During VCU's "Research Week," on April 25, 2012, there was a daylong Poster Symposium in the Commonwealth Ballrooms. The event was sponsored by UROP (Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program) to promote VCU’s status as a leading research university in the nation. This year’s symposium, according to many of the speakers (including VCU’s President, Dr. Rao), dwarfs last year’s effort, and UROP hopes to double the size of the Symposium next year.
Herb Hill, Coordinator of Undergraduate Research Opportunities, sent out the call for the Poster Symposium early in the year, to encourage submission of research papers from UNIV 200 and HONR 200. Students then designed an image of the proper dimensions, and could have the poster printed by UROP, free of charge, to be featured in the Symposium. About 48 of the 150 posters on display were from these young students. The rest are from older undergraduates, often displaying work from research teams and even collaboration with other schools, including West Virginia University. The popular spit4science survey data was shared on one poster.
A new program, VCU Launch, is geared toward offering opportunities beyond even the great array offered through UROP. Faye Prichard, Director of Research Writing for the University College announced awards—judged by 16 faculty members—for between eight and ten students (including this correspondent) out of the UNIV 200 and HONR 200 groups with extraordinary benefits. The privilege of the distinction includes a certificate, display of the winning posters on campus for a year, and priority consideration for publishing in VCU’s revived research magazine, Auctus, which resumes publication in Fall 2012.
The actual event was smoothly run, and it was a delight to stand with your poster and discuss your research with interested faculty, students and community members. The e-mail welcoming participants to the Symposium declared we must arrive in business casual dress, and it is obvious that VCU ladies—and gentlemen—have taste. Modest dress pants, sharply cut blazers, and classy flats ruled the women’s attire, and it seems many of the VCU men actually have a tie stashed somewhere in their closets!
Furthermore, VCU ladies represent! At least half—if not more—of the participants were of the fairer sex. I was impressed with the overwhelming presence of VCU women at this event—the quality of collegiette projects was exemplary, and sprawled across a diverse range of topics from “Causes and Solutions for the Immunotherapy Gap in Multiple Sclerosis Testing” to “Captivating the World with Mystery and Ambiguity: The Perpetuity of the Mona Lisa.” Never let that cute bracelet or those spiky heels fool you—behind the mascara-ed lashes of every collegiette is a powerful intellect!
For updates on the rest of Research Week and further opportunities, UROP’s blog is http://blog.vcu.edu/urop/.