As an undergraduate student with a passion for research, I was thrilled to be selected to attend and present at the prestigious British Conference of Undergraduate Research (BCUR) held in conjunction with the World Conference of Undergraduate Research at the esteemed University of Warwick. After months of hard work and dedication, I had the honour of sharing the research I worked on titled 'Understanding Perceptions and Experiences Among Teaching Staff of Autistic Girls in Education,' which was a part of my Laidlaw leadership and Research project.
The conference took place from 3rd to 6th April 2023, and it was a truly enriching experience. I was excited to meet fellow undergraduate researchers from the UK and various other countries, and to engage in insightful conversations and discussions about our respective research topics. The opportunity to present my research to such an esteemed audience was an incredible privilege.
Having never presented my research before, or anything really, to such a large or respected audience, I was incredibly nervous. Scanning the programme and seeing how many interesting research projects were being presented at the time, I was not expecting the incredible amount of engagement there was with my research. The hour allocated for my presentation flew over and included various conversations with delegates from around the world – my favourite being with a delegate from the University of Portsmouth on what the purpose of the current education system in the UK is compared to what it should be. I was also delighted when delegates asked to take photos of my research to send to other interested academics, who couldn’t attend the conference in person.
Outside of my presentation, I enjoyed attending various presentations from fellow undergraduate researchers in various disciplines. It was inspiring to see the diverse range of research topics and methodologies being presented and to learn from the insights and perspectives of my peers. The interdisciplinary nature of the conference provided a unique opportunity to broaden my horizons and learn from fields outside of my own. The opportunity to network with fellow researchers during coffee breaks, lunch, and during the highlight of the event – the gala dinner - was also invaluable. They acted as an opportunity to delve deeper into the research topics of delegates I’d had the chance to attend the presentations of, but also hear about the research of delegates’ presentations I hadn’t had the chance attend. I made connections with like-minded individuals who shared my passion for research and had stimulating discussions that further enriched my understanding of my own research and the research of others.
Reflecting on my experience at BCUR, I am grateful for the opportunity to be a part of such a prestigious event. The conference not only provided me with a platform to share my research and utilise my leadership development skills but also expanded my knowledge, enriched my academic journey, and connected me with fellow researchers from around the world. It has given me new perspectives, and the motivation I needed to finish my 10,000-word final-year dissertation project, which is inspired by this research project and is titled – ‘Does the Legislation and Policy in England and Wales Sufficiently Protect the Right to Inclusive Education of Autistic Children in Secondary Education, under Article 24 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities?’
I am thankful to the University of Warwick and the organizers of BCUR for hosting this remarkable conference and for their support of undergraduate researchers like me. A big thank-you must also be extended to Rebecca Shaw, the Laidlaw Programme Manager at the University of Leeds, for organising my attendance at, and accompanying us to the conference, and also for her ongoing support and encouragement to achieve my full potential.
Attending and presenting at BCUR has been an inspiring and informative experience for me. I am excited to further develop my research and presentation skills – which will be on display again at the University of Leeds Undergraduate Conference, in June. BCUR will always hold a special place in my heart as a highlight of my undergraduate journey, and I am grateful for the memories, knowledge, and connections that I gained from this remarkable conference.
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The BCUR is an excellent showcase for UG Research and a big well done to you, Victoria, for being selected. I hope you enjoyed the experience and can take what you learnt into future leadership roles. :)
Well done Victoria and thank you for sharing your experience here as well. What use is our research if we do not share and discuss it more widely - and some fantastic opportunities to develop some of your leadership skills here. Have you thought about how else you might continue the conversation around your research in the future?