Graduate-only symposium alongside NCUR in 2015

By Katie Dunn, Staff Writer

Eastern’s annual Graduate Research and Creative Works Symposium, an event held for students to present their research and creative works, will have a different setup compared to previous years. For starters, it is now for only graduate students to enter.

“I cannot emphasize enough that this is for graduate students only,” said Lindsey Porter, Eastern’s symposium coordinator.

Porter said some professors were calling and asking about when their undergraduate students could sign up, unaware that the National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR) would be at Eastern this year.

NCUR is similar to Eastern’s symposium, but on a national scale. According to NCUR, students from colleges all over the United States are coming to present.

“People didn’t put enough emphasis on the fact that NCUR is here,” said Porter. “By now, everyone across campus should be aware.”

The symposium is working in conjunction with NCUR, according to the symposium website. Because NCUR will be at Eastern, the symposium will have a new time and location.

Porter said because NCUR starts on April 16, the symposium was moved forward so they would coincide. Abstracts will be accepted between Feb. 6 and March 13.

In the past, the symposium was a two-day event with presentations divided between Hargreaves Hall and Senior Hall, said Porter. NCUR will be housed in those halls this year, so the symposium will be relocated to Monroe Hall and will only be one day.

Jeffery Johnson, assistant coordinator for the symposium, said Eastern’s symposium has had constant growth over the last 10 years.

“We have a pretty active turnout from our student body,” said Johnson.

Last year, 4.4 percent of the total student population was represented at Eastern’s 2014 symposium , while only 3.8 percent of University of Washington’s student population was represented at their undergraduate symposium, said Porter.

“Last year, there were 68 graduate submissions,” said Porter. “I’m guessing [this year] it’s going to be one-fifth the size the previous year.”

Porter is a graduate student and is currently studying anthropology with a set track in history. She said she heard about the position of symposium coordinator from one of her anthropology professors and applied because she thought it would help pay for graduate school.

Porter said prior coordinating experience helps, which she has had since she was eight.
Coordinating skills are important for the job because she heads the symposium committee, which is made up of Eastern faculty members.

The symposium committee is doing some aspects of the symposium the same as always.

Porter said the committee chose T-shirt designs and the symposium motto, “Learning is not a spectator’s sport.”

Another decision the committee made was to not pass out fliers advertising the symposium, said Porter. Instead, to save paper, it is sending out emails and posting fliers in specific halls.

Johnson said presenters and their professors will get tote bags and T-shirts like previous years.

Even with NCUR taking place simultaneously as the symposium, Johnson said there are high hopes for the outcome.

“I think it’s important for the school to keep it going,” said Johnson. “It’s good for young professionals going out into the community.”