The University of West Georgia recently hosted the 2020 Georgia Undergraduate Research Conference (GURC) virtually, offering students from across the state the opportunity to showcase their work.
Kate Theobald, president of the Georgia Undergraduate Research Collective, said it was important to not only hold the event as planned but to ensure the virtual version would be just as rewarding for students.
“Virtually, we did our best to mimic what the process would be,” said Theobald. “This is where students get to showcase what they’ve been working on for an entire semester.”
As part of the event, students were told to send in abstracts for research they conducted with faculty mentors. The abstracts were then examined by two state faculty reviewers. Once their work was accepted, students were asked to prepare a presentation on their research. All fields of study were considered.
Students presented recorded videos of poster presentations and conducted oral panel presentations through video conferencing.
“Giving undergraduates the opportunity to present their research is so important, so I’m really glad we were still able to do that,” said Theobald.
Since many schools, UWG included, canceled their campus's various spring conferences, students who graduated in spring or summer 2020 were also allowed to submit their work as long as it was completed while they were undergraduates.
Because of the advantages of a virtual setting, students from all over the country were able engage in the event.
Theobald said she was pleased with the outcomes of the conference and now knows her team at UWG can successfully host it in most any environment.
“If we have to go virtual again, we can do it, and we can do it well,” Theobald said. “But if we are in-person, we know we can do that really well, too.”