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Research and Scholarship Conference

The 2021 Research and Scholarship Conference Returns - Virtually!

This year's student projects are ready to view! Explore a variety of digital content from registrant's posters, exhibits, and pre-recorded presentations. A faculty research roundtable, live graduate sessions, and academic competitions with awards for undergraduate and graduate student projects are featured in the Research and Scholarship Conference's first-ever web-based academic showcase and celebration. 



The Research & Scholarship Conference at Western Carolina University is made up of the Undergraduate Expo and the Graduate Research Symposium. This showcase academic event is hosted by The Office of the Provost, The Graduate School and Research, and the Brinson Honors College.

Undergraduate Research Exposition

Student performing research


The Undergraduate Research Exposition, part of WCU’s campus-wide Research and Scholarship Conference, provides students with the opportunity to work with faculty to present their research to an engaged audience on campus. The annual expo features over 200 student presenters working with more than 60 faculty sponsors.

Any undergraduate student engaged in scholarly inquiry, creative projects, or research is welcome to register for this event. The registration form is available on the link to the Undergraduate Exposition.


Graduate Research Symposium

Student performing research


The Graduate Research Symposium is made up of three parts, research poster presentations, oral presentations and an academic paper competition. 

Graduate students interested in registering for the Graduate Research Symposium should contact Jan Stanfield in the Graduate School for more information and how to register. 


Schedule at a Glance:

Monday, March 22nd:

  • 2021 Research and Scholarship Conference's Website Opening with a special video created by student participants.

Wednesday, March 24th: 

Thursday, March 25 - Friday 26th:

  • Thursday, March 25 at Various Times - Live Graduate Student Project Discussions via Zoom with registration. Explore topics and times.
  • Friday, March 26 at 11:30 AM - 12:00 PM - Live Graduate Research Symposium Awards Ceremony via Zoom. Register for the Ceremony

The 2021 Research & Scholarship Conference is hosting an academic award competition! Graduate and Undergraduate winners will be announced. Each winner will receive a $150 Academic Award! Students opt in during their registration!

sustainability and environment 


The 2021 Featured Presentation Competition Details: 

The 2021 Featured Presentation Competition is accepting abstracts and artist statements for consideration in three thematic areas based on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Abstracts and statements submitted for award consideration will be juried by a panel of experts. Winners will earn $150 Academic Award (subject to financial aid considerations and taxes).

In addition, we hope to bring together faculty from across the colleges to share in how WCU defines research and creative inquiry, and to highlight the contributions that students and faculty have made in their fields as it relates to the themes below.  

Graduate and Undergraduate students working on projects related to the three themes below are encouraged to register their abstract or statement for award consideration. A graduate and undergraduate student will be named a winner in each of the three themes. Students can register and opt in through the registration form for the Undergraduate Exposition or the Graduate Research Symposium

Featured Presentation Competition Themes and Relevant Project Topics: 

Do you have a project that connects with these themes? Do you want to be considered for a $150 Academic Award? If so, register and opt in for this award competition! Registration closes on February 11, 2021. Award winners will be announced March 24, 2021 on the RASC virtual website.

Theme 1: Cultural Awareness, Diversity Equity & Inclusion, and Peace & Justice 

  • Reducing Inequalities (gender, sexual orientation, race and ethnicity) 
  • Cultural Acceptance & Awareness 
  • Cultural Revitalization 
  • Quality Education & Educational Reform 
  • Reducing Violence & Criminal Justice Reform 
  • Social Justice & Ethical Existence 
  • Racial & Ethnic Inclusion 
  • Institutional Reform (e.g. accountable and inclusive institutions from local to global) 

Theme 2: Sustainable Progress and Future Innovation 

  • Clean water and air quality 
  • Affordable & Clean Energy 
  • Sustainable Economic Growth 
  • Corporate Responsibility 
  • Industry, Innovation, & Infrastructure 
  • Sustainable Cities & Communities 
  • Responsible Consumption 
  • Conservation   

Theme 3: Health & Well-being, Partnerships, and Regional Impact or Engagement 

  • Poverty 
  • Hunger 
  • Decent Work & Economic Growth 
  • Conservation of Land & Water Resources 
  • Local and Global Partnerships 
  • Western North Carolina & WCU Community Impact (e.g. projects that directly impact our community and region) 
  • Promotion of healthy lives and living for people of all ages and health conditions 
  • Access to clean and safe sanitation 

Students Register on the web pages for the Undergraduate Exposition and the Graduate Research Symposium

Important Dates:

November 23, 2020: Registration opens for the Undergraduate Exposition and Graduate Research Symposium

February 11, 2021: Registration closes

February 12 - March 5, 2021: Digital upload period for all registrants (separate instructions to be provided to registrants via catamount email)

March 22, 2021: Website opens to the community

March 24, 2021: Featured Presentation Winners and Faculty Roundtable Discussion for the Undergraduate Exposition

March 25 - 26, 2021: Live Graduate Project Discussions via Zoom and the Live Graduate Research Symposium Awards Ceremony

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