2021 Undergraduate Research Symposium

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Congratulations to the winners of the 2021 Undergraduate Research Symposium! The high score was earned by Flobater Gawargi, class of ’21 at Monmouth University. Flobater is a 2020-2021 Novartis Science Scholarship recipient, and an ICFNJ URS 2020 Award Recipient. The first runner-up of this year’s Undergraduate Research Symposium was Samantha Johnson, class of ’21 at Centenary University. Samantha was also an ICFNJ URS 2020 Award Recipient. The second runner-up is Laura Sine, class of ’22 at Monmouth University. Honorable mention was awarded to Shivani Mody, class of ’21 at Drew University. Shivani is a 2020-2021 Novartis Science Scholarship recipient, as well as a 2019-2020 BD Healthcare Scholarship recipient. Honorable mention was also awarded to Nikolina Perrelli, class of ’21 at Centenary University, who is an ICFNJ 2020 Award Recipient.

Take a look at this year’s UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH SYMPOSIUM JOURNAL to learn what our students have been busy researching, what the week entailed, and who our wonderful sponsors are.

The opening ceremony was held on April 12, 2021 at 900am. Student presentations took place April 12, 2021 through April 14, 2021, and the closing ceremony was on Thursday, April 15, 2021. The event was well attended and a huge success.


The Independent College Fund of New Jersey Undergraduate Research Symposium allows students to participate in research early in their higher education experience to combat one of the reasons cited for students leaving a STEM major “desire for increased time spent in well-resourced labs.”

The educational and professional development of students in STEM majors to support the science, technology, engineering and math talent pipeline is the primary goal of the ICFNJ Undergraduate Research Symposium.  All undergraduate participants are provided new opportunities to connect classroom learning to real world applications, develop presentation & communications skills, build peer networks, and engage with industry professionals — factors identified as positive contributors to student retention in STEM majors.

Complimentary to the individual student research experience is the resulting enhanced participation in the classroom, transfer of technical knowledge and peer support that builds enthusiasm for STEM majors in other students.

By expanding access to quality STEM learning opportunities, we are helping students see these disciplines as catalysts for their careers.  “All young people should be prepared to think well so that they have the chance to become the innovators, educators, researchers, and leaders who can solve the most pressing challenges facing our nation and world, both today and tomorrow.


Students from ICFNJ’s 14 member colleges and universities are eligible to apply to participate in the Symposium.  Priority is given to students in STEM majors, but any student may submit an application for consideration.

By submitting an application, students agree to conduct the outlined research over the course of a semester, submit an interim progress report, prepare a single page abstract for publication in the Symposium Program Book, and participate in the one-day symposium in March.  Acknowledgement of these criteria is endorsed by the student, supervising faculty and academic dean. (Failure to comply with any one of these elements will result in the need to reimbursement some or all of the grant funds to ICFNJ.)

Successful candidates will receive up to $1,000 to offset research expenses including research stipends.  Funding for the Symposium is provided by corporate and foundation partners who share in our commitment to increase the number of students who enroll in their member institutions to pursue STEM disciplines and to raise the retention rate of students enrolled in STEM programs.  As available, poster presentation spots may be offered to applicants who did not receive funding at the discretion of the URS selection committee.  These spots are limited.

Participants in the Undergraduate Research Symposium have an opportunity to interact with industry professionals, member institution faculty, and business professionals in a judged competition designed to build workforce skills.  All students receive feedback on their written and poster presentations. 


ICFNJ will provide up to 21 awards (a maximum of $1,000 per project) according to the Participant Guidelines.  Participation in the Undergraduate Research Symposium is based on a competitive application process open only to New Jersey independent college students as outlined in the eligibility criteria.  The actual number of awards will depend on the quantity and quality of applications received.

Total number of participants is being restricted this year to allow for the coordination of a virtual event should remote interaction and safe distancing guidelines continue to be in place.