COLSA Undergraduate Research Conference

student presenting at COLSA URC
Saturday, April 27, 2024

Any student who has conducted research relevant to the life sciences or agriculture is welcome to present at the COLSA URC. The program consists of opening remarks from university leaders, four short oral presentations, and two poster sessions. The event is open to the public and there is no cost to attend.

The conference is funded entirely by The Weeks Fund, generously given by Jack and Pat Weeks. These funds include $3,000 in cash prizes for the ten best student presentations.

Students participating in the COLSA URC are also encouraged to present their work at other URC events. The All Colleges Undergraduate Research Symposium and the Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Symposium are often of particular interest to COLSA students.

The audience for the COLSA URC is primarily COLSA students and faculty, but also contains family and friends who may lack a scientific background. Furthermore, even within the COLSA community, areas of expertise vary widely. Because we are committed to making the content of the presentations accessible to everyone, we urge presenters to focus on the broad appeal and impact of their research. This applies to both oral and poster presentations.

2024 COLSA URC Schedule of Events

Saturday, April 27, 2024

8:15 – 9:00am, Memorial Union Building, Merrimack Lounge: Breakfast, Welcome; and Keynote Address (Theatre II)

9:00 – 10:00am, Memorial Union Building, Theatre II: Oral Presentations (4)

10:10 – 11:50am, Memorial Union Building, Granite State Room: Poster Presentations

11:50am – 12:00pm:  Award Presentations by Dean Anthony Davis

Registration Notes and Requirements

student presenting at COLSA URC

You may register to present a scientific poster (all submissions are accepted), an oral presentation (only four students are selected to present; see below), or both. Shortly after you register, you will be added to the COLSA URC Canvas page, where there are further instructions and information about presenting. If you are not added to the Canvas page within two weeks of registering, please contact Leslie Curren at

Note: In an effort to better align with other UNH URC events, the COLSA URC is no longer including an abstract submission as part of the poster registration process.

If you would like to present the same work at other URC events (e.g., All Colleges Symposium, Interdisciplinary Science & Engineering Symposium), please only register once and simply select multiple events during the registration process. You may also add events to your initial registration at a later date, as long as the registration deadline has not passed. If you are presenting multiple projects with different titles, each title requires its own registration.

COLSA URC Oral Presentations:

Four students will be selected from those who have applied to give an oral presentation. To apply for an oral presentation, first select the COLSA URC Oral Presentations in your URC event registration (note: you may also select the Poster Presentations; this does not affect your likelihood of being selected for an oral presentation). Then, after we have processed your registration and added you to the COLSA URC Canvas course, you will go into the Canvas course to submit both a scientific abstract (maximum 250 words) and a lay summary (100-150 words), the latter of which should be readable to anyone with an 8th grade reading level. When evaluating candidates for oral presentations, the COLSA URC Committee will use the lay summaries in conjunction with the scientific abstracts to ensure presenters can communicate effectively to a broad audience.

Presenting With Other Students:

Science is collaborative, so some of you may want to co-present your work with other students. There is no limit to the number of co-presenters for a poster, but the number of co-presenters for oral presentations is limited to two. If you are registering as a group, each member should first create a general registration profile. Then only one person should register the presentation, adding the other co-authors to that registration.

UNH's First Undergraduate Research Conference

In 1991, COLSA faculty recognized that an increasing number of undergraduate students were conducting research in faculty labs. Donna Brown, founding director of the Hamel Center for Undergraduate Research, and COLSA faculty member Wayne Fagerberg decided that students should have the experience of a professional scientific conference where they could showcase research in collaboration with faculty mentors. COLSA is pleased that what was initially a science-based research conference has evolved into a university-wide event consisting of many individual conferences celebrating undergraduate research.

David Daggett, a presenter from the first conference in 1991, said, “I’ve just finished my second post-doctorate here at UC Berkeley studying zebrafish. It was my experience at the COLSA Undergraduate Research Conference that paved the way for me to pursue a career in research.”

You can view materials from previous COLSA Undergraduate Research Conferences on the URC Archives page.

For questions about the COLSA URC, please contact one of the Committee Co-Chairs, Pam Wildes ( or Leslie Curren (