On Oct. 31, Rice University will once again host the Gulf Coast Undergraduate Research Symposium (GCURS). Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year's symposium will be held virtually. Open to undergraduate researchers worldwide, the symposium welcomes over 300 students annually from a wide range of science and engineering fields.
Accepted students are invited to give a 10-12 minute talk on their research, and receive mentoring from faculty and graduate students. Joseph Krause, a recent graduate of Virginia Tech, participated in 2017 and called the event “life-changing.”
“I had an awesome experience,” Krause said, “and the mentoring I received from faculty was incredible. The faculty took time after each talk to give constructive feedback. As a researcher in general, it’s important to be able to do great work but conveying it well is the most important thing, and they really helped us with that.”
Sofia Vargas-Hernandez, a student from the Universidad de Costa Rica, participated in 2019 and enjoyed the experience. "I was able to talk with faculty members, and even though I was nervous before presenting, it was a great experience and I received positive and valuable feedback," she said. "Submit your application. GCURS is a great experience!"
Started in 2009, GCURS seeks to provide an outlet for undergraduate students to exchange ideas, learn about different areas of research, and gain confidence and experience in presenting their own work to a group of their peers. Since the initial event the symposium has grown exponentially each year, and last year welcomed over 350 students.
Krause, who will began graduate study in materials science at Rice in 2018, said the best part of the day for him was meeting and interacting with faculty on a personal level.
“I think I met almost every faculty member in the department that day and they really gave me an idea of the breadth of materials science, as well as the subject matter I want to study in grad school.”