students learning about different college majors, college research projects, and the college experience first-hand.
About the Symposium
The UO Undergraduate Research Symposium celebrates the remarkable contributions of our undergraduates to research and creative work across the humanities, sciences, arts, and social sciences. As a top-tier research institution, discovery and inquiry underlie everything we do. Central to our mission is fostering critical questioning, logical thinking, effective reasoning, clear communication and creative action and the symposium is an embodiment of that mission. The symposium, chaired by Kevin Hatfield, aspires to engage undergraduates in the research enterprise of the University of Oregon by supporting the creation and dissemination of knowledge.
Students at all stages of their undergraduate careers actively participate in the symposium as attendees and presenters. The symposium partners with Academic Residential Communities (ARCs) and First-Year Interest Groups (FIGs) to create pathways for first-year students to present their inquiry-based projects from their first-year experience seminars. The Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP), Center for Undergraduate Research and Engagement (CURE), DucksRISE Program, McNair Scholars Program, and various other units sponsoring academic-year and summer research fellowships and internships have formally incorporated the symposium as a culminating experience for these awards. The Symposium also provides a platform for graduating seniors completing their departmental and Clark Honors College capstone research presentations.
Since the debut in 2011, with 69 presenters and 40 faculty mentors spanning 20 majors and four colleges, the Undergraduate Research Sympoisum has only grown. It reached a pre-COVID-19 high-water mark in size and breadth its ninth year with 513 presenters and 290 faculty mentors spanning 75 majors, 21 minor programs, 33 minors, and eight colleges. Over the past 13 years the Symposium has hosted over 4,000 student presenters.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the symposium transitioned to a virtual platform in 2020 and 2021, enabling 667 students to continue presenting their research and creative work with an expanded reach to peers, families, mentors, alumni, donors, and community members. The opportunity to record these presentations catalyzed the creation of a permanent digital exhibit of UO undergraduate research on the symposium YouTube Channel, curating 454 videos comprising over 1,100 research presentations.
Despite the profound disruptions to research and creative work experienced by students and faculty over the past three years, the Symposium has returned to an in-person format to celebrate the work of all our undergraduate researchers and mentors. Last year, over 450 presenters and their 379 research mentors exhibited work at the 2023 symposium representing all eight colleges, the Phil and Penny Knight Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact, 76 majors, 18 minor programs, 45 minors, and 27 institutes and centers. We also wish to acknowledge the 36 graduate student mentors in 2022!
Our commitment to host a hybrid symposium reflects our institutional commitment to the scholarly and creative development of our undergraduate students. To recognize their achievements, the symposium along with campus partners co-sponsor 35 awards totaling more than $13,000.
The symposium proudly partners with the Summer Academy to Inspire Learning (SAIL), which hosts a robust pre-college collaboration day, including a welcome ceremony, interactive sessions with poster presenters, lab and studio visits, campus tours, and panels with undergraduates.
Our collaborations with Lane Community College and Central Oregon Community College have also culminated with the highest number of community college student presentations and visitors at the symposium to date, as well as a new series of transfer student and community college student panels facilitated by the UO Alliance for Diversity in Science and Engineering.
We welcome visitors from near and far hoping this showcase of undergraduate research and creative work can inspire hope, curiosity, innovation, and discovery. Our 2023 recent alumni keynoter embodied this spirit. Manju Bangalore '18 is a physicist, aspiring astronaut, actor, model, nonprofit founder and Miss Oregon USA 2023. In a world telling us we must stay in one lane, Manju explores what it means to be a multi-hyphenate, to find the inspiration and motivation to live without limits. Since dreaming about becoming an astronaut when she was a child, Manju has worked at two NASA centers and in the White House. She is now enrolled in a postgraduate program training her to go to space one day. In addition to her scientific accomplishments, her acting and modeling careers have taken her from working with Beyoncé
The Undergraduate Research Symposium is proudly sponsored by the Division of Undergraduate Education and Student Success, the Center for Undergraduate Research and Engagement (CURE), the Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation, University Housing, the Robert D. Clark Honors College, the UO Libraries, and the Ronald E. McNair Scholars Program.
We wish to extend our gratitude to the UO Libraries for funding the cost of printing research posters for presenters.
Frequently Asked Questions
The University of Oregon Undergraduate Research Symposium celebrates the remarkable contributions our undergraduates make to research and other creative work in a wide range of academic disciplines.
The symposium aspires to engage undergraduates in the research mission of the University of Oregon by supporting the creation and dissemination of knowledge, while inspiring younger undergraduates to seek out research opportunities and removing barriers to interdisciplinary education and discourse.
The symposium enables students to share their ideas, discoveries, and artistic expression with the campus and local community. The symposium invites students to select their preferred style of presentation to best accommodate their projects. Held in the EMU in the mode of an academic conference, the symposium will include poster sessions, oral presentations, data stories and exhibition space for performing and fine arts.
The Undergraduate Research Symposium debuted in 2011 with 69 presenters and 40 faculty mentors spanning 20 majors and four colleges, and in its eighth year grew to 392 presenters and 260 faculty mentors spanning 71 majors, 13 minors and eight colleges. Over the past eight years the Symposium has hosted nearly 1600 student presenters.
The symposium is open to all UO and Oregon community college undergraduate students from across the disciplines and colleges who are presenting individual or collaborative research, creative work, or scholarship as part of course, thesis, minor/major, study abroad program or independent study overseen by a faculty mentor. The symposium is also an ideal venue for students of the performing and fine arts to share their work with a larger audience. Faculty mentors are encouraged to nominate their students to participate in symposium.
The symposium also encourages participation by student participating in First-Year Interest Groups (FIGs) and Academic Residential Communities (ARCs).
Individual and group presentations–poster, oral, creative works, and data story presentations–are welcome. The abstract submission allows teams to register multiple authors/presenters. Past presentation formats have included art installations; film screenings; science demonstrations; live dance, musical, and voice performances; poetry slams; live essay readings; and panel discussions in addition to traditional poster and oral presentations.
Yes. Posters, data stories, and talks can be presented at almost any stage of a research project, and are an excellent way to get feedback on work “in-progress.” Typically, students who have been conducting research for at least two terms are well positioned to present, or those who have a course-based research project or creative work. You are encouraged to discuss your research progress with your faculty and research mentors; they should assist you in the abstract writing process.
No. Undergraduates may present up to two terms after their graduation.
Yes. Please review additional submission details once they become available. For example, many students present both poster and oral presentations in separate sessions.
There are a lot of helpful tips and tricks (abstract writing, creating a poster, preparing for the presentation) on this website. ASURE (Associated Students for Undergraduate Research) offers abstract writing workshops through winter term and the weeks leading up to the Symposium. Please send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The symposium is inclusive and, as a whole, is not competitive. It offers an opportunity for undergraduates to come together and share their research with others in a supportive and respectful environment. However, there are award opportunities based on self-nominations.
That symposium is free and open to the public, so feel free to invite any friends, family, and mentors to come view your presentation.
Yes, there are numerous awards for presenters in many different categories. Please review the award descriptions and eligibility requirements on this website.
Yes. We welcome volunteers to moderate sessions and be involved in other ways. If you are interested in volunteering, please complete this brief sign up form. Questions can be directed to email@example.com.
Our goal is to ensure all students are able to participate in the Undergraduate Research Symposium, There are microphones used in all presentation rooms. All presentation spaces are accessible by wheelchair. An ASL interpreter can be provided upon request. Multiple engagement options are available to presenters (different presentation formats, session types). If you would like information regarding a specific accommodation or request, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org and we can work to see how we might be able to accommodate other needs.