Undergraduate Research Conference 2005

The University of Virginia (UVa), in Charlottesville, Virginia, USA, was the location for the first Universitas 21 Undergraduate Research Conference on 6-9 April 2005. Hosted by the Vice President and Provost’s Office and the Center for Undergraduate Excellence, the conference showcased the work of thirty-two student researchers from twelve Universitas 21 universities in eight countries.

The purpose of the conference was to allow students from around the globe to present their research to a diverse audience of peers, faculty, and mentors, as well as the larger community.

The first full day of the conference featured presentations on public health and medical science. The social sciences and humanities, math, and the natural sciences formed the subjects on the second day. Students had twelve minutes each to present, after which they fielded questions from the audience. To help participants make their work understandable and engaging for an audience, each presentation was evaluated by UVa faculty for presentation skills as well as for content and organization.

The conference also offered time to socialize and to tour the historical environs of the University of Virginia and Charlottesville. While presenting research was the intent of the conference, students took away much more from the experience.

By their accounts, students appreciated the opportunity to learn about a broad range of topics and a variety of inquiry techniques. And, they especially valued making connections that might lead to life-long research, professional, and social collaborations.

Participating faculty commented that the quality of the research was exceptional and the enthusiasm of the students was astounding. In all, Universitas 21 proved to be a excellent catalyst for bringing together talented students and their high-quality research.

In February 2006, the University of Virginia published a special edition of The Oculus: Virginia Journal of Undergraduate Research devoted to the U21 student presentations.