Undergraduate Academic Affairs

May 6, 2013

Undergraduate discovery on display at annual Research Symposium

Undergraduate Academic Affairs

More than 1,000 talented University of Washington undergraduates will showcase their contributions to innovative and groundbreaking research at the Sixteenth Annual Undergraduate Research Symposium, one of the largest such symposia in the country. The symposium will take place May 17, 2013 from 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m., in Mary Gates Hall. Some presentations will also occur in Johnson Hall and Meany Studio Theater.

The Annual Undergraduate Research Symposium provides a forum for undergraduate students to present the research, scholarly, and creative work they have accomplished alongside faculty and graduate mentors throughout the academic year. These students are making significant contributions to real-world and cutting-edge issues of our time. Through their poster and oral presentations at the Research Symposium, undergraduates also learn to explain and connect their work to a general audience. The resulting shared learning and discussion—among faculty, staff, students, and community members—is a valuable experience for many students and guests at the event.

The Undergraduate Research Symposium showcases the diversity of undergraduate research, which spans all disciplines and addresses critical issues of our time. In 2011-12, more than 7,000 undergraduates participated in University-sponsored research, benefiting from the University’s resources as a research powerhouse, and contributing to solutions to critical societal problems. At this year’s Undergraduate Research Symposium, students will share their research on topics which relate to new methods for targeted DNA sequencing, improving waste management efficiency at the UW, translating athletes’ football intelligence to classroom success, cultivating a sustainable farm at a prison, creating an accurate, low-cost, paper-based test to diagnose infectious diseases such as malaria in developing countries, and producing a Native American comic book to share important information relating to cancer education, among many others.

Undergraduate Research Symposium

5/17/13 | 11 a.m.-6 p.m.

Mary Gates Hall and select rooms in Johnson Hall and Meany Studio Theater

There’s a lot to see! Create your own proceedings.

Students often utilize, and sometimes discover, new talents as they approach challenging research questions. Elain Fu, a research assistant professor in bioengineering, mentors undergraduates in her lab. She says that one of her favorite things to see is when students begin to recognize their own talents and capabilities through their involvement in research—an empowering experience. Fu has also seen undergraduates make great contributions to her discipline. Speaking of one undergraduate in her lab, senior Tinny Liang, Fu says “She has not only contributed to the research in my lab, being a co-author on three papers and counting, but her enthusiasm for her work is infectious.”

Students often spearhead original research projects that allow them to pursue personally-relevant topics which build upon their strengths. Undergraduate Alex Catchings, a senior majoring in English, decided to delve into the subject of race and higher education. “My experience as an undergraduate researcher has crystallized my inherent interests in issues of race and higher education,” Catchings says. He says that UW programs like the Undergraduate Research Program, the Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program, the Mary Gates Endowment for Students, and support from professors across the English and American Ethnic Studies Departments have supported him to continue these interests.

Distinguished speakers Regent Joanne Harrell, Head Football Coach Steve Sarkisian, and UAA Dean and Vice Provost Ed Taylor will address symposium participants and attendees in a brief welcome at 12:30 p.m. in the Mary Gates Hall Commons. The annual undergraduate research mentor awards, which recognize exceptional faculty and graduate student mentors to undergraduate researchers, will also be announced during the program.

The Symposium is organized by Undergraduate Academic Affairs’ Undergraduate Research Program, which facilitates research experiences for students in all academic disciplines. Symposium attendees are encouraged to search the online proceedings, locate the poster and oral presentation sessions that interest them, and create their own, personalized proceedings to navigate the Symposium. Visit exp.uw.edu/urp/symp/ to use this tool.