Research in the Capitol 2011: FAQ

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  1. What is “Research in the Capitol”?
  2. What criteria will be used to select the undergraduate participants?
  3. How can I apply to participate?
  4. How will my work be exhibited during the event?
  5. How can I get advice about my presentation?
  6. May I invite other people to attend my presentation?
  7. Is there a “dress code” for the day?
  8. Has there ever been a system-wide undergraduate symposium for the legislature?
  9. Whom may I contact for more information?

 

  1. What is “Research in the Capitol”?On April 13, 2011, 60 students from 16 campuses of the University of North Carolina system plus the School of Science and Math traveled to Raleigh to demonstrate and discuss their research experiences with North Carolina legislators. The goals of the Wednesday morning symposium were to highlight the important role of original student research, scholarship and creative performance in undergraduate education, and the ensuing benefits to the state. The symposium is being organized by the UNC Undergraduate Research Consortium with support from the UNC General Administration.
  2. What criteria will be used to select the undergraduate participants?Each campus will select students to participate from a pool of candidates nominated by their faculty advisors. Criteria for selection will include the originality and importance of the work, and the students’ abilities to communicate the significance of their results to non-specialists. In addition we wish to showcase a broad range of disciplines. In-state students will be asked to invite legislators from their own districts to attend. Finally, both in-state and out-of-state students who have conducted research which has particular relevance to social, economic and/or cultural issues in different parts of North Carolina will be asked to invite appropriate legislators to their presentations. To sharpen our message, we will ask students to link their topics to a UNC Tomorrow theme (global readiness, access to higher education, improving public education, economic transformation, health, and the environment), although such a link is not a requirement for selection.
  3. How can I apply to participate?Interested undergraduate students should confer with their faculty advisors and submit the following information to the Office for Undergraduate Research by 4:00 p.m. on Friday, March 4, 2011:
    1. Information sheet and Abstract. Please submit this application by email to our@unc.edu with RIC 2011 in the subject line. Please write your abstract with non-specialists in mind, using wording that is easily understood. To help you with this, please review advice for writing abstracts, and note especially the pair of abstracts, including one that is absurdly technical and the other that was rewritten for clarity, at the end of that page. PLEASE MAKE SURE THAT BOTH YOUR TITLE AND YOUR ABSTRACT ARE EASILY UNDERSTOOD.
    2. Letter of nomination from the faculty advisor that evaluates the originality and importance of the student’s scholarship and also the student’s communication skills. This letter should be sent by email to our@unc.edu with RIC 2011 in the subject line, or delivered to the office.

    Applications will be reviewed by the RIC 2011 steering committee and students will be notified by Monday, March 14, 2011. Selected students will be asked to come to 220 Graham Memorial before Wednesday March 16 so that we can photograph you for the abstract sheet.

  4. How will my work be exhibited during the event?We will use a poster/demonstration format. A 3 ft. (width or height) X 4 ft. (height or width) space on a posterboard and pushpins will be provided for your use. We encourage you to incorporate hands-on demonstrations in your presentations where appropriate. You will have the opportunity to view the work of other students during the symposium, in addition to meeting your legislators and/or members of the House and Senate Higher Education Committees.
  5. How can I get advice about my presentation?Both you and your faculty advisor may appreciate advice from the Washington NASA Space Grant Consortium, who wrote a helpful guide providing general advice on poster presentations entitled The Basics of Poster Design. You will be asked to meet with members of the steering committee at a time to be arranged to discuss your plans and any special equipment needs that you have. You will also be asked to do a “dry run” of your presentation to receive advice from faculty who meet regularly with legislators at a time to be arranged.
  6. May I invite other people to attend my presentation?We encourage you to invite your faculty advisor and postdoctoral or graduate student collaborators to attend the Raleigh symposium. We will assist you in inviting relevant legislators to your presentation.
  7. Is there a “dress code” for the day?Legislators wear business clothes, so we suggest that you dress formally but also comfortably.
  8. Has there ever been a system-wide undergraduate symposium for the legislature?In April 2007, 2005 and 2003, similar symposia were held that involved 15 UNC system schools. Those symposia built upon a smaller event involving 4 UNC system schools that was organized by the UNC-Chapel Hill Office for Undergraduate Research and held in April, 2001. You may also wish to read a description of this original multi-campus symposium for a state legislature.
  9. Whom may I contact for more information?Please call Monica Richard, Program Administrator for the Office for Undergraduate Research at UNC-CH (919-843-7763) if you have questions.