On Oct. 6, Rice University will host the 2018 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.
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.”
Savannah Cofer, a junior in mechanical engineering who also participated in 2017, agreed. “GCURS forces you to formulate your data and your work,” she said, “to explain it to someone who may not be directly in your field. You learn to talk about what you’ve done, what parts of it are unique and may be of interest to others.”
Started in 2013, GCURS provides an outlet for undergraduates to exchange ideas, learn about other areas of research, and gain confidence and experience in presenting their work to their peers. Participation has grown annually, and last year’s symposium welcomed more than 350 students.
“GCURS was a lot of fun,” Cofer said. “I enjoyed hearing about other students’ research, and it’s a good experience to talk about your own work.”
Krause appreciated the chance to explore Houston, the most diverse city in the United States and the fourth-largest. Houston is also home to the Texas Medical Center, the largest medical center in the world.
“Some of the other presenters and I took the train to downtown and had dinner,” he said. “We went on a campus tour, and stayed right next to the med center.” Krause, who begins graduate study in materials science at Rice this fall, said the best part of the day was meeting with faculty.
“I think I met almost every faculty member in the department that day and they really gave me an idea of the breadth of materials science, as well as the subject matter I want to study in grad school.”
The application deadline for GCURS 2018 is Sept. 12. Limited travel awards are available, and students can apply or register at gcurs.rice.edu. Advisers are welcome and are encouraged to attend.