Welcome to the 22nd Undergraduate Research and Scholarship Symposium, an annual event that showcases the work of our talented undergraduate scholars. The idea for the symposium was orginally conceived of by Professor of Biology, now Emerita, June Aprille back in 1999 as a way for students to showcase their research efforts in a broad-based setting. The excitement about that original symposium was quite palpable as never before had Tufts held a large public event solely dedicated to the presentation of original work of undergraduates. The first name for the symposium was the “Undergraduate Research Symposium.” However, after a few years the organizers realized that the name did not necessarily apply to all of the types of work presented by the student participants, so the word “Scholarship” was added.
Once Professor Aprille left the university, Associate Professor of Biology Harry Bernheim took over the task of being the faculty advisor for the event and has continued to do so to the present day with the exception of two years when Professor of Biology Colin Orians filled this role. From the outset a student committee has been actively involved in the planning of the URSS so it would be, to a great extent, a student led symposium. Changes have occurred over the years including the venues for the various events, the types of food served, the style of the program, how the posters were displayed, and how the public talks were moderated. Another change that occurred after a few years was to enlist the participation of staff members (e.g. Anne Moore, Ashley Wilcox, Laura Doane and others) in the administration to help organize the student committee’s efforts and to secure funding for the event so faculty members and students no longer needed to go to various deans and department chairs asking for financial help to ensure the symposium was run as well as a professional conference.
In spite of changes the symposium has through the years stayed true to its purpose of highlighting the intellectual output of Tufts undergraduates. Each year organizers have been impressed by the quality of the presentations be they a poster or a short oral talk. This year, of course, has presented special problems for the symposium due to COVID-19. However, this year’s committee has worked hard to make sure this event is as exciting and informative as possible. We hope you agree this is the case as we celebrate this wonderful annual event for the 22nd time.
Best wishes from the URSS 2020 Committee
Faizan Muhammad E2020
Sevara Nasritdinova E2022
Jonathan Rodriguez A2021
Harry Bernheim, Professor, Biology
Anne Moore – Program Specialist, Scholar Development
Ashley Wilcox -Program Assistant, Scholar Development