Rice hosts undergraduate research symposium, welcomes participants back to campus

Rice welcomed scholars from 19 countries and 33 states

The 2021 Chemistry GCURS participants

On Oct. 16, the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies hosted the 13th annual Gulf Coast Undergraduate Research Symposium (GCURS) on the Rice University campus. Held annually, the long-running and prestigious conference hosts undergraduates from all over the world and provides coaching and mentoring on students’ scientific presentations and their ability to succinctly explain their research projects.(Watch a video about GCURS here.)

“We were thrilled to be able to safely hold this event in a mostly in-person format,” said Seiicihi Matsuda, Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (GPS). “This year, we hosted approximately 220 scholars on campus, and another 30 joined us virtually. We welcomed students from 19 countries as well as 33 states and Puerto Rico. We enjoyed superb presentations from young scholars who are the future of science and engineering.”

The speakers included a number of people who have already earned national and international recognition: 28 Goldwater Scholars, six Fulbright Grantees, a NOAA Hollings Scholar, and a DAAD RISE Scholar. 

GCURS is hosted in partnership with the departments and programs of: Applied Physics; BioSciences; Chemistry; Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering; Civil & Environmental Engineering; Computational & Applied Mathematics; Electrical & Computer Engineering; Mathematics; Mechanical Engineering; Materials Science and Nanoengineering; Physics & Astronomy; and Systems, Synthetic & Physical Biology. Students showcase their research via a 10-12 minute presentation to their peers and Rice faculty and graduate student mentors. They receive coaching on their presentations, mentoring on the graduate school application process, and the chance to explore the Houston area and the Rice campus.

“What I liked most about GCURS was knowing that different students from different universities, cities, and countries, love science,” said Daniela Guevara, GCURS participant from Ecuador. “It's been an inspirational event to know that everyone has the desire, the experience, and the knowledge to continue working for others through science,” she added.

“Our faculty, staff and current students go above and beyond in hosting our guests on campus, providing mentoring and feedback on their presentations, and generally ensuring that all feel welcome and have a great time,” said Jennifer Hunter, Admissions and Visibility Strategy Manager in the GPS office. “Many of our student organizations, such as LAGSA (the Latin American Graduate Student Association), our Fulbright Scholars, and our departmental GSAs plan events and activities during the symposium to showcase all that Rice and Houston have to offer. It’s a great experience for our visitors, and a way for us to show what Rice is all about - community, service and care for others.”

“We were thrilled to be able to host such exceptionally talented students, and we look forward to welcoming them back to GCURS next year,” said Hunter.