The University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) is applying to renew the partnership with the National Institute of General Medical Sciences to help support the annual Undergraduate Research Symposia in the Chemical and Biological Sciences each fall from 2013 through 2017. The symposia first started in 1998 to fill a void in affirmative, affordable, and accessible opportunities to showcase undergraduate research involving chemistry and biology. Given the value of the conference presentation experience to students and the need for more venues, UMBC's symposia have set the standard for this type of conference and its planners provide information to other institutions to help them launch their own undergraduate research events. Registration to each UMBC symposium is free and the one-day venue requires no conference fees. The flexible scheduling of presentations minimizes the need for overnight housing to ensure that students, faculty and institutions with limited financial support have the opportunity to participate. The symposia are held each fall and feature an exciting kickoff by UMBC President Dr. Freeman Hrabowski, morning and afternoon juried poster sessions, morning and afternoon workshops for student participants related to scientific research, a buffet lunch with networking opportunities, an inspirational keynote address, and a student-focused awards ceremony. The event has a faithful following of faculty research mentors. Postcards, tri-fold brochures, word-of-mouth recommendations, and a user- friendly website promote the annual event. The event traditionally has significantly more presenters who are not enrolled at UMBC. Over 50 percent of its presenters are female and over 30 percent of presenters are from groups underrepresented in the sciences. Participation is supported by a comprehensive website that registers participants, allows abstract submissions, confirms symposium acceptance, and disseminates conference results and photographs. Faculty from UMBC and participating institutions ensure that each poster is reviewed by a minimum of two faculty judges. Symposia presentations typically are grouped into over 30 categories, and all participants look forward to the concluding awards ceremony when first and second place winners in each category are recognized by the group and presented with framed certificates. Abstract books are prepared for the judges and CD-ROMs of the abstracts are prepared for each participant. Event surveys collect formative participant feedback to help shape future symposia.

Public Health Relevance

UMBC Undergraduate Symposia in the Chemical and Biological Sciences - LaCourse, William Project Narrative! This R13 renewal application requests funding to continue the annual Undergraduate Research Symposia in the Chemical and Biological Sciences at the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) from 2013 to 2017. This fall event began in 1998 to provide undergraduate students with an affirmative, affordable and accessible one-day venue to present their research projects and to become inspired to pursue careers in scientific research. With a sub-theme of research at the chemistry-biology interface, this established mid-Atlantic region conference is planned to include two poster sessions, workshops, and an inspirational keynote speaker to attract a diverse population of undergraduates and encourage them toward research disciplines that bear on the national need for a workforce oriented to problems of biomedical relevance.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
Conference (R13)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZGM1-BRT-1 (CO))
Program Officer
Fabian, Miles
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
University of Maryland Balt CO Campus
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
Zip Code