Presentation & Abstract Submission Process & Guidelines


The 2016 UCI Undergraduate Research Symposium invites undergraduate students to give formal presentations or displays of faculty-mentored research, scholarly activities, or creative endeavors in all academic areas. Presentation formats may be as diverse as the fields they represent but must be appropriate to the discipline.

Submission Process
Submission Guidelines
Abstract Guidelines
Sample Abstracts

Presentation & Abstract Submission Process (PDF)

  • Undergraduate students who wish to present their faculty-mentored research or scholarly/creative activity at the UCI Undergraduate Research Symposium must complete the Presentation & Abstract Submission Form no later than Monday, April 24, 2017. Please note that, even if you have received funds from UROP and are required to present at the Symposium you still must submit an abstract and complete the form.

  • On the form, submitters indicate the number of student presenters and the number of mentors associated with their particular project and presentation. Submitters are asked to provide information on themselves, their mentor(s), and other undergraduate presenters, if applicable. Please note that only one submission per project is needed for group presentations.

  • Next, student presenters are asked to upload/attach an electronic version of their project’s abstract.  In the heading of the abstract, please include any additional undergraduate co-authors who are not presenting at the symposium. For more details, please review the Abstract Guidelines.  They are also asked to indicate whether their faculty mentor(s) has approved the abstract.

  • Submitters are asked about the details of their presentation, including the title of the project/presentation, whether it’s an oral (this includes performances) or poster presentation, the area of research for the project, and the equipment needed for the presentation.

  • A confirmation via e-mail is automatically sent to the student presenter(s) and faculty mentor(s) once the submission has been received. This confirmation includes a code that allows them to access and update the submission. The e-mail also includes a Web site link with the code already embedded so they can easily access the submission. Changes to the abstract or other information must be completed by the deadline for submission, which is Monday, April 24, 2017.

  • The review process starts once the deadline for submission has passed.

  • Once the review is complete, student presenter(s) and faculty mentor(s) are sent another e-mail notifying them whether the submission was accepted, not accepted, or needs modification (which must be completed immediately) before a final decision can be made. Revisions should be received as quickly as possible. After a submission has been accepted, the associated presentation is scheduled, and the student presenters and their faculty mentors receive a final e-mail notifying them of the time and place of the presentation. It also allows them to send e-mail invitations to guests they wish to invite through an automated system. These e-mail invitations to guests introduce them to the symposium and provide additional information, including directions to the Symposium location. Faculty mentors can also invite their colleagues to presentations by their students. Once a presentation has been scheduled, student presenters, faculty mentors, and guests associated with that particular presentation receive a final e-mail notification about the time and place of the presentation and directions to the UCI Student Center.

Presentation Format Submission Guidelines

Poster Presentations

Poster presentations are displays on poster boards. Instead of a board, poster presenters can request a table to display objects including models, devices, or artwork. Poster boards must be 3’ or 4’ (height) by 4’ (width). These can be purchased at a stationery, office supply, or art supply store.

Presentations should be prepared on poster board in advance. If this is not possible because of difficulty transporting your poster board, a poster board can be requested for the day of the conference. Please note that we provide only 3’ (height) by 4’(width) poster boards. Pushpins, glue, and other materials needed to assemble the poster board are provided (a room for poster assembly is also available).

Presenters must be available to discuss their displays during their assigned poster session. A few specifics on the poster boards include: posters must be readable from at least three feet away, the presentation title must be at least two inches high, and beneath the title, the name(s) of the student author(s), faculty mentor(s), and home institution must be at least one inch high. UROP reserves the right to cancel a presenter’s poster session if the above requirements are not met. See the Presentation Guidelines for more specific information on how to prepare a poster presentation.

Oral Presentations

Oral presentations are 15 minutes in length with three additional minutes allotted for a question-and-answer period. This schedule is strictly enforced. See the Presentation Guidelines for more specific information on how to prepare an oral presentation.

Performing Arts/Visual Arts Presentations

Performing Arts/Visual Arts presentations are considered Oral Presentations since they are executed in the same format: up to 15 minutes for a performance with three additional minutes allotted for a question-and-answer period. Performing arts presentations may include creative activities in music, dance and theater, and visual arts presentations can be done in drawing, painting, printmaking, photography, sculpture, ceramics, mixed media, video and film. The number of abstracts accepted in the performing arts or in the visual arts may be limited by available space.

An abstract is required for presenters in the performing arts or the visual arts.  A performing arts abstract should describe the performance.  Visual arts abstracts should describe the visual art research question, methodology, and outcomes. Artwork must be of a serial nature. Abstracts may include references to online samples of the artist's work.

Participants may perform in one of the following categories:
(A) Original composition
(B) Composition in the style of a specific musical period, style, or composer
(C) Arranging
(D) Performance
(E) Lecture recital
(F) Research and/or analysis

Resources available include playback for recordings and a piano.

Participants may perform a solo and or as a small ensemble (up to four dancers) in modern dance, jazz, or ballet.

Participants may present monologues or scenes (up to five actors).

Drawing, Painting, Printmaking, Photography, Sculpture, Ceramics, and Other Applied Arts
At the Symposium, all studio artists are required to give an oral presentation, complete with a PowerPoint presentation and/or slides. Oral presentations are required to cover visual research questions, methodology and outcomes. Slides can be used to cover the historical progression of the work and ideas as well as visual connections with other artists.

Video and Film
In addition to the abstract, students must submit a videotape or film.  Video presentations must be on DVD or one-half-inch VHS tape, and film is to be 16mm only.

Abstract Guidelines (PDF)

Students must submit abstracts of their faculty-mentored research, scholarly, or creative activity. Presenters will be selected on the basis of the quality of their abstracts and other submission material, as in the arts. If you are presenting a group project, please submit a single application and abstract. All abstracts must be received by Monday, April 24, 2017. Reminder: Please note that you must submit an abstract and complete the submission form, even if you have received funding from UROP and are required to present.

Abstracts must include sufficient information for reviewers to judge the nature and significance of the topic, the adequacy of the investigative strategy, the nature of the results, and the conclusions. The abstract should summarize the substantive results of the work and not merely list topics to be discussed. Remember that abstracts will be published online.

Abstract Content

  • An abstract is a single paragraph that outlines/summarizes your presentation and your whole project.

  • It should have an intro, body and conclusion.

  • It highlights major points of the content, and answers why this work is important, what was your purpose, how you went about your project, what you learned, and what you concluded.

  • It is a well-developed paragraph and should be exact in wording.

  • It must be understandable to a wide audience.

  • Do not include any charts, tables, figures, or spreadsheets in the abstract body.

Abstract Heading Layout

  1. Title of paper (if your title includes Greek letters, scientific notation, bold, italics, or other special characters/symbols, make sure they appear correctly here in Microsoft Word)

  2. First name, middle initial, and last name of author. Please include any additional undergraduate co-authors, whether they are presenting with you or not. Please exclude the name(s) of your faculty mentor(s) since they will be listed separately.

  3. Name(s) of faculty mentor(s)

Abstract Body Format

Abstracts should follow these guidelines:

  • In Microsoft Word format

  • In 12-point Times New Roman font

  • No more than 250 words in length

  • No graphics, charts or inline citations

  • Single-spaced

Sample Abstracts (PDF)

Sample Format of Heading and Body of an Abstract

Title of Project/Presentation*
Joe M. Smith**
Mentor: Mary J. Wilson***

Abstracts must include sufficient information for reviewers to judge the nature and significance of the topic, the adequacy of the investigative strategy, the nature of the results, and the conclusions. The abstract should summarize the substantive results of the work and not merely list topics to be discussed. An abstract is an outline/brief summary of your paper and your whole project. It should have an intro, body and conclusion. It is a well-developed paragraph, should be exact in wording, and must be understandable to a wide audience. Abstracts should be no more than 250 words, formatted in Microsoft Word, and single-spaced, using size 12 Times New Roman font. It highlights major points of the content and answers why your work is important, what was your purpose, how you went about your project, what you learned, and what you concluded.

* If your title includes Greek letters, scientific notation, bold, italics, or other special characters/symbols, make sure they appear correctly here in your abstract and that you check the appropriate box in the Presentation & Abstract Submission Form.

** Include additional undergraduate co-authors, whether they are presenting or not, if applicable

*** Include additional faculty mentors, if applicable


Jenny A. DeMuth
Mentor: Dr. Marc Kotz
The definition of syncope is: a brief lapse in conscience caused by a transient cerebral hypoxia (lack of oxygen). Using the theme "brief lapse in consciousness," this piece focuses on the audience's perception and the interference in the visual reception. It explores the use of non-traditional light sources to illuminate the body and face. The illumination of the body creates a dramatic contrast of light vs. dark. The darkness becomes just as important as the light in the visual field. Development of this piece involved learning how to control the visual field with movement and having the dancers manipulate the audience's spatial perception. I learned how this process works by rehearsing in a dark studio with flashlights. The flashlights can be used to light the whole body or specific parts of the body. The images of floating body parts create a magically surreal mood. It is sometimes difficult for the audience to perceive what is real and what is an illusion, creating brief lapses with reality or consciousness. The music adds to the overall atmosphere of the piece because of its low and calming effect.

Cristina Peri Rossi: The Postmodern Transgressions of Parody and Ambiguity
Eduardo Ruiz
Mentor: Dr. Lucia Guerra-Cunningham

Uruguayan writer Cristina Peri Rossi’s first book, El libro de mis primos (The Book of My Cousins, 1969), is compared with her later novel, La nave de los locos (The Ship of Fools, 1984), to suggest how an authoritarian society can be criticized through parody and then rebuilt on the foundations of a philosophy of ambiguity, similar to Lyotard’s vision of the postmodern. Dissatisfaction with the power structures of tradition and validation of marginality are characteristics of such vision, which inscribe Peri Rossi in the postmodern current of Latin-American literature. The postmodern condition agrees with the major conclusions drawn from both works. First, tradition is viewed as a decadent state of affairs that needs to be brushed aside, for it does not respond to genuine human concerns and, in fact, has frustrated and destroyed them. Parody is the tool used to dispose of tradition. Secondly, there has to be an acceptance of the margins, of the other. This presupposes a tolerant ambiguity of inclusion that is capable of rebuilding instead of destroying, and does so by using the very materials of the other. What El Libro destroys La nave rebuilds. El Libro’s mission is to do away with the atrophied waste of patriarchal order, while La nave seeks to fill up the resulting void with one possible solution: the conciliation of opposing forces by a tolerant philosophy of inclusion.

Persistent Global Activation of the Aplysia Serotonergic System After Sensitizing Stimuli
Kristine Kolkman
Mentor: Dr. Thomas Carew

The marine mollusk Aplysia responds to noxious stimulation with a stereotyped arousal reaction that includes escape locomotion, increased heart rate and sensitization of defensive reflexes. Although previous studies have shown that serotonin (5-HT) is important for most of these behavioral responses, it is still unclear how the 5-HT system is activated in response to noxious stimuli. To address this question, I used a specific staining of the 5-HT neurons in the living central nervous system (CNS) that allowed me to (1) systematically record their electrical activity following a noxious stimulus, and (2) trace their projections using the neuronal tracer Neurobiotin. I found that in response to tail-nerve shock, a procedure known to mimic a noxious tail stimulus, the vast majority of 5-HT neurons increased their firing rate for several minutes and became more excitable. 5-HT neurons were found to project toward various peripheral targets such as the gill, heart, body wall, tail, siphon, head, and tentacles as well as to other ganglia in the CNS. This study shows that the Aplysia 5-HT system is globally and persistently activated after a noxious stimulus. Such an activation might serve to synchronize the different aspects of the arousal reaction in Aplysia.

Stereotype Threat
Stephanie Domzalski
Mentor: Dr. Geoffrey Iverson

The stereotype threat theory (Steele 1992, 1997) examines the underperformance of women in mathematical domains and minorities in academic domains and attempts to explain these trends as being due to situational anxiety. Research indicates that the performance differential between genders and ethnicities can be best understood in terms of stereotype threat activation rather than biological determinants. The anxiety a stereotyped individual feels when confronted with an academic task is compounded by a societal expectation of failure. However, not much research currently exists on the mediating effects of personal belief in the stereotype. The goal of this study was to examine whether anxiety was correlated with a stronger belief in the stereotype among college-aged participants. Individuals from stigmatized groups demonstrated a significantly greater likelihood to experience higher anxiety levels if they believed the negative stereotype and that higher anxiety level correlated with lower test scores. These results provide general support for Steele’s stereotype threat hypothesis.

Water Soluble Colorants On Porcelain
Jennifer L. Brant
Mentor: Dr. Charles Olson

In the ceramic work of Scandinavian artist Arne Ase, water-soluble materials such as titanium sulphate, cobalt chloride, tungsten oxide, molybdenum chloride, and selenium chloride are utilized as decorative elements on his porcelain forms. Such chemicals are not of common use in the ceramic arts because of the expense of the raw materials and the possible hazards of working with these chemicals. However, these colorants can create subtle yet breathtaking effects, including hues of black, blue, yellow, or pink, that blend with the surface of the clay, as if the porcelain vessel were a watercolor painting. It is his research, which I have expanded upon and integrated into my own ceramic work. Additional colorants have been tested, including iron sulphate, cobalt sulphate, and copper sulphate. A different firing atmosphere has been incorporated in the research, as well as two porcelain bodies, to expand the palette of colors that can be obtained. The most successful test results have been applied to my porcelain forms, which include a wide variety of functional objects, in order to contribute to my ongoing exploration of personal expression through the medium of clay.