The UCI Undergraduate Research Symposium, sponsored by the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) gives student researchers the opportunity to professionally present their findings and celebrate with their peers and community members.  This year’s Symposium showcased 317 oral presentations and 454 poster presentations from all disciplines.  The process energizes the students’ further who are now equipped with the knowledge and skills to pursue their passions.

The 2017 Symposium took place on Saturday, May 20 in the UCI Student Center.

This stimulating day-long event is always exciting and educational. Oral and poster presentations and performances allow undergraduates from all disciplines to present their research, address questions, and engage in spirited discussion with other students, faculty, staff, and members of the UCI community.

This year’s theme, “Undergraduate Research: Excellence through Integrity,” speaks to the collective approach of faculty-mentored undergraduate research at UCI. The keynote speaker was Dr. Bruce J. Tromberg, Professor of Surgery and Biomedical Engineering, and Director of the Beckman Laser Institute. The event also featured Provost Enrique J. Lavernia, who gave the official welcome to participants and guests.

“We congratulate the students for their accomplishments and express our gratitude to the faculty mentors for all their efforts,” said Said Shokair, Director of UROP.  “I am very proud of the dynamic and growing undergraduate research culture at UCI.  This inclusive engagement at all levels energizes us further to propel UCI into a brilliant future.”

Excellence in undergraduate research performance and mentoring is recognized with the presentation of the Chancellor’s Awards for Excellence in [Fostering] Undergraduate Research given to one faculty and one student from each school.  The following is the list of this year’s recipients:

School/Department Faculty Recipient Student Recipient
Loretta Livingston

Desiree Truc Nguyen


Biological Sciences
Donovan P. German

Mawaheb Hassan Kassir


Michael McCarthy
Nicholas James Cecchi

Mechanical Engineering

Allison Joyce Perlman

Nichole Amy G. Grimes




Computer Science

Wayne B. Hayes

Zuozhi Wang

Computer Science

Theodorus Grada van Erp

Kyle Phillip Kisor

Biological Sciences

Physical Sciences
Filipp Ulrich Furche

Jason Miao Yu


Social Ecology
John R. Hipp

Jennifer Quinto Sango

Psychology and Social Behavior

Social Sciences
Belinda Campos

Melody Sarah Dehghan

Quantitative Economics

UROP has also made a concerted effort to engage UROP Alumni by hosting a UROP Alumni Hospitality Suite during the Symposium.  To further facilitate the interaction between Alumni and student presenters, Alumni were given a set of UROP chips that they could use to reward presenters who truly impressed them with the quality of their research or how they articulate their explanations or responses to questions.  After the Symposium, student presenters were able to redeem their chips for prizes.

The reaction of the Symposium participants was overwhelmingly positive and included such comments as:

“I was amazed by the scope and magnitude of this meeting. You could feel the excitement in the air with the jam packed convention center, students and their diverse research topics, and people hustling about talking science and research. Kudos to Said and his team for the work they put into this important event. I first attended one when I was an undergraduate researcher here in 1998. Now I’m back as a mentor for one of my students and it’s amazing to see how much the program has grown and expanded. Great job!” – Faculty Mentor

“It was an enlivening experience. I was a student presenter and before the day, I was extremely nervous. I had practiced for many hours and spent weeks preparing the poster. I was surprised at how comfortable I was in the atmosphere and it made me proud to be able to present my years’ worth of work. I ended up presenting to a professor who ended up wanting to collaborate with my lab. I thoroughly enjoyed the overall experience as it allowed me to get out of my comfort zone. I’d like to thank UROP for providing me with the opportunity to attend and present my work, for the funding, and for the support of my undergrad research experience.” – Student Presenter

“I was completely impressed with the size and scope of this Symposium—it’s a huge endeavor! Excellent presentations and posters. Gracious and helpful volunteers. Keynote speaker was engaging. Check-in process was well-organized. Excellent event Overall.” – Parent

We look forward to your participation at next year’s Symposium to be held on Saturday, May 19, 2018.  More information is available at: