Graduate Research Symposium

2024 Virtual Graduate Research Competition

The 16th Annual Graduate Research Symposium will be held virtually on Tuesday, April 2, 2024, from 5:30pm-7:00pm.

Click here to view the agenda and join sessions 

There are three categories of submissions for the VGRC:

  1. Research Posters and Creative Works. Posters are to be sent to Christine Bell electronically by March 26th.
  2. Research Papers are to be sent to Christine Bell electronically by March 21st.
  3. Three Minute Thesis (3MT). A video of the student giving the three-minute presentation is to be emailed to Christine Bell by March 26th.

All 3MT and research paper projects will be judged. Poster presenters can elect to have their posters judged or enter the symposium without participating in the competition. Completed and signed proposals are required for all symposium entries. Proposals are due March 12th. 

Some participants will be invited to attend and present their work with other graduate students from across the state to N.C. legislators at an annual Graduate Education Day held each May. 

Participants should check their emails regularly in case the judges have questions.



Student work for all categories must be original and developed as a graduate student at UNCP. Presenters may be recent UNCP graduates.


Students develop a semi-professional poster presenting their original research as a "poster" in PowerPoint. Posters should be created at 3 ft x4 ft in size. POSTERS DO NOT need to be printed but should be submitted via email to Christine Bell by 5:00 pm on March 28th.


A new category for students whose research can't be properly portrayed on a poster. Students submit their paper via email to Christine Bell by 5:00 pm on March 21st.


A research communication competition developed by The University of Queensland for doctoral students, the 3MT is now a popular competition in which graduate students present their research in a compelling, three-minute speech, relaying the significance and relevance to a non-specialist audience. The time limitations force the presenter to consolidate their work and ideas. The competition develops academic, presentation, and research communication skills. Videos of the three-minute presentation must be submitted via email to Christine Bell by 5:00 pm on March 28th.

Questions? Contact Christine Bell at or 910.521.6836.

The 14th Annual Graduate Research Symposium was held on Tuesday, April 5th, 2022. Symposium winners are highlighted below. 
2022 Research Symposium Winners: Poster competition:   1st place: Cassidy Smestad, 2nd place: Ean Ormbsy, 3rd place: Hannah Hilgeman; 3-minute thesis competition:    1st place: Destiny Blue, 2nd place: Emma Erickson, 3rd place: Jane’ Pore; Research paper competition:   1st place: Wesley Constandse, 2nd place: Madeline Yeung
The 13th Annual Graduate Research Symposium was held on Tuesday, April 20, 2021. Symposium winners are highlighted below.




Virtual Graduate Research Competition (VGRC) 2020


Many thanks to all those who participated in our 12th annual Graduate Research Symposium held on April 6. This was also our first Virtual Symposium, due to the changes in campus regulations related to Covid-19 pandemic.

The 2020 Symposium was the second largest symposium to date, with close to 50 entries in poster, 3MT (3 minute thesis), and research paper competitions. The Graduate School is proud to announce the winners, participants and project mentors.


Research Paper Competition Winners:
  • First place:  Keisha Moore, Public Administration: The Long-term Effects of Income Inequality. (Mentor: Dr. Joe West)
  • Second place: Laurel Tabaka, Public Administration: Neighborhood Conditions: How a Neighborhood Can Influence a Childs Health Status. (Mentor: Dr. Emily Sharum)
  • Third Place:  Micah Simpson, Public Administration: The North Carolina Emergency Management Act: Disaster Management. (Mentor: Dr. Sojin Jang)


Poster Competition Winners:
  • First place:  Benjamin Coleman, Public Administration: Thanks Mom! Working Mothers and Their Children’s Educational Attainment. (Mentor: Dr. Joe West)
  • Second place: Ashley Lytle, Science Education: Elementary Teachers’ Attitudes and Beliefs About Science Teaching. (Mentor: Dr. Irina Falls)
  • Third Place:  Sara Parisi, Clinical Mental Health Counseling: Career Counseling Intervention Proposal for Robeson County Offender Population. (Mentor: Dr. Nicole Stargell) and Naila McConnell, Clinical Mental Health Counseling: The Role of Mental Health and Efficacy in Students in Higher Education. (Mentor: Dr. Leslie Locklear)


Many thanks to our excellent panel of dedicated judges:
  • Dr. Roger Ladd, English, Theatre, and Foreign Languages 
  • Dr. Sojin Jang, Political Science and Public Administration
  • Dr. Richard Kang, Economics and Decision Sciences                
  • Dr. Irina Falls, Educational Leadership and Specialties
  • Dr. Nicole Stargell, Clinical Mental Health Counseling        
  • Dr. Velinda Woriax, Biology    


Graduate Research Symposium 2019 pictures