UNCG Research

Honors symposium features all undergrad research

Learn about the 2014 event and submit for 2015


Posted on Friday, November 7th, 2014 by UNCG Research.
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UNCG’s Lloyd International Honors College is searching for undergraduate student submissions for next year’s annual Honors Symposium. Any undergraduate can submit an original paper, whether written for a class or created independently. Students whose papers are accepted will present their work in a conference setting before an audience of all disciplines. Winners of the symposium, which takes place this spring, will receive awards of up to $250.

The Honors Symposium began more than a decade ago as a way for undergraduates to experience presenting research in a conference setting, something many aren’t exposed to until they graduate or enter the professional world. It still serves that important purpose, but has also grown into a showcase of UNCG’s outstanding student scholarship and an indispensable exchange of ideas.

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Jessica Straehle, Ananya Huria, and Thomas Link pose together at the 2014 Honors Symposium.

Those searching for inspiration or encouragement should look no further than last year’s Honors Symposium. The 2014 event gathered faculty and students alike to hear 41 in-depth presentations on everything from Roman military practices in the 2nd century to infectious disease in Bangladesh to Chilean Hip-hop.

“My favorite part of the symposium was hearing my fellow students’ presentations,” said senior Jessica Straehle.  “I had spent so much time focused on my work, it was a welcome change to hear what topics other students had researched.”

“I think its important for them to be exposed to what their fellow students are doing,” agreed Symposium chair Dr. Angela Bolte. She serves as a linchpin for the conference, reading all the submitted papers and choosing those presented on the big day. “That is the one thing that I hear students talk about enjoying, really being able to actually listen to their friend who maybe lives down the hall who was presenting in this particular topic.”

For the students, presenting can be both nerve-wracking and incredibly rewarding. “I was quite nervous on the day of the symposium because I wanted to present both of my papers to the best of my ability,” said Straehle, who ended up a winner in the category of Sciences and Professional Fields. “I really wanted to make a good impression.” Her research investigated the role of non-profit organizations in immigrant communities, a topic particularly relevant in the Greensboro area.

In contrast, Eliana Mundula felt cool as a cucumber as she presented her research. Her project “The Production of Identity in the Roman Military, 2nd-3rd C A.D.” went on to win the third place prize in Humanities and the Arts. “The day of the symposium I felt great! I love presenting and I especially loved presenting this paper because so many of my personal interests were represented,” she said.

For senior Naomi Bate, the third time was the charm. “The first time I entered was sophomore year,” she said. “So this was my third symposium presentation.” The practice obviously paid off, as she won the top prize in the Humanities and the Arts category for her research, “Memory and Resistance in Present-Day Chilean Hip-Hop.”

One of the hardest aspects for many of the presenters was making their specialized research accessible to their audience and the panel of judges. “The most challenging part was cutting parts out and still keeping it interesting,” explained Mundula. “I practiced a few times with friends to make sure that my paper was interesting – or at least accessible – to people who had never done work in art history or Classical studies.”

Ultimately this range in topics, made approachable and understandable by the students, is what truly makes the Honors Symposium event stand out.

“I think that is the most fun thing about it,” said Dr. Bolte. “To be able to see everything the students are working on across the campus, not only Honors students, but all the students at the university that are interested in being a part of the symposium.”

If you know an undergraduate student who may be interested in submitting their own work for the 2015 Honors Symposium, encourage them to submit their paper for consideration electronically to Dr. Angela Bolte at akbolte@uncg.edu by Friday, December 19, at 5:00 p.m. For more information about the symposium, students and faculty may also contact Dr. Bolte at the Lloyd International Honors College at 336.334.4734.


Article author Mary McLean is a Media and Communication Intern with the UNCG Office of Research and Economic Development. She researches and writes articles about the on and off campus impacts of UNCG research. Mary is a junior at UNCG, majoring in English and minoring in Media Studies. Her interest in journalism and communication led her to her current position.