Research symposium celebrates students and mentors

The UO Undergraduate Research Symposium is back this year with a virtual format that organizers say will be an inspiring and accessible event.

The symposium itself takes place on May 27, but related events take place throughout the week as part of Research Week.

“The reach of the symposium continues to expand through the remote platform, creating new avenues of engagement with families, friends, alumni, donors, high school students and teachers, and members. from the community who have traditionally not been able to participate in the campus event. Said Kevin Hatfield, Assistant Vice-President for Undergraduate Research and Prestigious Fellowships

For more than a decade, the Undergraduate Research Symposium has provided a forum to celebrate the work of hundreds of student researchers, discoverers, creators and innovators and recognize their mentors. Now in its 11th year, the symposium will feature the work of 287 presenters and their 240 faculty mentors through 329 presentations across eight colleges, 63 majors, 20 minor programs, 37 minors, and 15 institutes and centers.

“As a premier research institution, discovery and investigation underpin everything we do,” said Nadia Singh, associate professor of biology and associate vice president for research in the vice-president’s office. president for research and innovation. “Part of our mission is to help individuals question critically, think logically, reason effectively, communicate clearly, and act creatively. The Undergraduate Research Symposium is an embodiment of this mission.

The main event of the symposium is Thursday, May 27, but sessions are scheduled throughout the week of May 24-28, coinciding with the OU’s inaugural research week. A full calendar of events with links to all sessions is available on the symposium website as well as a program book containing presentation summaries, a list of presenters and faculty mentors, and acknowledgments from sponsors, planning committee members, moderators and volunteers.

Hosting a virtual event allowed organizers to invite the symposium’s keynote speaker, Tamela Maciel from University College Cork, Ireland, to present live on Monday, May 24. After graduating from OU in Physics and Mathematics and as the third recipient of the prestigious Marshall Scholarship, the Grants Pass native earned a PhD in Astrophysics from the University of Cambridge. She has extensive experience in managing research projects, scientific writing and engaging scientific audiences with a particular focus on space.

Another benefit of the virtual format is the inclusion of high school and community college students. The symposium expanded its partnership with the Summer Academy to Inspire Learning, known as SAIL, which caters to high school and high school students from under-represented backgrounds, and developed a full day of pre-university collaboration.

The event takes place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Wednesday, May 26, in collaboration with the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid. It invites students, teachers and classrooms to participate in virtual tours, live panels, student transfer panels, research and teaching demonstrations, lab tours and campus and financial aid information sessions.

“It’s a full day of student-led activities aimed at providing insight into academics, majors, minors and research opportunities spanning every interest imaginable,” said Lara Fernandez, Executive Director of SAIL . “Students can join us for the whole day or individual sessions and can make the most of the program by following an interactive booklet. “

the Pre-university day workbook answers questions such as “What is research?” and helps prospective students make a plan to attend college.

In keeping with the student-centered nature of the symposium, four outstanding student leaders will deliver a pre-recorded opening speech. Students affiliated with undergraduate research and engagement chose Yalin Li, event coordinator, and Jewlyssa Pedregon, peer mentor, and the OU Ronald E. McNair scholarship program chose Lukas MacMillan and Ellis Mimms.

The virtual format also offers the possibility of recording student presentations and other sessions. Many of the live streamed and recorded presentations will remain accessible as a permanent online exhibit at the Symposium YouTube Channel, which currently hosts nearly 180 videos including more than 400 presentations, an inventory that will grow with the addition of 2021 presentations.

The symposium also has an awards component, and sponsoring departments will recognize students who present outstanding posters, oral work, creative work, and data stories. A total of 23 departmental sponsors supported 64 presentation awards totaling $ 13,600.

The awards also recognize faculty mentors who play a key role in the success of undergraduate research and creative scholarships. The 2021 Center for Undergraduate Research and Engagement Faculty Research Mentorship Fellowship is a one-time, $ 2,500 scholarship that will recognize four faculty members for their outstanding undergraduate research or creative work mentorship.

Beyond all awards and recognitions, the Undergraduate Research Symposium aims to celebrate the many benefits of undergraduate research and creative work to students, said Kimberly Johnson, Acting Vice-Provost for Studies at undergraduate and student success.

“Students who participate in research and creative scholarship are empowered to explore and clarify their academic and professional goals while developing critical thinking and important workforce skills,” Johnson said. “Their participation enhances knowledge, encourages the development of new skills and professional identity, and connects them with a community of researchers that is essential to the intellectual health of the university.

By Lewis Taylor, University Communications

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