Spring 2024 Undergraduate Research Symposium

April 19, Bauer Hall 1st Floor

The Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR) hosts Undergraduate Research Symposia twice a year, showcasing the diverse range of research, creative inquiry and experiential learning projects conducted by WashU undergraduate students and mentored by WashU faculty. The symposia provide an opportunity for undergraduate students to share their work, engage in peer networking and cross-disciplinary conversations, and develop presentation skills. All WashU community members are encouraged to attend!

Tentative presenter list

Event Schedule & Location

Special presentations

Location: Bauer Hall (BH), Emerson Auditorium

10:00AM - 11:15AM: Featured Senior Talks and presentation of Undergraduate Inquiry Mentor Impact Award

Faculty-nominated seniors giving featured talks include:

  • Kate Bircher, Philosophy-Neuroscience-Psychology & Dance
  • Bonnie Dana, Studio Art & Environmental Analysis
  • Maxwell Juhas, American Culture Studies
  • Sophie Waimon, Anthropology: Global Health and Environment

Inaugural Undergraduate Inquiry Mentor Impact Award recipients (alphabetical):

  • Jami Ake, Teaching Professor Interdisciplinary Project in the Humanities, and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
  • Melissa Mavers, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Hematology, and Oncology
  • Tim Wencewicz, Associate Professor of Chemistry

Poster presentations

Location: Bauer Hall (BH), Frick Forum

10:00AM - 11:30AM: Poster session A
12:45PM - 2:15PM: Poster session B
3:30PM - 5:00PM: Poster session C

Each poster session includes a mix of all participating disciplines, grouped thematically as much as possible.

    Oral presentations

    Location: Bauer Hall (BH), rooms 160 and 150 (concurrent sessions)

    12:00PM - 1:00PM: Lightning Talks 1 (BH 160) - Perception and Lived Experience (Social Sciences and Humanities)
    12:00PM - 1:00PM: Lightning Talks 2 (BH 150) - Biology of Disease
    1:45PM - 3:15PM: Deeper Dive Talks 1 (BH 160) - Theoretical and Computational Sciences
    1:45PM - 3:15PM: Deeper Dive Talks 2 (BH 150) - Center for the Humanities roundtable on People + Place
    4:00PM - 5:00PM: Lightning Talks 3 (BH 160) - Power, Ethics, & Justice in Society (Social Sciences and Humanities)
    4:00PM - 5:00PM: Lightning Talks 4 (BH 150) - Public Health

    Virtual/recorded presentations

    A selection of recorded presentations will be available in the online program only, allowing us to exceed in-person capacity limitations and include students unavailable in person (e.g., current study abroad students).

    Directions

    Enter through Bauer Hall and turn left to access the central staircase. Proceed to the bottom floor. The information table will be on your right.

    Parking: The closest visitor parking to the Symposium venue is Millbrook Garage. Cross Throop Drive after exiting Millbrook and proceed to Knight Hall (not to be confused with the Knight Center). The information table will be on the right as you enter Knight Hall.

     


    Key Dates for Presenters

    • Friday, February 16: Registration opens. Registration is required for all symposium participants. If your course or department requires that you present at the symposium, you must register; no students are automatically registered.
    • Wednesday, March 13: Registration closes
    • Friday, March 22: Participants notified of session assignment
    • Friday, March 29: Deadline for presenters to confirm participation
    • Friday, April 12: Submission deadline - final title, abstract, and presentation file for online program due *
    • Friday, April 19: Symposium from 10 AM - 5 PM (exact times subject to change) on the 1st floor of Bauer Hall (various locations)

    Faculty mentors will be emailed upon submission of the registration form to notify them of students' participation and, for mentors of seniors, to invite them to nominate students for the featured talks.

    * All presenters must submit a presentation file (e.g., PDF of poster, slides, or exhibit) for the online program. This file will be VISIBLE TO THE PUBLIC as submitted, so it is critical for students to discuss their submissions with their faculty mentors. If there are IP concerns and information cannot be publicly disclosed, students may submit a placeholder file to the online program (e.g., a visual abstract or poster with sensitive information blinded) and coordinate with the OUR to print (if applicable) and present their materials in person.

    Learn More about Making a Poster

    Template, tips, and logistical information are available on the Making a Poster page

    Learn More

    Presentation Formats

    To the extent possible, all students will be grouped thematically and present alongside others in their broad discipline or area of inquiry. Below is an overview of each available presentation format, its intended purpose and content, and its logistical details.

    • 90-minute poster presentations
      • Purpose: To provide extensive conversation, questions, and constructive feedback from audience members with varying levels of disciplinary expertise. This presentation format is the most interactive, offering a great opportunity for students to solicit input on projects at any stage (e.g., design, work-in-progress, or completed).
      • Content: Individual or group presenters should leverage their poster as a visual aid for brief verbal presentations. Best practice is to prepare a short (1 minute) “elevator pitch” describing the work for a diverse audience, plus a longer (3-5 minute) walk-through for those interested in more detail. Audience members can interject questions at any point.
      • Materials: A poster provides a large-format summary of your project utilizing any combination of text and/or imagery.
    • 5-minute lightning talks (plus 2 minutes Q&A)
      • Purpose: Ideal for presenting works in progress. Lightning talks provide the opportunity to practice succinct and clear communication with a diverse audience in a low-pressure environment. They allow presenters to take stock of their project progress and receive brief feedback.
      • Content: Presenters should consider where they are in the progression of their project (e.g., literature review, design, troubleshooting methods, evidence collection, creative production, synthesis) and choose the most relevant phase to highlight. This focal point for the talk should follow a brief introduction of the motivating research question or creative objective. Audience members can raise questions immediately after the talk.
      • Materials: A good rule of thumb is to utilize no more than 1 slide per minute. Presenters utilizing slides as an optional visual aid should therefore prepare no more than 5 slides total, with fewer slides likely working better, given the time constraints.
    • 8-minute deeper dive talks (plus 2 minutes Q&A)
      • Purpose: Ideal for more developed work. Deeper dive talks provide the opportunity to practice more in-depth communication about a project with a diverse audience in a low-pressure environment. They allow presenters to share their developing disciplinary expertise and seek brief feedback on their project as a whole.
      • Content: Presenters should consider what new knowledge is being generated, or what new understanding is being developed, through their project. After establishing the motivating research question or creative objective, the talk can delve into the process and/or outcomes of discovery. Questions will be structured differently in two versions of the deeper dive talks:
        • Version 1: Each presentation immediately followed by individual Q&A.
        • Version 2: A Center for the Humanities roundtable session will model humanities disciplinary conferences, where multiple presentations are followed by a collaborative, moderated roundtable discussion among presenters. Learn more on the Center's website.
      • Materials: A good rule of thumb is to utilize no more than 1 slide per minute. Presenters utilizing slides as an optional visual aid should therefore prepare no more than 8 slides total, with fewer slides likely working better, given the time constraints.
    • 12-minute featured talks (plus 3 minutes for Q&A)
      • Purpose: To showcase the undergraduate inquiry of faculty-nominated seniors. A total of 4 seniors will be honored through this opportunity. Strong candidates for featured talks are seniors from any discipline who have demonstrated a high degree of academic and personal growth in pursuit of notable research or creative inquiry.
      • Mentors of all seniors who register for the symposium will be invited to nominate their mentees.
    • Creative exhibits and performances
      • Purpose: Ideal for undergraduate inquiry involving the arts and/or creative practice. Whether through static or dynamic modalities, presenters can share the process and/or outputs of discovery in their discipline.
      • Content: During symposium registration, students can describe the nature of their desired presentation and identify the resources, space, and time required. Opportunities will be made available as interest and capacity allow.

    Final Submission & Day Of Tips

    Final Submission

    • Presenters will receive submission instructions after confirming their intent to present at the symposium. Presenters will be notified of their session assignments on March 22, and confirmation (or a request to change sessions) is due March 29. Students who do not confirm participation may forfeit their presentation slots. 
    • All presenters must submit a final presentation file (e.g., PDF of poster, slides, or exhibit) for the online program. This file will be VISIBLE TO THE PUBLIC as submitted, so it is critical for students to discuss their submissions with their faculty mentors. If there are IP concerns and information cannot be publicly disclosed, students may submit a placeholder file to the online program (e.g., a visual abstract, a poster with sensitive information blinded) and coordinate with the OUR to print (if applicable) and present their materials in person.
    • Free poster printing through the OUR will be available to symposium participants who upload their file by the April 12 deadline. Students submitting placeholder files to the online program (see above) can coordinate with the OUR (undergradresearch@wustl.edu) to have their posters printed. 
      • When including WashU logos, symbols, and marks in presentation materials, please refer to the University Marketing & Communications guidelines. Note that use of the official university seal is restricted and should not be used for symposium presentations.
      • The OUR printer generates posters with 34 x 44" dimensions (landscape or portait) on gloss paper. When designing posters in PowerPoint, use Page Setup to set the appropriate page dimensions before constructing your poster. 

    Day Of

    • Check in upon arrival. Please find the registration table on the 1st floor of Bauer Hall when you arrive, so we can confirm your presence and share information.
    • Please be timely! As a general rule, arrive at least 15 minutes prior to your assigned session and stay for the duration of your session.  
      • Oral presenters should test their slides and familiarize themselves with the session logistics and the AV system in the room. 
      • Poster presenters are responsible for bringing, setting up, and taking down their own posters, or having a friend do so instead. If the OUR printed your poster, you must pick it up in advance; we will not transport posters to the event. 
    • Practice makes perfect. All presenters should practice communicating the key questions, methods, and findings of your research. Whether giving a talk, presenting an in-person poster, or sharing work virtually, all participants should take this opportunity to practice a brief “elevator pitch” describing their research to diverse audiences.
    • Dress for confidence and comfort. Business casual attire is recommended (i.e., no jeans, t-shirts, or flip flops). The goal is to look professional but also feel comfortable standing and interacting with fellow researchers. 
    • Spread the word. Encourage faculty mentors, lab mates, advisors, and friends to stop by!