On April 28, the UNLV Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR) is set to host its annual research symposia with a handful of students participating. The event is hosted each fall and spring with hopes to fuel research activity, collaboration and development in the student body.
Through these events, OUR hosts four types of presentations and judges competitors in the two categories. The four presentation types are exhibitions, lightning talks, podium presentations and poster presentations. The two categories they are broken up into are arts/humanities/social science projects (AHS) and health & natural sciences/engineering projects (HNSE).
During last fall’s research symposia, OUR hosted 103 poster presentations, 24 lightning talks, 16 podium sessions, and one exhibition/performance. According to the OUR 2022 Abstract Booklet, the event saw 212 students who presented research, 144 of which were undergraduates. Through a demographic breakdown, researchers at the event were 60% female, 37% male, 1% non-binary, and 2% refused to disclose. The event was closely split between the humanities and sciences with 47% registered as AHS and 53% as HNSE.
While there was significant participation in last fall’s symposia, historically each spring there are fewer students who present which can potentially be credited to academic burnout or more upperclassmen preparing for graduation.
Outside of the OUR symposia each spring and fall, the office hosts a number of workshops throughout the year to train students through the research life cycle. One of these workshop series is referred to as the Research Skills Academy, where students can receive certification upon completion of a number of workshops. There will be two more workshops held during the spring semester until the program continues in the fall. On April 11, OUR will host a workshop on getting research ready for grad school and poster creation on April 13.
In addition to hosting workshops, OUR also provides students with funding opportunities, advising and opportunities to publish research in UNLV’s Digital Scholarship database or the Spectra Undergraduate Research Journal.
Consistently maintaining its Carnegie R1 status, UNLV is recognized nationwide alongside UNR with 146 other institutions for holding the “Very High Research Activity” designation since December 2018. This designation has not only increased opportunities for students at UNLV but has generated more research funding for the university as a whole.
Each year, OUR serves roughly 12,075 students and awards $843,850 to support researchers as stated on the OUR website. The ability to serve this many students is likely credited to the abundance of funding the office receives to support its endeavors and because of its R1 status.
One of OUR’s additional services is preparing and funding students to present at national research conferences. This January, OUR sent five student researchers to present at Harvard’s National Collegiate Research Conference. After being selected through a competitive application process, UNLV’s five participants joined 300 other researchers from nearly 100 universities across America and abroad to attend the conference. The Harvard research conference is just one of many conferences funded by the office as a whole.
For individuals interested in attending this April’s symposium, the event will take place from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Student Union ballrooms.