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Undergraduate Research Day at the Capitol

It is increasingly important that the WV Higher Education community work to ensure that those in State government, who provide substantial funding for higher education, have a clear understanding of the programs they fund and why these programs are important. Scholarly activities (undergraduate research and creative endeavors) must be among those programs that members of the West Virginia State Legislature understand if it is to continue to enjoy support.

For many disciplines, scholarly activities are an essential component of the university educational experience. Nothing more effectively demonstrates the value of these activities than the words and stories of the student participants themselves. Friday, February 16, 2018 from 8:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. the Fifteenth Annual Undergraduate Research Day at the Capitol (URDC) will take place in the West Virginia State Capitol Rotunda. This event features posters on research/creative endeavors from student attendees of colleges and universities around the state and will help members of the WV State Legislature and Executive Branch understand the importance of undergraduate scholarly activities by providing members with an opportunity to speak directly with the students whom these programs impact. Directly after the poster session, students and their faculty mentors are invited to lunch at the nearby Culture Center (1900 Kanawha Boulevard East, Charleston, WV 25305; see website). Attendees can expect the luncheon event to end before 2:00 p.m.

Please click here to access the 2018 URDC Abstract Booklet, Legislator handout, recruiter handout (list of posters by field), and institutional handout (list of posters by institution).

(Info from past URDC Events: 2017 URDC Abstract Booklet).

Undergraduate Research Day at the Capitol is sponsored by West Virginia UniversityWest Virginia State University, Marshall University, and the WV Higher Education Policy Commission.


This is a unique opportunity that we believe will have a positive impact on the future of State funding for undergraduate education. We encourage undergraduates from both public and private institutions to submit abstracts. We anticipate selecting 80-100 students for participation in the poster session.

The Undergraduate Research Day at the Capitol Steering Committee is calling for students to submit abstracts of their research/creative endeavors that represent any of the following disciplines/fields, though presenters are not limited by the disciplines below:

  • African Studies, Anthropology, Astronomy
  • Biochemistry, Biology, Business
  • Chemistry, Communications, Computer Science, Creative Arts, Criminal Justice
  • Economics, Engineering, English
  • Foreign Language, Forensic Science
  • Geography, Geology, Geosciences
  • History
  • International Studies
  • Mathematics
  • Native American Studies
  • Philosophy, Physics, Political Science, Psychology
  • Physical Activity and Sports Sciences
  • Religious Studies
  • Sociology/Social Work
  • Women's Studies
  • Other Disciplines (not mentioned above)

Explain the research or creative work that was performed in plain language. The abstract title is limited to 14 words and the abstract itself to 250 words (150-250 words). The abstract title should be grammatically correct, accurate, and convey maximum information. In addition, use title words that can be comprehended by the general public. Within the abstract, discuss the importance of the research or creative work to the discipline and to society (i.e., What larger problem were you trying to solve or understand?). Please keep in mind that your abstract is intended for individuals who will not be experts in your field. It is not a professional meeting abstract. Students should work with their faculty research mentors in fashioning abstracts (i.e., obtain mentor feedback and approval before submission). 

For those students who intend to use a poster previously presented at a disciplinary meeting, the abstract submitted for this event may be different from the one appearing on your poster.

Some capability exists for including graphics in the abstract. In this case, submit a standard text abstract on the application form and, in a separate email to, send your abstract with the graphics properly located on the page. This will be handled on a case-by-case basis.

CLICK ON THIS LINK TO SUBMIT YOUR ABSTRACT. (The abstract submission process for the 2018 URDC Event is now open!)

The deadline for submission is midnight on Wednesday, November 15, 2017. After this date, you will no longer be able to access the submission form. In the past, late submissions were considered, however this year's submission deadline will be strictly enforced. Students selected for participation will be notified in early January 2018.

To summarize:

  • Submission Deadline: midnight on Wednesday, November 15, 2017
  • Notification Date: early January 2018
  • Event date: Friday, February 16, 2018


How do I submit an abstract?
Abstract submissions will only be accepted by using our online submission form - Click here to link to the abstract submission page. Students should complete the submission form in its entirety, making sure to list their mentor's proper email in the appropriate field. Automated messages will be sent to students' mentors requesting approval. Each mentor must then submit a quick email approving the abstract to the URDC staff to confirm. Abstracts without these approvals will not be considered. Please direct approval emails to and clearly mark that you are doing so in the subject line.

How will my project be selected?
Selection will depend on the quality of the project, the readability of the abstract, the geographical distribution of the participants, the diversity of the projects chosen and disciplines represented, and the diversity of the participating students’ backgrounds.

Must I be a major in a subject to present on that topic?
No. Posters are evaluated on appropriateness of the subject matter. Thus, some agriculture projects would be appropriate for the Biology area and educational psychology could be presented under Psychology, even if the department were housed in a College of Education. If you have questions as to whether or not your research fits into one of the available categories please write to

How many students can be attached to my poster?
A maximum of three students may attend with each poster.

May a student be a presenter on more than one poster?

No. Students may co-author more than one poster, but may be a presenter on only one. (i.e., Your name can appear on multiple posters, but you may only be listed in the abstract booklet for one.) If your name is entered more than once on the submissions website, the URDC steering committee may remove your name from all but one submission, and may do so without consulting you.

How many coauthors are allowed on the poster?
You may have as many coauthors on the poster as you deem appropriate. The limit is on the number of students that may be presenters at the capitol.

Is there any reimbursement for travel expenses?
Students should consult their advisers and home institutions concerning the availability of travel support. For instance, the West Virginia University Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR) charters a bus to take WVU students to/from the Capitol Building the day of the URDC Event. WVU students will be contacted by OUR with details upon acceptance.

How do I get to the state capitol?
Please consult the map of the capitol complex.

Is it possible to include graphics in my abstract?
Yes, but it will result in a significant reduction in the number of words you are permitted to have in your abstract. The abstract booklets are printed in 12 point Times New Roman font. Each line of text is approximately 10 words in length. Thus, a one inch tall figure will result in the loss of about 60 words. Contact URDC at for specifics. Abstract graphics will be dealt with on a case by case basis.

Are special characters allowed in the abstract?
Yes. You should first apply using the standard form. Then send your abstract as a Word document, properly formatted using 12 point Times New Roman font (except for the special characters) to Superscripts and subscripts count as special characters.

I am graduating in December. Am I still eligible to present a poster?
No. In order to participate in URDC, you may not graduate before May 2018.

Is submitting posters with incomplete results permitted?
Yes, but you should be certain that the work will be completed in time. If your work is not sufficiently complete at the time of submission, you should discuss this with your mentor and how best to represent your research.

Do presenters need to be a resident of West Virginia?

No. However, in the case of two posters judged to be of equal quality, preference will be given to West Virginia residents. Only the lead presenter will be used in this evaluation criterion.

Is my university permitted to set up a display?

No. Only posters by students are permitted. University affiliation may be demonstrated by choosing your school's colors for the display colors on the poster and by placing your school's logo on the poster. Details will be provided to applicants whose posters are selected for presentation.

Attn: Undergraduate Research Day at the Capitol 
Office of Undergraduate Research
306 Student Services Center, PO Box 6212 
West Virginia University
Morgantown, WV 26506-6212 
Phone: (304) 293-9354
Fax: (304) 293-4365