Please note that all undergraduate travel is now processed by the Office of Undergradaute Research and Scholarship (Dr. Joe Wirgau, Director). Dr. Wirgau can be contacted at 540.831.5650 or firstname.lastname@example.org. His office is Reed 354.
Who Is Funded?
Funding is provided to support any undergraduate authors on presentations at professional conferences (either interdisciplinary or discipline-specific). Students do NOT need to be members of the Honors Academy. Funding is not provided for multiple presentations of the same project at different conferences.
Funding is provided for faculty mentors who travel with undergraduate students to interdisciplinary conferences (e.g., BigSURS, NCUR, and honors conferences). However, we cannot support faculty travel to conferences in one's academic discipline, even if undergraduate students are traveling with the faculty member and are presenters at the conference. Although we can support your student's travel, faculty funding must come from other sources.
Our office does not provide travel support for graduate students. Funding for graduate students can be found on Current Students page of the College of Graduate and Professional Studies.
Which Conferences Are Funded?
Student authors can be supported for any conference (interdisciplinary or discipline-specific). A list of interdisciplinary conferences, with approximate dates for submissions, can be found on the Undergraduate Research page. Of these conferences, Radford students typically attend the BigSURS conference. Attendance at other national or regional conferences (e.g., NCUR) can only be supported if the location allows for reasonable travel costs. Students who are interested in having their conference travel funded should always discuss their plans with Dr. Wirgau before submitting an abstract.
What Costs Are Covered?
Our policy has been to provide all costs related to undergraduate travel. These include transportation, lodging, conference registration fee, and meals. Occasionally, when travel costs are large (e.g., cross-country airfare), we may ask students to pay for their own meals and incidentals. If a meal is provided as part of the conference registration fee then that amount is deducted from the student’s per diem. If possible, meal monies are distributed to students a day or two before departing Radford University.
Mileage costs for driving one’s personal vehicle are approved on an individual basis. When several students are traveling to the same conference a student is not usually given mileage costs for traveling alone in their personal vehicle. A student may be provided mileage for use of their personal vehicle (at the state approved rate) if he or she is taking several students or faculty members who are also presenters at the conference. Such arrangements must be approved in advance by the OURS Director.
What Is the Process for Getting Conference Travel Funded?
First, discuss with your faculty mentor whether your project could be presented and, if so, which conference would be most appropriate. Next, contact the OURS Director (Dr. Wirgau) to ensure that funds would be available for that conference. Third, work with your faculty mentor to prepare and submit the abstract for the conference. An improperly prepared abstract, even if accepted may not be approved for travel funding. Students must notify the OURS office as soon as they learn that an abstract has been accepted for a conference presentation.
At this point you will work with Dr. Wirgau to make reservations and the file the necessary paperwork. This process is very time-consuming for the office, especially when there are multiple students attending multiple conferences. Your prompt responses to requests, your patience, and your cheerful attitude are appreciated. As the conference date approaches, you will receive information about your lodging and transportation. If possible, you will receive your travel meal monies in the day or two before travel.
For some types of travel, receipts or other documentation might be necessary (e.g., boarding passes from completed flights). Be sure to clarify with Dr. Wirgau what receipts, if any, are necessary to submit after your travel.
Expectations for Professional Behavior While Attending a Conference
All student presenters are representing Radford University while attending a conference. Please discuss with your faculty mentor his or expectations for professionalism in these contexts. First and foremost, this should mean coming to the conference well-prepared to deliver your presentation. Preparing a presentation occurs well in advance of the conference and can be very extensive. These preparations should be guided by your faculty mentor.
When attending the conference itself, please dress, converse, and behave in a professional manner. You do not necessarily need to wear a business suit, but overly-casual attire (e.g., torn jeans and a hoodie) will not impress. When attending presentations, be considerate of your fellow presenters by giving them your full attention.
Most conferences include some leisure time when presentations are not occurring. Although your leisure time is your own, do not do anything to embarrass yourself or Radford Univesity. Please be respectful of other people who are attending the conference, the people who live and work in the conference town, and the people who are staying in your hotel.