On Nov. 2, Rice University will once again host the Gulf Coast Undergraduate Research Symposium (GCURS). Open to undergraduate researchers worldwide, the symposium welcomes over 300 students annually from a wide range of science and engineering fields. Interested students can apply at gcurs.rice.edu.
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.”
“Once I found out that it was an opportunity for an oral presentation, I was gung-ho and very excited to be able to do something that not many undergraduates can," said Taylor Baum of Penn State, who participated in 2017 and 2018. "An oral presentation is very different from poster session. All eyes are on you. You have to really convey to an audience something that they’ve never heard about before and you get extended period of time to do that. It challenges the student to be able to convey their information in a concise manner that also engages an audience. It’s high-pressure, exciting, and it takes a lot of preparation beforehand.”
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 300 students and faculty.
“GCURS for me was an amazing experience because I was able to see different perspectives," said Ingrid Anaya Morales of ITESEM. "Everyone was engaged with the research, sharing ideas and perspectives.”
The application deadline for GCURS 2019 is Oct. 7. Limited travel awards are available, and students can apply or register at gcurs.rice.edu. Advisers are welcome and are encouraged to attend.