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Photo by Mariah Wilson

Applications open as SU prepares for Undergraduate Research Symposium

By Ashar Memon, October 18 2017 —

The annual Undergraduate Research Symposium (URS) will return to MacHall on November 30. Hosted by the Students’ Union, the URS is held every fall semester for undergraduate students at the University of Calgary to showcase their research.

Participating students will compete for awards in allotments of $500 and $1000. Students will be judged by three different faculty members over a two-hour period and award winners will be announced in early December.

“It is an annual event we run to celebrate and showcase the undergraduate research being done on campus,” said SU vice-president academic Tina Miller.

According to Miller, 101 students participated in the event last year, chosen from 119 submissions. Applicants are selected by the URS working group committee.

“We utilize a specific rubric to select participants for the symposium,” she said. “We want to showcase as many students as possible.”

Students have previously raised concerns regarding research experience not being a requirement for members of the working group committee. Last year, an anonymous student told the Gauntlet that their application was denied by the URS committee twice, even though it was successfully submitted to many other conferences.

Miller said that the committee seeks applicants from all faculties and looks for research that is accessible and engaging.

“We want to make sure the applicants can articulate their research in a very approachable way so it is accessible to students across campus regardless of their exposure to research,” she said.  “We want [students] to be able to understand the research no matter if they’ve been in research for fourfive years or if they’ve had no exposure to it at all.”

This is the 11th year that the SU is hosting the event. When it was first held in November 2006, the URS had 60 participants.

Miller said that she intends to set up focus groups to refine future symposiums. Previous events have used forms to gather feedback from participants, but Miller said that focus groups will allow for “broader feedback” to be collected.

“[I’m] looking at evaluating the process and how we can expand the event and modify it to make it more accessible,” said Miller.

The Undergraduate Research Symposium will be held in MacEwan Hall on Thursday, November 30 from 11:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m. and applications can be found here. The deadline to apply is Oct. 25.

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