Some of the major benefits of being the state’s only Research 1 institution are the everyday opportunities students are afforded to work closely with faculty mentors on innovative research across a wide range of disciplines. Each year, undergraduate students get to showcase their research as part of the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Conference (UROC) hosted at The University of New Mexico by the Undergraduate Research, Arts & Design Network (URAD). The event gives undergraduates the opportunity to spotlight their research, explain their ideas, and display what they have to offer in their respective fields and majors.

The year's UROC held by URAD will be held at the SUB on Friday, April 12, from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Students, faculty, and staff are encouraged to attend and check out the impressive and amazing range of student research. The schedule is posted online.

Students are urged to attend and could win a $100 gift card for the UNM Bookstore in a promotion sponsored by the Engineering Student Success Center and UROC to encourage student participation. Students can enter up to three times with one entry for each review/evaluation of each of the following: three poster presentations, three oral presentations, or eight UROC 180 presentations. No RSVP is needed, but sign up at the ESS's succESS web-app for email reminders and a calendar invite.

Undergraduate Research Opportunity Conference
Friday, April 12 · 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. · UNM SUB

Student researchers can present on any project they have conducted at UNM. Any majors can share their work and display it either as an exhibit or performance. Past presentations included research on in vitro fertilization, serial killers, water usage, substance abuse, religion, sex, chocolate, Alzheimer’s disease, and many other topics.

The goals of UROC are to:

  • Provide an opportunity for undergraduate students to present their research projects in and outside of the classroom/lab.
  • Create opportunities for undergraduate students to network with faculty, graduate students, and the greater UNM community.
  • Showcase the undergraduate research to UNM communities including donors, policymakers, local business and industries, and other stakeholders.

At UROC, students showcase the value of their research, whether it’s an art student’s project to represent pond algae in a mosaic or an engineering student’s podcast on climate change and water shortages. UROC is open to students from all departments, majors, campuses, and fields. The undergrads share their projects and research in return for feedback and experience in a safe and supportive space.

Students participating in UROC can present their research in a variety of formats: in-person 10-minute oral presentations; in-person poster presentations; research group presentations; or in-person UROC 180-second (3 minutes) research presentations.

This year, Professor Megan Jacobs’ Honors students will be in the University Art Museum in Popejoy with their presentation entitled Eco-Pulse at 11:30 a.m. This project focuses on the interconnection between humans and the natural world through artworks created in a range of materials.

Branch campus students from Taos and Gallup will also participate this year.

URAD director Tim Schroeder described the UROC 180 as an elevator pitch that challenges students to present their research in just 180 seconds. The 10-minute oral presentation allows a more in-depth review of each student’s research, and the research story lets students explain how they became interested in their research. The posters are a concise, visual representation of student research.

The closing ceremony will be held in Ballroom C in the SUB at 2:50 p.m. at which time all presenters will receive a UROC T-shirt and the winners of the UROC 180 finals and UROC Research Stories will be announced and awarded their prizes. Also, for the first time, the Undergraduate Arts Research Award will be presented.

The top three UROC 180 winners will receive scholarships: a $500 first prize, $300 second prize, and $200 third prize.

Schroeder noted that for students planning to go to graduate school, undergraduate research can make them more competitive for selective degree programs and can help them feel more confident in launching their graduate research projects. For students planning to go immediately into their profession, undergraduate research experiences will help them learn more independently and quickly in their new jobs.

UROC is sponsored by the Office of Academic Affairs, UNM Grand Challenges, UNM College of Arts & Sciences, UNM Division of Student Affairs, UNM Engineering Student Success Center, ECURE, UNM Honors College, the Ronald E. McNair Scholars Program and the Research Opportunity Program, Office of the Vice President for Research, UNM School of Engineering, University College, University Libraries, and URAD.