Undergraduate Research Conference

Undergraduate Research Conference Logo

The Undergraduate Research Conference is a yearly event to showcase the on-going, in-progress, and proposed work of undergraduates across campus. Students who participate are eligible for a cash prize, given to projects that demonstrate excellence in different categories of research. Students who have worked or are working on an in-depth research project should consider submitting a proposal to present their work. In addition to getting invaluable experience, think of the Conference as a way to strengthen your academic community, build your resume, and take advantage of a chance for recognition.

2024 Conference proposals are now being accepted through Friday, April 5th, 2024. The Conference will be held (and streamed) at Fant Library on April 12th. Students may choose to participate in three ways: live and in-person, live and virtually, or totally asynchronous. To participate in the 2024 URC, submit your proposal online.

Participation Guidelines

All undergraduate students are encouraged to submit a presentation. Consider using course assignments, proposed research, or independent studies as potential presentations.

  • The 2024 Undergraduate Research Conference will be April 12th. This year, students may present live and in-person, live and virtually, or asynchronously.
  • Submission deadline: Friday, April 5th, 2024 by midnight.
  • Students who have recently graduated (August 2023 and later) with an undergraduate degree may participate in the conference up to a year after they’ve graduated.
  • For an idea of previous presentations, read the schedules and abstracts for the previous conferences here.
  • Submit a proposal online using the link in the AthenaCommons event page. (Link will take you to the most recent conference page.)

Submission Guidelines:

  • An informational video that discusses what to consider when submitting, and how to use AthenaCommons to submit online is linked here: https://youtu.be/alc7rGvjwmU
  • For a step-by-step instructions for submitting to AthenaCommons, click here.
  • For examples of previously submitted proposals, click here.
  • For full details on submitting and recording a remote presentation, click here.

Submission types:

  • Oral Presentation: Have up to 20 minutes to present your research (reading from a paper is recommended). Projectors and laptops will be set up for using visual aids during oral presentations.
  • Poster: Dimensions need to be 4′ wide by 3′ tall. Find resources for poster design and printing at libguides.muw.edu/researchposter 
  • Art Exhibit: Please contact our@muw.edu if your piece requires special installation.
  • Performance: Have up to 20 minutes to explain research, techniques, or method, and perform your piece. If your performance requires special set up, please contact our@muw.edu
  • Addtional submission categories (for award purposes):
    • Long-term research: Projects that have been active 2 semesters or longer
    • Short-term research: Projects that have been active 1 semester
    • Proposals: Projects that have been researched and designed for future completion
    • Asynchronous: Submissions that will not have a live component

**All proposals submitted are eligible for a cash prize! For more information, contact our@muw.edu.

Presentation Guidelines:

  • Consider your content:
    • Practice your presentation in front of someone, and ask for feedback.
    • Alternatively, record a practice session
    • Make notes, but try not to read from them or from the presentation. Engage with your audience as much as you can. If your presentation is remote, look at the camera when you’re talking.
  • For virtual presentations, consider your setup:
    • Make sure you have a good microphone and camera, and test your sound/video quality
    • Have your light source in front of you and your camera. An indirect lamp or an open window are good sources that won’t hinder your sight.
    • Have a background that doesn’t distract from you, and present in a quiet or still space.
  • Consider other presentation examples:

For help practicing or recording a presentation, check with the Coordinator of Undergraduate Research (email our@muw.edu) for access to recording equipment and presentation practice sessions.

Evaluation Guidelines:

Consider the following criteria when designing your project or applying to participate. Below are two sets of guidelines:

  1. Guidelines for all submissions
  2. Additional guidelines for particular submissions.

If you have questions about which rubric your project applies to, or how to go from “good” to “excellent” qualities, talk to your advisor, research mentor, or contact the Office of Undergraduate Research.

Every submission will be evaluated based on:

Quality of ResearchOral Presentation
Scholarly significance within student’s field is readily apparentOral presentation is engaging and concise
Robust research process presented clearlyStudent is approachable and professional
Rigorous methodology, when applicableOffers strong answers to questions
Analysis of data/texts is compellingThe presentation skills of the speaker clarified the topic significantly
Results/conclusions are soundSpeaker is fully prepared
Incorporates the ideas of other scholars
Makes an original contribution to the chosen field or the wider public          

Example Oral Presentation Rubric

Example Poster Rubric

Example Original Composition Rubric

Example rubrics for specific research categories not listed are available on request.