Modesto A. Maidique Campus

11200 SW 8th Street, Miami, Florida 33199

Registration Fees


Registration Type Registration Deadline Cost 
Early Bird Aug 11, 2017 $225.00
Standard Aug 25, 2017 $250.00
Late After Aug 25, 2017 $275.00


  • Admission to all Sessions, Workshops, Panel Discussions, Keynote Speakers, Graduate Fair, and Oral & Poster Presentations.
  • Continental Breakfast (Thursday & Friday, FIU)
  • Lunch (Thursday & Friday, FIU)

Deadline for Abstracts

Friday, September 8, 2017 is the deadline for submitting an abstract.


Why do you think it is important for undergraduates to participate in research activities?

It’s so important for undergraduates to participate in research activities. From working as a research assistant to conducting an independent research project, research-related tasks can help undergraduates learn about the scientific process and uncover insights, which can lead to new empirical questions. Perhaps most importantly involvement in research can help students discover information about themselves— their interests or potential career paths.

What tips would you give undergraduates for getting the most out of their research experience?

I would encourage undergrads to be open-minded about research tasks and strive to understand how even tasks that seem small or tedious can be integral to tackling a research question. And I would suggest approaching these seemingly small or tedious research tasks as opportunities to learn and gain valuable experience. One of my first research experiences as an undergraduate was assisting with an extensive literature review. This required me to spend long hours at the library searching for and carefully reading articles that met a specified criteria. On the surface, this task was not the most exciting but I approached it with enthusiasm and seriousness. As a result, I learned a great deal from that task. I gained exposure to reading and critically analyzing scientific articles—a skill that made me more prepared for graduate studies and a skill that is life-long for researchers. Beyond helping me to cultivate a life-long skill, the literature review allowed me to leverage my interests in culture, identity, and inequality into research questions that were grounded in the current literature. The research questions that came out of that literature review informed my undergraduate thesis and those questions continue to inform my current research.

Why do you believe it is important to share research at gatherings such as the FIU McNair Research Conference?

Gatherings like the FIU McNair Research Conference are excellent opportunities to share research. One of the most impactful lessons that I was taught in graduate school was that sharing research is a responsibility. Research findings have the potential to impact society and improve daily life experiences. Sharing the findings is an important part of realizing that potential. And sharing research findings in a safe and supportive environment like the FIU McNair Research Conference creates opportunities for additional mentorship, collaboration and communication across disciplinary lines.

What steps should undergraduates take today to prepare for graduate school tomorrow?

Participating in research activities and conferences like the FIU McNair Research Conference is a great step. Programs like McNair and research activities more broadly bring undergraduates in contact with current graduate students, professors and university staff members. In particular, the opportunity to observe and talk with graduate students and professors can help undergraduates better understand and prepare for life as graduate students. This contact can also create allies and support that can make pursing a graduate degree feel less mysterious and more attainable, especially for first-generation students who do not have family members or close friends who have experienced graduate school.

What are some resources you suggest for undergraduates who are considering graduate school?

Resources like the FIU McNair Research Conference are helpful for students considering graduate school.  Fit, or compatibility, is often an important factor for success in graduate school. Events like the FIU McNair Research Conference—which allow undergraduates to interact with university staff, recruiters, fellow undergraduate students, current graduate students, and professors—can help cultivate fit. Such events can provide environments in which undergraduates gain access to information that can assist them in discovering the discipline or specialty that best fits their interests and long-term goals, as well as the type of graduate school or funding opportunities which would allow them to be the most productive.  

Do you have any suggestions for finding the ideal mentor?

I really prize openness. The ideal mentor is likely not one person; rather the ideal mentor can come from drawing upon the strengths and expertise of several individuals. That is why openness is so important; undergraduates should be open to receiving mentorship from peers, graduate students, professors, university staff and even individuals who may not have careers in research. In short, I would suggest being open to having multiples mentors and to drawing upon these multiple mentors to meet a diverse set of needs.

What is the great reward, for you, of having completed graduate school?

The most rewarding part of completing my doctorate has been becoming the first person in my family to hold a PhD. As an undergraduate and graduate student, I benefitted significantly from programs like McNair that seek to increase the number of individuals from underrepresented backgrounds (e.g., first-generation college students, ethnic/racial minorities) who earn doctorate degrees. So for me, receiving my PhD has meant the fulfillment of not only a personal goal but the achievement of a goal that is shared with my family and programs like McNair, which were invaluable sources of support.

Best advice for undergrads: Get your research out there!

FIU Mcnair Conference PhotoUndergraduates participating in research under the guidance of a professor or industry mentor should take the next step: share the work with others as a poster or oral presentation.

Exchanging ideas and learning from peers is the purpose of the upcoming FIU McNair Scholars Research Conference to be held October 19-21 at the Modesto A. Maidique Campus of Florida International University in Miami. Students representing a variety of disciplines will have the opportunity to present the findings of their research.

“Research is about scientific investigation and sharing results,” says E. George Simms, former assistant vice provost at Florida International University in Miami. "This is an invaluable opportunity for undergraduates to push themselves. It’s an important leap.”

To participate in the conference, students must first submit a brief abstract that includes the project’s background, methods and results. The conference organizers will review the abstracts and notify individual students of acceptance. The deadline for abstract submission will be published soon. To ensure a spot at the conference, students who do not yet have the results of summer projects can submit a preliminary abstract and follow up later with complete information. Instructions and an abstract template can be found on the abstract submission page.

At the conference, experts will judge the posters and grade the oral presentations. They will provide useful feedback to students and award prizes to top performers.

“The experience will help students fine tune their critical thinking skills,” Simms says. “Students will get productive advice so that they understand how to improve.” And, he adds, the experience will stand out to prospective graduate schools and employers.

In addition to posters and presentations, the conference program will feature speakers on topics such as applying for graduate school and securing funding, preparing for the GRE and finding the perfect mentor. A graduate-school fair will feature recruiters from various universities. An opening reception will be open to all participants.

More information, including details about registration and discounted hotel accommodations can be found at