The State of NC Undergraduate Research & Creativity Symposium



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About the Symposium


  • To recognize the discovery-, creativity- and inquiry-based scholarship and entrepreneurial talents of undergraduate students of North Carolina.
  • To encourage undergraduate research and creativity as a way of learning and of positioning oneself for admission to graduate or professional school, positions within the creative arts, or for excellent employment hopefully within North Carolina.
  • To applaud the hard work and dedication of mentors from colleges, universities, national visual and performing arts studios, industry and government agencies.
  • To cultivate the next generation of research and artistic mentors within colleges, universities, industry and government agencies.
  • To build on North Carolina’s future by establishing a stronger partnership between higher education, industry, government and the visual and performing arts.


  • August 2003: A Duke University undergraduate, Ms. Emily Heikamp, with a committee of students and faculty from Duke, NC State and UNC-Chapel Hill, created the first Triangle Undergraduate Research Symposium (TURS) in November 2003. With funding from the Robertson Scholars Collaboration Fund, Duke University, NC State University and UNC-Chapel Hill, the second TURS event was hosted by Dr. George Barthalmus at NC State University in Raleigh on November 6, 2004. Some 94 students from 10 North Carolina institutions presented their work.
  • July 2004: TURS organizers met with Dr. Russ Lea, Vice President for Research and Sponsored Programs for UNC-General Administration to discuss the possibility of expanding TURS to a statewide event. UNC-General Administration was supportive of UNC’s involvement and looked to the guidance of the UNC Undergraduate Research Consortium. 
  • November 2004: The Consortium agreed to develop an annual statewide symposium for state and private colleges.
  • November 2004: The Kenan Institute for Engineering, Technology and Science provided first year funds to pay for rental of the Jane McKimmon Center, food, and abstract books for 400 students and mentors. Expected, however, by the institute were value-added components requiring separate funds to invite high school students and teachers to the symposium, to build a dynamic website, to encourage minority participation, to invite campus directors of undergraduate research to arrive the evening before the symposium for a workshop, and to publish an on-going journal to highlight student scholarship in all disciplines. In addition, sponsorship funding must be sought to continue this symposium into future years. Dr. Barthalmus received added support for the 2005 symposium from: (1) NC Sea Grant as REUs for one high school and one community college student, (2) Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi Promotion of Excellence Grant, (3) NC Biotechnology Center’s Event Sponsorship Grant, (4) Burroughs Wellcome Fund, (5) NC Board of Science and Technology, (6) Procter and Gamble, Inc., (7) Red Hat, Inc., (8) RTI International, (9) NC Secretary of State.
  • The first State of NC Undergraduate Research and Creativity Symposium was held on November 9, 2005 in Raleigh. With 218 oral, poster and artistic presentations and over 450 attendees including high school students and teachers, it was an enormous success and free to all!


Important Dates

September 7

Open online registration



November 3

Registration closes at 5:00 p.m.



November 18

State of NC Undergraduate Research and Creativity Symposium at the McKimmon Center, Raleigh, NC



Symposium Details

The method of your presentation will be based upon the way professionals within your discipline frequently present their research, creative project or performance.

  • Students in the sciences, engineering, technology, psychology, and mathematical fields must present using a 3'x4'poster.
  • Students in the social sciences, humanities, business, management and pre-law disciplines must give oral presentations.  Psychology students will give a poster presentation. Note that the number of oral presentations is limited to 55, 20-minute time slots (15 minute with 5 minutes for questions) because of the time needed for each presentation; it is a first-come, first-served basis for oral presentations; however, these students may present with a poster if all oral presentation time blocks become filled (you will be informed if this happens).
  • Students in the visual or performing arts will have the opportunity to perform (original song, dance, instrument, reading) or to display their work (painting, drawing, sculpture, fabric, etc.).  Two separate rooms will support their presentations. 
  • Special Featured Dance, Song or Instrument Performances on stage before the entire group attending the symposium will be between 9:00-9:50 a.m.  Three 10-minute performance opportunities exist and students are encouraged to apply through the recommendation of their college mentor/instructor.  You will be notified of acceptance into this competition at the close of registration.  Note that the student should also submit an abstract and request space in the performing arts room. Special Stage Performance Student Applicant Form

Those Staying Overnight:  If you are staying overnight in Raleigh, you may wish to make reservations at a Raleigh Hotel by entering this link:
and indicate to the hotel clerk that you will be participating in a symposium at the McKimmon Center for the event entitled: State of NC Undergraduate Research Symposium.  All hotels in this website have a contractual agreement with special rates with the Office of Professional Development at the McKimmon Center.

Required Abstract Regardless of whether you perform, display your art work or give a poster or oral presentation, you must prepare an abstract (summary) that is 300 words or less and submit it using the online registration link by 5:00 p.m. on November 3, 2006. Junior authors should not submit an abstract (only the senior author submits the abstract) but should register at the Undergraduate Co-Author Registration Form. The abstract should be typed using Times New Roman 12 point font. No abstracts/late registrations will be accepted after this date.

Posters:  Your poster must be no larger than 3ft x 4ft but it can be oriented either horizontally or vertically on an easel that will be provided for you (pins included).  The following links will be helpful in preparing your poster:

If your campus does not have a large poster printer you can have it printed at a local printing/photocopy company (between $80-$100). If too costly, you may use PowerPoint software to create several 8.5” by 11” sheets of content that can be pinned to the easel’s backboard that is 3ft x 4ft. Your name, mentor’s name and your institutional addresses should follow the title of your poster. See this photo link of a completed poster. Note: NC Space Grant participants should have the poster printed by a local company and save the original receipt. Complete the form under the Registration Links section so that you can be reimbursed.

Oral Presentations: There will be 55, 20-minute time blocks established for 11 presentation rooms. Prepare a PowerPoint computer-projected presentation that, when rehearsed, takes no more than 15 minutes. A session moderator will then permit 5 minutes or less of questions. No one will be permitted to exceed this time allotment because the audience may wish to quickly go to the next concurrent presentation in another room. Bring your presentation on a USB memory stick or 3.5 inch diskette. Arrive at your designated presentation room before the 9:00 a.m. welcome session so that your presentation can be loaded into the computers. Also have with you a printed copy of your presentation in the event of an unforeseen computer glitch.

Performing Arts: One room will be set up for dance, song or instrument presentation. Each presentation will be allotted 15 minutes with 5 minutes for questions and explanations of your original work. All students in the performing arts session must submit an abstract that describes the nature, history and/or development of the performance. Bring your own instrument(s); professional-grade amplification will not be available, but hand-held or wireless amplification microphones will be available. Indicate your specific needs on the registration form.

Visual Arts: One room will be furnished with 6-foot tables for displays of original sculptures, ceramic art and works that can be displaced on a table. Easels will be provided for paintings, drawings or the hanging of fabrics and collages. Depending on the demand for this venue, students should stay with their display from 10:00 a.m. until noon. If pressed by demand, each student will display for one hour so that another student can move into the vacated space for the last hour. All students in the visual arts session must submit an abstract that describes the piece of art, how the idea arose, its structural composition (type of clay, glaze used, oil or watercolors, woven materials and dyes, etc.). Your work may not be sold at the symposium; however, you can make arrangements with buyers to do so at a later time. Visual arts students may find the oral presentation mode more suitable if a power point presentation is desired. It is up to you.

Special Dance/Song or Instrument Performances on Stage for the entire group attending the symposium will be between 9:00-9:50 a.m. Two or three 10-minute performance opportunities are available and students are encouraged to apply through the recommendation of their college mentor/instructor. You will be notified of acceptance into this competition at the close of registration. Note that these students should also submit an abstract and request space in the performance room in the event they are not chosen for this stage performance.


Click here to complete your abstract electronically.


About Your Presentation 

After you've submitted your application, these questions may help you determine the best way to present your project.

When Do I Give My Presentation?

Oral presentations will be in one of 11 rooms between 10:00 a.m. and noon. Poster presentations will be from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. but as two 1.5 hr. sessions.

Do I Have Any Choices on How I Do My Presentation?

No. Your research discipline will determine whether you will give an oral or poster presentation.

What Are the Requirements for a Poster Presentation?

Students may design their poster to be oriented horizontally or vertically as a 36" x 48" poster. An easel with a cardboard sheet that is 42" x 54" will be provided along with pins to attach your poster. If you do not have a poster printer at your institution, you may use PowerPoint software to generate separate 8.5” by 11.0” sheets that can be pinned onto the cardboard sheet. Note that most photocopy shops can print a poster for you, but it must be submitted to them on a diskette or CD in print-ready form (have your mentor proof your work). The cost will be around $80-$110. Your institutions may have this service available, so be sure to check before seeking a commercial printer. NC Space Grant participants should submit an additional form so that their poster printing costs can be reimbursed (see Registration Links section).

When Can I Start Setting Up My Poster Presentation?

If you are in Poster Session 1 (1:00-2:30 p.m.) you may set up your poster on a designated easel any time between 7:45 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. If you are in Poster Session 2 (2:30- 4:00 p.m.) you must go to a designated easel at 2:30 p.m. and set up where someone from Poster Session 1 was presenting. A registration desk will be established in the McKimmon Center’s lobby. When you sign in at the registration desk you will be able to pick up your nametag and your easel-board assignment. The website for the symposium will continually update placement of posters and oral presentations as November 18 nears. Presentations must remain up with you present until the end of your session.

When Is Lunch?

Participants and their Research Mentors are encouraged to participate in the complimentary lunch that will be served from noon – 12:50 p.m.  This will be a boxed lunch. Pick up your food in Room 2 and then take it to one of the 11 rooms where professionals will lead special discussions on various topics ranging from “How to Get into Medical School,” to “Patents and Property Rights.” Be sure to indicate on your registration form the type of lunch you want (with meat deli salad or no-meat deli salad).


High School Students and Teachers:

High school teachers (30 first come first served!!) please know that a special program has been planned for you. You would be at the symposium site to see performing artists between 9:00-10:00 a.m. At 10:00 a.m. you would be bused to the Prairie Ridge outdoor and indoor classrooms of the NC Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh. There, Dr. Elizabeth Baird and her staff will provide you with a free lunch and lead a program entitled: Prairie Ridge: Using the Outdoors for Research and Interdisciplinary Studies.

Learn ways to incorporate field research and interdisciplinary techniques with your students. During our session you will have a chance to participate in some hands-on research techniques that might be replicable on your school grounds. You will also discover ways to use nature journaling – using writing, drawing and other techniques – as a tool for helping your students increase their science skills. Participating teachers will receive a copy of Richard Louv’s highly acclaimed book “The Last Child in the Woods” as well as a journal, journaling tools and other materials. Please wear appropriate attire for an outside study, including closed toe shoes and long pants. Bring rain gear and jackets. This class will primarily be taught in the field and in an outdoor classroom.

At 1:00 p.m., you will return by bus to the McKimmon Center for the poster session followed by the 4:00 p.m. reception (food) and the recognition of the symposium’s sponsors.

If you are a high school teacher please complete the form at this link. Remember, the first 30 to register will be accepted into this special program; you will get a certificate of attendance at the end of the day.

Travel Assistance for High School Teachers:

Travel assistance is available for high school teachers attending the Symposium. Please see the High School Teacher registration form for details.


Invited Recruiters of Graduate and Professional Schools, Industry and Government Agencies:

This symposium is an excellent opportunity for recruiters for graduate and professional schools, of industry and government agencies and of fine arts’ studios to identify some of the most talented young research scholars and artists in North Carolina. These students have hands-on research and creative arts experiences and represent an excellent, non-ordinary group of future scholars and leaders within their disciplines. North Carolina cannot afford to lose this talent! We hope that you will invite students to apply to your institution, company, studio, or government agency.

Your only cost will be getting to the McKimmon Center in Raleigh. There is no registration fee and all meals and break service is open to you. Rather than assign display space at the symposium, we ask that you visit the oral and poster presentation rooms and question students that you wish to invite to apply to your institution, company or agency. All you will need are brochures and application forms.

Please complete the recruiter registration form so that we can plan for printing and food costs, and also keep you updated on added details related to the symposium.  If you have questions, please contact or call 919-513-4187. 

Directions to the McKimmon Center at NC State University:

From I-40 traveling east from airport: Take Gorman Street Exit #295. Turn left onto Gorman Street. Go approximately 1 mile. McKimmon Center is on the right past Avent Ferry Rd, before Western Blvd.  See map.

From I-40 traveling west: Take Gorman Street Exit #295. Turn right onto Gorman Street. Go approximately 1 mile. McKimmon Center is on the right past Avent Ferry Rd., before Western Blvd.  See map.



Undergraduate Research Journal--State of North Carolina: "Explorations":

We are pleased that undergraduate students from any college, university or community college in North Carolina may submit a manuscript of their research/special creative project for publication in the companion journal for this annual symposium.


Spring 2007/Volume II, Issue 1

Eligible Participants

Any undergraduate enrolled at a two-year or four-year college or university in North Carolina, who performed undergraduate research or an independent study/creative project and presented it at the State of North Carolina Undergraduate Research Symposium, may submit a manuscript.


Papers cannot exceed 15,000 words and must be approved by the project’s faculty mentor.  The paper, graphics, charts and data should be included in one Word document for the initial submission.

Professionals in North Carolina and beyond will review papers received from all academic disciplines.  Some topics are better suited to a feature story, rather than a traditional research paper.  Feature stories are written in a style similar to what you would see in Scientific American.  Sample feature stories are available on the URJ-NC State University website:

Note that until funding is available to print formal copies of an issue, the journal will reside as a PDF file on this website. It may then be downloaded by the author and others anywhere in the world. 

Needed immediately are undergraduate students who are interested in serving as editors within the discipline. Students who feel qualified to serve as the editor in chief, the managing editor, or as a disciplinary editor are encouraged to contact:

Dr. Michael Bassman
Assistant Vice Chancellor & Director
University Honors Program, EC Scholars, & Undergraduate Research
East Carolina University
Brewster D107, Greenville, NC 27858

Papers are due by January 30, 2007



Sponsors of the Symposium, the new Journal "Exlorations," and Summer Research Experiences for High School & Community College Students:

Higher education in North Carolina is very pleased to have received funding from the following foundations, societies, universities, organizations and companies. Because of them, this event was free to all in attendance. We thank you for your generous support. 

Alliance for Graduate Education in the Professoriate (AGEP) at NC State University (comprehensive support)

Appalachian State University (comprehensive support)

Burroughs Wellcome Fund (comprehensive support for high school teachers)

Butler Manufacturing

Chemical Industries Institute of Toxicology (CIIT) (comprehensive support)

College of Humanities and Social Sciences, NC State University (comprehensive support)

Duke University’s Howard Hughes Medical Institute (comprehensive support)

East Carolina University (comprehensive support and leadership for the companion journal, “Explorations”)

Footlights, A Destination for Dancers, Raleigh, NC

Graduate School, NC State University (comprehensive support)

Kenan Institute for Engineering, Technology and Science (comprehensive support)

North Carolina Biotechnology Center Event Grant (comprehensive support)

North Carolina Board of Science and Technology (comprehensive support)

North Carolina Department of the Secretary of State (comprehensive support)

North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences (afternoon lunch and programs for high school teachers)

North Carolina Sea Grant (two student summer research grants; high school and community college awards at CMAST, Morehead City, NC)

North Carolina Space Grant (comprehensive support for participating Space Grant undergraduate researchers and mentors)

NC State University Chapter of Phi Kappa Phi (comprehensive support)

NC State University Chapter of Sigma Xi

Procter & Gamble Oral Care Division

Red Hat, Inc. (comprehensive support)

Talecris Biotherapeutics

University of North Carolina-Charlotte (comprehensive support)

University of North Carolina-Greensboro (comprehensive support)

University of North Carolina-Pembroke (comprehensive support)

University of North Carolina – General Administration: Undergraduate Research Opportunities Expansion Program (comprehensive support)


Continuing Sponsors NeededIn order to continue this educational and economic initiative for North Carolina’s future, and to grow in student and mentor participation, we need the financial support of donors from industry, government and education. Please contribute what you can to this exciting event.

Contact: or write:

Dr. George T. Barthalmus
Office of Undergraduate Research
Division of Undergraduate Academic Programs
202 Ricks Hall
NC State University
Raleigh, NC 27695-7105

Phone: 919-513-4187
Fax: 919-515-4416



We need your input for planning for future State of North Carolina Undergraduate Research Symposia. Your comments will help us as we plan for next year's symposium. If you wish to submit comments about the Symposium after the event, you may do so through the SNCURCS Evaluation Form page (link will be live after the symposium).

2007 Symposium

Next year's symposium (2007) will be held at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.


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