Rice Undergraduate Research Symposium

Rice Undergraduate Research Symposium (RURS) is the premiere event for undergraduates across all disciplines to showcase their research. RURS 2022 will be the 20th anniversary of this annual showcase. The collective efforts of the Rice community allow for this annual event to highlight and celebrate the incredible scholarly and creative contributions of undergraduate researchers.

Students have two participation options during registration and will select entry into the Poster Session or the Exhibition Session. The Shapiro Showcase is by invitation only and will feature students nominated by their departments.

Poster Session

A fan favorite, the Poster Session provides a platform for sharing innovative research or creative work, at any stage, with the broader Rice community. In two one-hour sessions, entrants will have the opportunity to be evaluated by attendees, and receive feedback on their presentation. Posters that achieve excellence in research and presentation will be recognized at the closing reception. Research mentor approval is required.

Exhibition Session

A new addition to RURS, the Exhibition Session provides an opportunity for students at all levels of research, design, or creative work to share their projects with the broader Rice community. With a cap of five-minutes, students will use visual and oral communication to give a “lightning talk” that adopts creative mediums and to illustrate their project. Each Exhibition will feature an overarching theme to connect the projects. No mentor approval is required, and attendees will be able to vote for their favorite, with winners announced at the closing reception.

A sample of exhibition themes include: Dignity & Justice, Climate & Environment, Health of the Mind & Body, Building Networks: How We Connect, and COVID-19: Knowledge & Innovation.

Exhibition Themes

Frames & Borders

For this theme, we welcome research, design, creative work, performance, that engages with, or pushes against, frames/borders.This may include topics about: visual art, representation, family dynamics, culture, religion, identity, geology, urban planning, colonialism policy framework, psychology framework, philosophy framework, languages, linguistics, economics.

It’s About Dignity & Justice

We must never grow weary of the fight to see all of humanity treated with dignity.This theme covers research topics related to social justice: race, critical race theory, poverty, violence, food insecurity, voting rights, gun violence, education, religious discrimination, healthcare discrimination, housing issues, policy-making, energy politics, representation, human rights, worker’s rights.

Climate & Environment: Protecting our Future

We invite students who actively engage in learning about the environment with their research. This theme covers topics about: climate change, sustainability, renewable energy, greenhouse gases and carbon emissions, sustainable manufacturing, biology, safety, architecture, technological innovation.

Health of the Mind & Body

This theme welcomes research that explores the mind, the body, and integration of these conceptions as one.This theme welcomes research that explores the mind, the body, and integration of these conceptions as one. Topics may include: health, medicine, memory, philosophy, gender, identity, mental health, kinesiology, kinetics, disability awareness, genetics, cancer, biology, physical safety, lifespan, diseases, cognitive science, anatomy, artificial intelligence, medical devices.

Building Networks: How We Connect

This theme explores the physical, temporal, social, political and technological connections that make up existence as we know it. Topics can include: relationships, communities, neighborhoods, communication, global networks, diasporic studies, archeology, history, public and institutional memory, political systems, business psychology, sociology, elections, urban planning, wireless connection, machine learning, electronic systems.

COVID-19: Knowledge Building & Innovation

This theme explores what we're learning about and from COVID19 (from the micro to the political) as we innovate solutions to the problems that have and continue to arise. Topics include: vaccines, genetics, variants, epidemiology, physiology, medical devices, healthcare, therapeutics, long COVID, mental health, sick roles, ethics, resource distribution, welfare, logistics, labor distribution, foreign relations, supply chain management, monetary policy, fiscal policy, education.

Open Write-In

These topic suggestions are by no means comprehensive; the student may sign up to present in any themed exhibition that they believe describes their research.

Shapiro Showcase

As an undergraduate in 2002, Dr. Jenessa Shapiro founded RURS to give Rice student researchers an opportunity to share their diverse work. Twenty years later, we honor Dr. Shapiro’s legacy with the Shapiro Showcase, a competition featuring 16 students across the disciplines who have been nominated and selected by faculty in their respective schools. Presenters will deliver 10-minute talks on their intermediate to advanced research in two concurrent sessions. One winner will be selected through judge evaluations and announced at the closing reception.



RURS 2022 Presentation Winners:

2022 Shapiro Showcase Winner

Ashley Fitzpatrick - School of Social Sciences

Jim Lu Zhang - School of Natural Sciences

Outstanding Poster Presentations

  • Vedha Penmetcha and Annika Nambiar (School of Natural Sciences Poster Presentation Winner)
  • Peter Nikonowicz and Jonathan Najmam (School of Social Sciences Poster Presentation Winner)
  • Jeffrey Vanegas (School of Engineering Poster Presentation Winner)
  • Julia Phan (School of Humanities Poster Presentation Winner)

Outstanding Exhibition Presentations

  • Dillon Stewart
  • Summer Nguyen and Ishaan Rischie
  • Maria Alejandra Mora
  • Sriya Kakarla
  • Eli Mendoza
  • Kamil Cook
  • Luke Han
  • Jason Ye
  • Ishani Kaul
  • Jeffrey Vanegas

2022 RURS Abstract Book is now available!


RURS 2022 Co-Chairs: Brittney Espinoza '22 & Aman Eujayl '23

Contact the co-chairs: rurs@rice.edu


RURS 2021 Presentation Winners: The following students represent the top 10% of competitive entries and top presenters in each award category.

  • Joseph Asfouri, Engineering
  • Hannah Boyd (School of Natural Sciences Poster Presentation Winner)
  • Rose Click (School of Social Sciences Oral Presentation Winner)
  • Aman Eujayl (School of Engineering Oral Presentation Winner)
  • Brandon Khek, Natural Sciences
  • Hociel Landa (School of Engineering Poster Presentation Winner)
  • Will Mundy & Shryans Goyal (Team Award Winner)
  • Pujita Munnangi, Engineering
  • Stephen Peng, Natural Sciences
  • Sarah Preston, Natural Sciences
  • Kristen Rabbitt (School of Natural Sciences Poster Presentation Winner)
  • Julia Shi (School of Humanities Poster Presentation Winner)
  • Ashley Snell (Jenessa Shapiro Award Winner, School of Social Sciences Poster Presentation Winner)
  • Jessica Su, Natural Sciences
  • Lillian Wieland (School of Humanities Oral Presentation Winner)
  • Brendon Wong, Natural Sciences
  • Jim L. Zhang, Natural Sciences

RURS 2021 Abstract Book (PDF) is available to view past presenters and their work.