Undergraduate Experience Student Research Symposium

Insights Into Princeton Undergraduate Student Experiences

The McGraw Center Undergraduate Learning Program sponsors the Undergraduate Experience Student Research initiative.

The annual symposium brings together undergraduates from across the disciplines who have conducted investigations into the Princeton context and community.  Engaging students as partners and co-inquirers into their educational experience, this unique symposium provides a forum for students who have conducted research and inquiry of direct relevance to the Princeton community to present their insights and implications and engage in structured, yet informal, roundtable conversations with campus staff.

Each year dozens of Senior Theses and Junior Papers, as well as course and other projects (e.g. Keller Center Tiger Challenge, USG task forces, Prince articles), are undertaken by Princeton University undergraduates on topics directly related to the experiences of undergraduate students. Students’ inquiries are valuable in their own right, but their results have often had limited audiences and have not had the impact on the campus community which they might if they were more widely disseminated.

Undergraduate Student inquiries into student experiences possess considerable potential for enhancing institutional knowledge and increasing the responsiveness and effectiveness of the McGraw Center, other units and academic departments, the Office of the Dean of the College, and the University as a whole. For administrators, this forum affords a unique opportunity to efficiently learn from a wide variety of student inquiry which has the potential to inform our work on campus.

At the same time, the symposium supports the University’s aim of encouraging undergraduates’ inquiry by providing students with a unique opportunity to contextualize and exchange their perspectives with other student researchers, staff, and faculty in departments across campus.

If you have questions or are interested in participating in the next symposium—or know someone who might be—please contact Nic Voge at [email protected]. We are always open to new ways of sharing and discussing students’ unique insights and look forward to partnering with faculty, student groups, and others.

Symposium Format

The symposium is organized around breakout roundtable sessions which afford the opportunity for in-depth discussions among student-inquirers, faculty, and staff. The aim is to have genuine exchanges grounded in recent findings which foster a deeper mutual understanding of undergraduate student experiences.

We kick-off the symposium with a brief keynote. It is followed immediately by the first set of breakout roundtable sessions during which student-inquirers share key findings and discuss with administrators their implications for the university community. A small number of 50-minute roundtable discussions, each guided by a facilitator, occur simultaneously. At the end of the discussions, attendees will move to another table (speed-dating style) to engage in another conversation with a different group of student-researchers. After the conversations, we hold a short plenary session to sum up what we have gleaned and identify next steps. 

How To Participate

Administrators and faculty: If you are interested in attending the symposium, please check back later when our sign-up goes live. Additionally, we are requesting that if you know of students who have conducted inquiry relevant to the Princeton University context and community (broadly conceived), please direct them to this page and encourage them to explore the proceedings from prior sessions.

Students: To participate in the symposium (and so we can get back to you), please return to this page later when our sign-up is live. These small-group roundtables are a fantastic opportunity to discuss your work and increase its impact on the Princeton community. The symposium is also an excellent professional development opportunity where you can sharpen your skills by talking to a general audience about your work and also get published in the Symposium Proceedings. If you undertook your investigations as part of a team, feel free to arrange for two of the team members to present together. We’ll offer a short workshop on polishing your presentation for a roundtable format and deriving implications for an audience of administrators, if you’d like our assistance.

Please contact Nic Voge with input or questions.

Prior Proceedings

Symposium proceedings, comprised of one-page executive summaries of the implications of each student-inquirer’s findings for administrators, are distributed to participants and made available online to the entire campus community. Read the 2017 and 2019 editions.