Spring is a time of growth and rejuvenation. At CU Denver, it’s also a time of celebration—which is what the Research and Creative Activities Symposium (RaCAS) is all about. Every April, undergraduate and graduate students from across the university come together to celebrate and showcase the research and creative projects they’ve worked on throughout the year. For many, these projects represent hundreds of hours of work and are a synthesis of their academic careers, with presentations spanning everything from punk music to molecular biology.
“I think a lot of students get misled by the term ‘research,’ but RaCAS is open to all disciplines and students interested in revealing their hard work,” said RaCAS participant Matthew Sawaged, a junior studying biochemistry.
“This isn’t just for STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) presentations,” added Erin Golden, director of Undergraduate Research & Creative Activities. “Any student, or even recent alumni, wishing to share their creative work is encouraged to submit an abstract by April 1.”
After two years of virtual symposiums, the 25th annual RaCAS will be held on Friday, April 29 in person at the Lola and Rob Salazar Student Wellness Center, as well as online, allowing presenters and participants to attend however they feel comfortable. The in-person option gives students the opportunity to practice presenting their ideas and findings to peers, family, faculty, and friends.
“I’m excited for this year’s RaCAS,” shared participant Keira Richards, a senior studying history and digital studies. “It is an incredible opportunity to contribute to the shared knowledge of our local history and cultural heritage and to present my research to the community.”
The Office of Undergraduate Research & Creative Activities is even hosting working sessions to help students prepare for the symposium, meet other participants, ask questions, and sharpen their skills, including perfecting their elevator pitch.
In addition to celebrating students’ dedication and hard work, RaCAS goes a long way toward helping CU Denver achieve the 2030 strategic plan’s third goal, which is to become internationally known for its research and creative work. Beyond being internationally respected and well-funded externally, research efforts at the university will gain support internally through state-of-the-art physical, digital, and administrative infrastructure.
“We’re looking forward to hosting in-person presentations this year,” said Golden. “RaCAS is the perfect place for students to connect outside of the classroom and get inspired by all of the amazing work their peers have accomplished.”