Friday, April 1, 2016 EMU Student Center

Celebrating the exceptional academic work of Eastern Michigan University undergraduate students, the Undergraduate Symposium showcases student research and creative projects. Presentations, completed with faculty mentors, represent all academic disciplines.


The 2016 Program can be viewed under Features below.

The 2016 program guide is also available online here or can be accessed on a smart device through Guidebook. Don't have Guidebook? Get it here.



A one-day program to recognize and celebrate the exceptional academic work of EMU undergraduate students. Hosted by the College of Arts & Sciences, the previous Symposium involved 488 student presenters supported by 187 faculty mentors.

A collection of research or creative projects that may be:

  • An outstanding research paper, independent study, lab research project, performance, design-based project, or honors thesis.
  • Work may be by single or multiple authors (no more than four authors per presentation).
  • Open to undergraduate students from all colleges and disciplines of the University who have been nominated by a faculty sponsor and recommended by the respective department/school.

An opportunity for participating students to share the results of their research and creative academic activities in a conference format through an oral presentation, poster display or exhibit format.

  • Oral presentations, whether single or multiple authors, are allotted 15 minutes to present during one of four sessions: a brief introduction of the student(s) by the faculty sponsor, a ten-minute presentation of the academic work, and a short question-and-answer period.
  • Poster presentations are displayed during one of three sessions. Each poster session is 1 hour and 30 minutes.
  • The Design Expo demonstrates the outcomes of design-based projects. Often interdisciplinary and collaborative in nature these are presented in an exhibit format. The projects on exhibit are open to the public 9 a.m. to 3:45 p.m.

The nomination process:

  • Begins with faculty members identifying students who have achieved exceptional levels of work and notifying the department/school of their intent to nominate.
  • Involves the completion of an online nomination, including a 75-word abstract, begun by the student and supported by the faculty sponsor.
  • Continues with department/school support of completed nominations and abstracts and the forwarding of these to the event's planning committee.

Learn more and follow the path to the event via our social media outlets- Facebook, Twitter & Instagram (@EMUSymposium)

event schedule

8:30-9:45 a.m.ORAL PRESENTATIONSSession A
8:30-10:00 a.m.POSTERSGroup 1
9:00 a.m.-3:45p.m.DESIGN EXPO
10:00 a.m.-11:15 a.m.ORAL PRESENTATIONSSession B
10:30 a.m.-11:15 a.m.POSTERSGroup 2
11:30 a.m.-12:45 p.m.Celebratory LuncheonFor student presenters and faculty mentors
1:00 p.m.-1:45 p.m.POSTERSGroup 2 (continues)
1:00 p.m.-2:15 p.m.ORAL PRESENTATIONSSession C
2:15 p.m.- 3:45 p.m.POSTERSGroup 3
2:30 p.m. -3:45 p.m.ORAL PRESENTATIONSSession D


Sunday, November 15, 2015Online process opens to students
Friday, January 15, 2016Online process closes to students
Tuesday, January 19, 2016Online process closes to faculty sponsors
Monday, January 25, 2016Online process closes to committee representatives
Friday, January 29, 2016 Students notified (faculty sponsors cc'd) via email of acceptance to present

symposium history


Envisioned by former Provost Ronald W. Collins, and under the leadership of Ira M. Wheatley of History and Philosophy, the first annual event was held April 3, 1981. Seventeen students and 19 faculty members from nine College of Arts and Sciences departments were featured.


Luncheon and keynote speaker added to event. (list of previous speakers)


Posters displays added.


Participation expanded with students from the College of Education and the College of Technology included.


The College of Business and the College of Health and Human Services nominated students for participation.


Student emcees added to the luncheon program.


Student designers involved in design process.


Office of Financial Aid and the Graduate School began providing up to 20 University Fellowship Awards for Symposium Participants to graduating participants to encourage them to continue their graduate studies at EMU. Dedicated website launched.


The Barry A. Fish Scholarship and the Ronald W Collins Memorial Endowed Scholarship for Undergraduate Symposium Participants endowed to provide financial awards for continued undergraduate studies.


Webcasting of select presentations began with Symposium XXII.


The Symposium proudly celebrated its 25th event. In honor of the event's longevity, a new scholarship series was announced and the event also provided the opportunity for 25 select Symposium and University alumni to return to campus for the festivities.


The annual event moved to the new EMU Student Center. Genesis, a bronze sculpture by artist and Symposium XXVII keynote speaker Brent Collins, was dedicated and placed on permanent display at the center.


The nominations process was changed to allow only online submissions, thereby streamlining the approval process and making both web and print publication easier.


The Symposium reaches the historic mark of 30 events! Over the past three decades, more than 4,000 students have had the opportunity to share their research in front of their peers, professors University administration, community, and family. We have grown from 17 presenters in the first Symposium to over 300 in 2009!


Challenge advancement goal reached: $1-million in support of the Symposium and especially student scholarship and research awards. Special to this year was the addition of the Design Expo as an exhibit component for student research.


A smart device application, Guidebook, provided the Symposium program electronically to visitors and presenters. The 34th event was adjusted to an all-day format to accommodate a record-high participation of 500 students.

2016 Symposium Planning Committee

College of Arts and Sciences

Africology and African American Studies

Victor Okafor


Gretchen Otto


Aaron Liepman


Deborah Heyl-Clegg

Communication, Media & Theatre Arts

Melanie Schuessler Bond

Computer Science

Suchindran Maniccam


Mehmet Yaya

English Language and Literature


Geography and Geology

Christine Clark

History and Philosophy

Michael Doan


Andrew Ross

Music and Dance

John Dorsey

Physics and Astronomy

Patrick Koehn

Political Science

Jeff Bernstein


Claudia Drossel

Sociology, Anthropology and Criminology

Xianghong Feng

Women's and Gender Studies

Natalie Dove

World Languages

Wendy Wang


Additional preparation assistance

SOS | Secrets of the Symposium | Workshops for student presenters

All new student presenters are expected to attend one of two workshop opportunities to be held to prepare student participants for their participation. Information will review event logistics and participation expectations, speaking across the curriculum, poster and oral presentation enhancements, and post event (including scholarship) opportunities.

  • Monday, March 14th at 7 p.m. in 310A of the Student Center
  • Tuesday, March 15th at 7p.m. in 310A of the Student Center

From the Academic Projects Center at the Halle Library

Technology Assistants in the APC are trained to help students prepare their posters for printing on the large format printer using either PowerPoint or Publisher. There are also self-help guides available on the APC website at: http://www.emich.edu/apc/links.html

The Academic Projects Center also offers a space where students can practice their presentations. More information visit: http://www.emich.edu/apc/present.html


We are pleased to announce that student participants in the Undergraduate Symposium may be eligible to apply for a number of financial awards.

Undergraduate Scholarships

Undergraduate students who participate in the Symposium are eligible for scholarship opportunities. More information is available here.

Graduate Level Awards

Eastern Michigan University is pleased to announce the availability of up to twenty $1,000 awards to encourage student participants in the Undergraduate Symposium to continue their graduate studies at Eastern Michigan University. Priority for award offers will be made to eligible students planning to enroll full-time (8 credit hours) at the graduate level the following fall. Consideration for an award requires:

  • Participation as a student presenter in the current year
  • Completion of undergraduate degree by the following August
  • Minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0
  • Application and admission to a graduate degree program at Eastern Michigan University
  • Enrollment as an EMU graduate student for the following fall

If more than 20 students apply and meet the minimum eligibility requirements, all applicants will be ranked by GPA and award offers made as funding allows. Completed applications due to 124 Quirk by the second Friday following the Symposium.

Download application for Graduate School Fellowship Award for Symposium Participants here.

William Fennel Symposium Faculty Mentor Award

It is the outstanding commitment of our faculty to provide extraordinary leadership and guidance to undergraduate students and their research experience that is recognized by the William Fennel Symposium Faculty Mentor Award.

Awarded annually, the honored faculty will be publically recognized and receive a recognition memento plus an award of $1,000. The Undergraduate Symposium participant and student nominator of the honored faculty mentor will receive a $500 credit to the nominator's student account. Nominations for this award must be initiated by a current year Symposium student participant after the conclusion of the student's presentation experience at the Undergraduate Symposium.

Download application for The William Fennel Symposium Faculty Mentor Award here.


For the academic year 2015-16 there are 22 students, from across all academic disciplines, at the undergraduate level that are working with faculty mentors as Symposium Undergraduate Research Fellows. These annual student awards can be renewed upon student interest and faculty mentor support. Each fellow is expected to conduct research during the academic year of appointment and present the outcomes of the research at the Undergraduate Symposium. Undergraduate students, especially students new to EMU, may find additional information about these fellow awards at the SURFpage.


The "Crossing Lines" Design Expo is a one-day exhibit during the Undergraduate Symposium of outstanding products created by talented undergraduate students from a variety of academic disciplines that demonstrate the outcomes of their design-based projects; often interdisciplinary and collaborative in nature. The exhibits are open for review from 9 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. in Room 300 & 302 of the Student Center on Friday, April 1, 2016.

Design Expo exhibits represent the student work from a variety of programs, including:

Apparel, Textiles and MerchandisingArts Management
CeramicsConstruction Management
Creative WritingEntertainment Design and Technology
Furniture DesignGraphic Design
Interior DesignArts Metalsmithing
Product Design and DevelopmentTheatre Arts

Please stop by and see the outstanding work of EMU students on display. For a closer look of the Design Expo click here.


The program guide for the 2016 Undergraduate Symposium is available to view online or for download.

2016 photos


Please consider joining us as a sponsor of the Undergraduate Symposium. A number of giving opportunities to directly support the Undergraduate Symposium are available. Designed to enhance the student academic experience at EMU and to encourage further success in the classroom, these initiatives include undergraduate fellow appointments, endowed undergraduate-level scholarships and graduate-level fellowship awards. Gifts also support the unique operational needs of the annual Symposium event.

You may invest in EMU students and this valued tradition of Eastern Michigan University. All donations are tax-deductible and will be acknowledged in our event program.

An online contribution can be made through the EMU Foundation. Please apply your gift specifically to fund: 01221 - Symposium Advancement.


The 36th Undergraduate Symposium, hosted by the College of Arts and Sciences, received generous contributions from many individuals, businesses and community organizations in addition to its annual support from the Office of the Provost, Division of Academic Affairs.

We thank the following contributors to the 2016 Undergraduate Symposium.

Corporate Champions

  • JP Morgan
  • Retirement Income Solutions

Event Champions

  • Bank of Ann Arbor
  • Dennis and Char Beagen
  • Department of Psychology
  • Domino's
  • Edwin and Suzanne Jakeway
  • Jakeway Jakeway & Jakeway, PC
  • Don and Nancie Loppnow
  • Sally McCracken
  • Diane Rockall
  • Thomas and Anne Venner
  • Bette Warren

Research Champions

  • Joseph and Mae Butcko
  • George Cogar
  • Delta Dental Plan of Michigan
  • DTE Energy Foundation
  • Dykema
  • EMU Student Government
  • William Fennel
  • Dale and Gloria Heydlauff,
  • and American Electric Power
  • Diane and Charles Jacobs honoring John A. Hanawalt
  • Tom and Mary Layher
  • Molly Luempert-Coy
  • Department of Physics and Astronomy
  • Mark Sadzikowski
  • Richard and Norma Sarns
  • Mary Ann and Dennis Watson
JP Morgan Advertisement Retirement Income Solutions Advertisement

Academic Advocates

  • Chelsea Milling Company
  • Joseph Chrzanowski
  • School of Communication, Media & Theatre Arts
  • School of Music & Dance
  • Wendy and Dave Kivi
  • Amy Seetoo
  • Ingrid Sheldon

Student Advocates

  • American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association
  • Michele Anderson
  • Karin Armour
  • Pat and Cheryl Barry
  • Howard Booth
  • James Brown
  • George and Nina Contis
  • Gilbert Cross
  • Thomas Fahlstrom
  • Jon Fitzgerald
  • Robertta Goffeney
  • Robert Grady
  • Tammy Greco
  • Christopher Herman
  • Samuel Hirsch
  • Alissa Huth-Bocks
  • Jill Hunsberger
  • Walter Kraft
  • Doreen Lawton
  • Jo and Gerald Lawver
  • Judith Massingill
  • Lynn Malinoff
  • Nancy Mida
  • Ryan Molloy
  • Robert Neely
  • Claudia Petrescu
  • Linda Pritchard
  • Daniel Raglin
  • Krisztina Roder
  • Weidian Shen
  • Lynne Shetron-Rama
  • Betty Stremich
  • Evelyn Tucker
  • United Way of Washtenaw County
  • Alida Westman
  • Dorn Williams
  • Diane Winder
  • Patricia Wray