NCUR to replace 2015 undergraduate symposium

NCUR to replace 2015 undergraduate symposium

By Aaron Bocook, News Writer


When she participated in EWU’s Student Research and Creative Works Symposium in 2011, Lindsey Porter had no idea, in just a few years time, she would be coordinating Eastern’s largest campus-wide academic event.

In 2015, Porter will help coordinate the National Conference on Undergraduate Research , or NCUR, which will be hosted by Eastern Washington University.

As a graduate student in public history and archeology, Porter knows all about the research aspects of conferences, but said it was the unique combination of research with creative works that got her interested in helping out in EWU’s 2014 symposium.

“I was really passionate about that,” Porter said. “I think it’s great that we have this opportunity, so when I was told that they were looking for a new coordinator [for Eastern’s symposium], someone who was going to be in a graduate program, I jumped on board.”

With over 600 presenters this year compared to just fewer than 500 in 2013, the 2014 symposium is Eastern’s biggest yet. With over 3,000 attendees expected for NCUR in 2015, Porter said there is a lot of planning that needs to be done by students from Eastern, especially undergraduates.

In 2015, the undergraduate portion of Eastern’s symposium will be temporarily replaced by NCUR.

“The huge thing next year is that there is no [undergraduate] symposium at all,” Porter said.  “We are replacing it; since NCUR is coming, our undergraduate students are going to attend that instead.”

Jeff Johnson and Nambi Gamet, seniors in EWU’s anthropology program, not only presented at EWU’s symposium, but also attended NCUR 2014, April 3-5 in Lexington, Kentucky.

Johnson said presenting at conferences and symposiums is a great way to be exposed to research from many different fields, as well as creative works. He said that his presentations have been an integral part of his growth as a student and are a good way to actively participate in education.

“It’s important for an [undergraduate] to present their research and get exposed,” Johnson said. “This will be my third conference this year.”

Gamet said the symposium, and larger events like NCUR, have helped him to become more competitive in his field.

“Symposium is a way to show the Eastern student body, I can take something and contribute new research to it,” Gamet said. “It’s a good opportunity.”

He said his experience at NCUR was a chance to meet a lot of people he could not have met otherwise and has helped him to start building a network for his career after graduation.

Porter said though NCUR is exciting, the requirements are more rigorous. At EWU’s symposium, anybody who submits an abstract gets accepted. But for NCUR, students have to submit their abstracts four months sooner, and have to be approved. Though NCUR is replacing the undergraduate symposium, Porter said there will still be a graduate symposium in 2015 that will run in combination with NCUR.

Coordinating the 2014 symposium while looking ahead to NCUR in 2015 has been a challenge, Porter said, but the work has been rewarding. From planning lodging for the 3,000 expected attendees to figuring out abstract deadlines, Porter has had an active hand in the effort.

Johnson hopes to be starting graduate school at Eastern next fall. He said after attending NCUR 2014 and presenting at the EWU symposium, he cannot wait to see what NCUR will be like at Eastern in 2015.

Although he will not be around next year, Gamet said he is also excited for Eastern to host NCUR and was happy he had the chance to attend the conference in Kentucky. He said he was just as happy with his experience at EWU’s symposium

“A lot of amazing things come out of Eastern, and the symposium is just one of the outlets that we have,” Gamet said. “Even though we’re a small community, we can still make a lot of noise.”