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Five in Five: #VirtualURW2020 - How to Get Involved

By Elizabeth Moris posted 04-17-2020 10:13 AM


In this episode, CUR interviews our Director of Membership and Volunteer Strategy and Experience, Robin Howard, on how to get involved in our upcoming Undergraduate Research Week. With many virtual events happening during this week, it’s important to know how our community can connect, learn, share, and support each other.

Q1: What is Undergraduate Research Week?

Undergraduate research week is a time to celebrate the students, mentors, faculty and institutions that engage with undergraduate research each year.  Each year we have used this week to come together as a community to share our accomplishments and best practices.  Now more than ever, we have the opportunity to come together virtually to celebrate.  This year we have some special things planned to support you and help you celebrate.  Throughout this five in five we reference materials and links, all of which can be found on the Undergraduate Research Website.

Q2: What’s one way a student can participate?

We know that many conferences and institutional celebrations have been cancelled, but you can still showcase all your hard work from this academic year.  Consider posting a virtual poster on April 23rd using the #VirtualURW2020 hashtag on either Twitter or LinkedIn.  Be sure to mention @CURinAction on Twitter or Council on Undergraduate Research on LinkedIn. Since posters are normally one larger piece of paper, we’ve created a template, which is posted on the Undergraduate Research Week website.  This template is for you to use to change your traditional poster into four slides that can be contained in a single image to be posted in a single tweet.  When you receive comments, keep in mind that social media is public and will stay on the internet forever, and make sure to acknowledge by liking or responding to any comments made on your poster.  Also, make sure to follow the #VirtualURW2020 hashtag and ask questions and make comments on other student’s research.  If you want a double-dose you can also check out when #POHGoesVirtual on Twitter for #POH2020 on April 21. 

Q3: I’m not ready to present a poster, what other options are there?

If you don’t yet have a poster or were unable to finish your research this year, it’s also a good time to reflect on your experience and make an impact post.  This is your time to make a virtual “shout-out” to the people and places that have supported and inspired you on your journey.  Gather your thoughts about your mentors, faculty members, fellow students, or even family or other community members that have supported you on your journey.  You might discuss what you have learned about yourself or your studies through undergraduate research.  What do you plan to do next?  You could do this in a written tweet, or record yourself and post a short video.  If the next step in your life is going to be looking for a job or interviewing with graduate schools, keep in mind that your interviews will likely be virtual so this is a good way to gain experience while showing your appreciation for those that have supported you along the way. More details are here

Q: What can mentors and faculty members do during Undergraduate Research Week?

First make sure you’re connecting with other faculty and administrators at your institution, and talk to your communications team on campus to make sure you have the right handle and hashtags to link back to your institution.  Once you’re all set up and connected make sure to follow the hashtags and interact with as many posters as possible.  We are aiming to make sure that each student gets some feedback, so make sure to browse through all the posts and comment or ask questions on those that peak your interest, and retweet or share those from your institution to widen the community that sees the work of your students. 

You could also consider an impact post.  You likely know about all the people on the back end that have helped you secure funding and space to do the research, as well as those that have supported you in your own shift to virtual learning. Find out more ways, here.

Q: What can institutions do to get involved?

We are excited to have you and your community engage with us during undergraduate research week.  Please consider sharing information include the website with your students, faculty, mentors and staff to spread the word.  Speak with your communications team to see what they may already be doing to celebrate undergraduate research and make sure they know about our #VirtualURW2020 hashtag.

Let us know how you are going to be celebrating.  Whether it falls during Undergraduate Research Week or happens in the coming months, make sure to submit your events and if your virtual event is open to the public don’t forget to post a link to register.   We’ll be posting these online. Check out the submissions already posted, and what and how to submit to add yours to the growing list on the URW website.

With so many ways for people to participate, we’ve put all of this information into a toolkit for virtual participation.  Remember, this toolkit along with the other materials referenced during this five in five are all available online, here.

We are extremely excited for our 10th Annual Undergraduate Research Week to kick off on Monday, April 20 and hope that you will take some time to join us on this exciting week. If you have any questions or comments, please write them below. If you are interested in volunteering to share your story or tips in a Five in Five video or blog, please contact our membership at