The State of NC Undergraduate Research Symposium


Dear SNCURS Participants, Mentors, Visitors and Guests,

I am delighted to report the success of the first State of North Carolina Undergraduate Research Symposium held on November 11-12, 2005 at the Jane McKimmon Center, NC State University, Raleigh, NC.

Some 450 undergraduates, mentors, campus administrations of graduate and professional schools, recruiters from industry and government agencies, and legislators and guests registered in advance for events that weekend. We had approximately 75 “no-shows” but these were mostly administrators and mentors. The attendance figures are:

  • 218 presenters (oral, poster and visual and performing artists); these included:



% of total




Engineering, Technology, Mathematics



Performing Arts






Social Sciences



Visual Arts



  • After a welcome from NC State's Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Dr. Larry Nielsen, all in attendance were treated to the musical talent of Mr. Jason Nguyen (Wake Forest University) who played the Vietnamese Dan Bau (monochord), and Mr. Pulsar Li (Duke University) on the baby grand piano and electronic keyboard who was assisted by Josh Stohl. These performances were a major highlight of the day by also emphasizing the importance of creativity in the arts and how it stands along side the research conducted in science, mathematics, technology, social sciences and humanities, and the business arenas.
  • 22 North Carolina institutions were represented (14 of the UNC system; 5 private colleges; 2 NC Community Colleges; 1 high school). 11 travel grants were provided to colleges and universities.
  • 39 mentor affiliations were involved (19 of which were from outside NC)
  • 81 high school students and teachers from predominately black schools attended. Travel grants were provided to 6 high schools.
  • 15 directors of undergraduate research attended the pre-symposium workshop that featured the Kenan K-12 Teaching Fellows at the J.C. Raulston Arboretum on the NC State campus. The workshop addressed what K-12 is doing in discovery-, inquiry- and creativity-based learning. These teaching fellows, Holly Hanrahan, Gail Powell and Lynne Tesh Gronback, are doing outstanding work and their presentations were inspiring with innovations easily adaptable to college courses! William Tucci, Director of the Kenan K-12 Teaching Fellows Program hosted the event.
  • The NC Museum of Natural Sciences provided both lunch and workshops for the high school students and teachers between noon and 3:00 p.m. Led by Dr. Elizabeth Baird of the Museum, we learned that most of the students and teachers had never visited the Museum. Dr. Baird is eager to continue this program and to consider bringing only teachers in even years and both students and teachers in odd years. The new building that is scheduled for completion in 2008 is expected to have 70% of its effort directed at research.
  • The seven lunchbox focus groups were very popular with both the undergraduate participants and those leading the discussion panels:

Applying to Graduate Schools and Funding Assistantships
Careers in Medicine and Applying to Medical School
Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math
Preparing for National Fellowships
Participating in the new Undergraduate Research Journal – State of NC
Intellectual Property Rights, Patents, Copywriting, Idea Incubation, Start-Ups
Careers in Dentistry and Applying to Dental School

  • Several dozen students have expressed interest in leading the development of the new UndergraduateResearch Journal – State of North Carolina . Dr. Michael Bassman, Assistant Vice Chancellor at EastCarolina University will direct this effort. Funds from sponsors will pay, in part, for the first printing. Student authors are encouraged to contact Dr. Bassman at:
  • An electronic evaluation form (with a few early flaws) was created for the website. Please complete that form by accessing it from this link:
  • Very important is the evaluation data that reveals that many students and other participants would not have attended if they had to pay the $75 registration fee. That was not surprising considering the difficult economy that impacted North Carolina because of hurricane Katrina and the ensuing gasoline costs and travel restrictions placed on institutions. Because we had 75 “no-shows” for a dollar loss of $5,625, we will be looking into ways to charge a $10 registration fee with a full rebate if the participant/visitor attends the event.
  • 12 sponsors made this event possible:

    Burroughs Wellcome Fund
    Kenan Institute for Engineering, Technology and Science at NC State University
    Kenan K-12 Teaching Fellows Program
    National Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi, Promotion of Excellence Grant
    North Carolina Biotechnology Center, Event Grant
    North Carolina Board of Science & Technology
    North Carolina Department of the Secretary of State
    North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences
    North Carolina Sea Grant
    Procter and Gamble
    RTI International
    Red Hat, Inc.
  • The book of abstracts says a great deal about the quality of this first symposium. The research and creativity of North Carolina college students is truly outstanding. Much of their work is at the master's degree level of achievement. A graphic design student, Ms. Shanthony M. Exum, at NC State University created the abstract book cover. It emphasizes the importance of the mentor in providing the spark needed to advance discovery- and creativity-based learning.
  • Be on the lookout for photographs that will get posted on this home page!!

This event will only grow and get better. It is also contagious because South Carolina intends to follow our model. By dodging the NC Science Teachers' Conference with a move to the third Saturday of November, we will be able to attract more high school students and teachers. Many were too exhausted to return home from the Triad area only to leave the next day for Raleigh. Also, the visual and performing arts' mentors indicated that their section of the symposium could grow by using special ads that highlight opportunities to present in the performing and visual arts. Those who participated were absolutely elated with this opportunity.

Finally, please know that NC State University's Office of Undergraduate Research freely provided nearly all of the administrative costs associated with the creation of this event.

Thanks To Sponsors: We all thank the sponsors for their support and vision in celebrating the research and creativity of –hopefully – these future employees and citizens of North Carolina. Sponsors are needed for SNCURS 2006; any dollar level of support will be most appreciated. Contact: George Barthalmus, SNCURS Coordinator, Office of Undergraduate Research, Division of Undergraduate Academic Programs, 202 Ricks Hall, NC State University, Raleigh, NC 27695-7105.

Symposium Statistics

Institutions with Student Presenters (22):
Appalachian State University
Cape Fear Community College (special NC Sea Grant to a community college student)
Duke University
East Carolina University
Elizabeth City State University
Fayetteville State University
Hoggard High School (special NC Sea Grant to high school student)
Lenoir-Rhyne College
Meredith College
Nash Community College
North Carolina A&T State University
North Carolina State University
Salem College
UNC-Chapel Hill
UNC-Pembroke UNC -Wilmington
Wake Forest University
Western Carolina University
Wilmington High School
Winston-Salem State University

Number of Presentations by Discipline (218):
Business, Economics, Management 3
Engineering, Technology and Mathematics 44
Performing Arts 7
Science 127
Social Sciences and Humanities 32
Visual Arts 5

Mentor Affiliations (39, 19 of which are outside North Carolina)
Bodega Marine Laboratory
University of California, Davis
California State Polytechnic University
Dauphin Island Sea Lab
Duke University
Duke University Medical Center
East Carolina University
Elizabeth City State University
Institute of Astronomy, Russian Academy of Sciences
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Lenoir-Rhyne College
Loyola Marymount University
Maria Mitchell Observatory
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Mayo Clinic
Meredith College
Nash Community College
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
National Institutes of Health
NC Agricultural and Technical State University
North Carolina State University
Pennsylvania State University
Safe Schools North Carolina
Salem College
Sternberg Astronomical Institute, Russia
UNC-Chapel Hill
Universitaet Kassel: Center for Nanostructure Science and Technology
University of Colorado-Boulder
University of Connecticut Health Center
University of Sussex
Upper Cleveland Medical Center
Wake Forest University
Western Carolina University
Winston-Salem State University

State of North Carolina Symposium Home Page

NCSU Undergraduate Research Home Page

Symposium Photo Album 2005

For information contact:
George T. Barthalmus, Ph.D.
Director, Undergraduate Research
NC State University
phone: 919-513-4187 email:
Last Updated: January 4, 2006