Applications now being accepted for Undergraduate Research Symposium

A student speaking with two judges in a classroom

Students can choose to "present" completed research to a judge panel in the form of a poster or "exhibit" work that is in progress for guided feedback. 

Credit: Penn State Lehigh Valley

CENTER VALLEY, Pa. — Registration is now open for the Penn State Lehigh Valley 2024 Undergraduate Research Symposium, an annual event that gives students the opportunity to share and present research projects. This year’s event is scheduled for Friday, April 5 in room 135.

“This event allows students to present their important research efforts to the campus community — it’s really a display of academic excellence at our campus,” said Larry Musolino, assistant teaching professor, mathematics and symposium committee chair. “It’s students doing significant research under the mentorship of a faculty member — students may well continue this research work in graduate school or in their chosen field.”

This year’s event offers student researchers the opportunity to share two kinds of work:    

  • Student Presenters: Students who have completed research work or work that has made significant progress with initial findings made can submit a poster summarizing their work for judging. Posters and presentations will then be evaluated by judges for subject awards, such as STEM, art, humanities, business, behavioral and social sciences and information literacy. 
  • Student Exhibitors: Students with more preliminary work — such as a research project at the proposal stage — would fall into this category.

“[Student exhibitors'] work won’t be judged at the symposium, however by participating in the symposium, this will help students connect with a faculty mentor who might share an interest in their research topic or possibly connect with other students who share their interest to help form a research team,” Musolino said. “This would be an excellent opportunity for students to discuss their research ideas with the campus community regarding and engage with potential collaborators.”

All students participating in the research symposium as presenters are working with a faculty mentor.

“This is really a great opportunity for Lehigh Valley students to work with our faculty — typically student research might be done at the graduate or [doctoral] level, so students are fortunate to have faculty guide them through the research process at the undergraduate level,” Musolino said.

Each Commonwealth Campus hosts their own Undergraduate Research Symposium. The top presenters at each campus move on to a regional event. This year, the event will also be held at Penn State Lehigh Valley on April 20. 

“It’s really an honor for our campus to host students from other Penn State campuses for the regional symposium,” Musolino said.

Laura Cruz, research professor at Schreyer Institute for Teaching Excellence, is the keynote speaker for the local symposium on April 5. Cruz will discuss the importance of undergraduate research.  

Committee members for Penn State Lehigh Valley's symposium include Musolino; Elizabeth Flaherty, coordinator of honors programs; Jen Jarson, associate librarian; Andjela Kaur, assistant teaching professor of rehabilitation and human services; and Todd Retzlaff, associate professor of mathematics. Retzlaff is also the coordinator for the regional event.

For more information or to register, visit the Penn State Lehigh Valley Undergraduate Research Symposium website.