The mission of the Utah Conference on Undergraduate Research (UCUR) is to promote undergraduate research, scholarship, and creative activity, done with the mentorship of a faculty member or others, through an annual conference. Undergraduate research has been demonstrated as one of the truly high-impact educational practices. Student presentations are welcome in all fields and disciplines from the creative and performing arts to biomedical, engineering, and social science research.
What is Undergraduate Research?
According to the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR), undergraduate research is an inquiry or investigation conducted by an undergraduate student that makes an original intellectual or creative contribution to the discipline.
A Brief History of UCUR
The idea for a national conference open to all undergraduates was conceived and first implemented at the University of North Carolina at Asheville (UNCA) in 1987. The first National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR) drew more than 400 participants from schools across the country. In existence for over twenty years, the conference regularly hosts more than 2,000 students and their faculty mentors to present their research through posters, oral presentations, visual arts and performances. Joyce Kinkead (Utah State University) and John Francis (University of Utah) proposed to the Utah System of Higher Education in 2005 a Utah Undergraduate Research Day, which was approved. Taking NCUR as inspiration, a group of faculty and administrators responsible for undergraduate research at all institutions in Utah—public and private—came together in 2006 to organize a similar conference but on a state level.
The first annual Utah Conference on Undergraduate Research (UCUR) was chaired by Joyce Kinkead, Utah State University; Steve Roens, and Jill Baeder, University of Utah, and hosted at the University of Utah’s Olpin Union Building on Friday, February 2, 2007. Almost 300 undergraduate student researchers from almost every institution of higher education in the state of Utah shared their research in the form of posters and oral presentations. Conference attendees were welcomed by former U.S. Senator Jake Garn, Governor Jon M. Huntsman, Jr., and University of Utah President Michael K. Young. A keynote address was delivered by highly esteemed researcher and undergraduate research mentor Noelle Cockett, vice president for Extension and dean of the College of Agriculture at Utah State University.
Since its founding, UCUR serves as the culminating event of Undergraduate Research & Creative Achievement Week as designated by the Governor of Utah.
History of UCUR Sites and Conference Chairs
2007 - University of Utah
Chairs: Joyce Kinkead (USU), Steve Roens (UofU), and Jill Baeder (UofU)
2008 - Utah Valley University
Chairs: Lori Palmer (UVU) and Nancy Davis (BYU)
2009 - Westminster College
Chairs: Tim Dolan and Carolyn Connel
2010 - Southern Utah University
Chairs: Lynn White
2011 - Weber State University
Chairs: John Cavitt, Lauren Fowler, Amy Douangdara, and Jennifer Wozab
2012 - Weber State University
NCUR hosted at Weber State University
2013 - Utah State University
Chairs: Scott Bates
2014 - Brigham Young University
Chairs: Chadra Poulson, Gene Larson, Josh Leavitt
2015 - Dixie State University
Chairs: Stephen Armstrong, Christine Arlotti
2016 - University of Utah
Chairs: Rachel Hayes-Harb and Stephanie Shiver
2017 - Utah Valley University
2018 - Southern Utah University
2019 – Weber State University
Chairs: John Cavitt and Erin Bryner Kendall
2020 – Utah State University
Chairs: Alexa Sand and Athena Dupont
2021 – Brigham Young University
Chairs: Larry Howell and Lynn Patten
2022 – Dixie State University
Chair: Rico Del Sesto
2023 - University of Utah
Chairs: Annie Fukushima and Cindy Greaves