Student Engagement

CURA Open House

Open House

On January 14, 2020, CIRS hosted its first open house event for GU-Q students to learn more about CIRS and the CURA program for undergraduate research advancement. The CIRS Undergraduate Research Advancement program (CURA) aims to facilitate research opportunities for GU-Q undergraduate students through providing focused mentorship and a chance to publish and present their original research as part of the CURA Paper Series and CURA Lunch Talks.

During the event, Professor Mehran Kamrava, Director of CIRS highlighted that two years ago, CIRS launched the CURA program to advance undergraduate research. He remarked that, “the aim of the program is to enhance the research skills of our students and we do that by offering number of opportunities for our Fellows and for the entire student body.”

One aim of CURA is to enhance the undergraduate experience by helping students develop a range of research skills and publish their original research. To this end, Elizabeth Wanucha, Operations Manager of CIRS announced a new opportunity for GU-Q students under the ongoing CURA Paper Series. The CURA Paper Series opened a paper competition that will span the Spring 2020 semester, with a submission deadline of February 12, 2020. She added, “the winner of this competition will be coached by CIRS staff through the peer review and editorial process to publish the paper by the end of the semester as a distinguished publication under the CURA Paper Series.” The winner will also be issued an electronic certificate that highlights the achievement on LinkedIn and other social media sites.

“The aim of the program is to enhance the research skills of our students and we do that by offering number of opportunities for our Fellows and for the entire student body.”

Ngoc Nguyen (class of 2021) said that she enjoyed meeting the staff of CIRS at the open house. “It was a great opportunity to learn about research opportunities that CIRS is providing for Georgetown students. I will definitely participate in more CIRS events in the future.”

In addition to the paper competition, GU-Q students also have the opportunity to showcase their original research by submitting it for consideration to the CURA Paper Series. The process of selecting papers is rigorous and competitive. CIRS has a wide network of scholars, and publishing with the CURA Paper Series will disseminate the selected research across the globe. CIRS publishes the CURA Papers online, prints and distributes the hard copies, and disseminates the research via the CIRS research e-newsletter.

CIRS also helps GU-Q undergraduate students develop skills related to research through its CURA fellowship program. CURA Fellows provide research assistance in three areas: publications, research and administration. Through the CURA peer mentorship program, fellows learn hands-on about the research field and develop analytical skills by convening one seminar each semester on a current CIRS research project. Fellows are invited to discuss papers written by experts in their respective fields, and share their conclusions with the authors of the papers in the CIRS Working Group organized around that research project.

Chaïmaa Benkermi (class of 2021), a CIRS publications fellow said, “Having been part of CIRS for two years has been continuously rewarding. I have acquired unique skills that I have come to apply in all fields and disciplines, developed new research interests, and simply gained more confidence in what I do and what I deliver to others, which is also part of my CURA fellowship experience.”


Article by Shaza Afifi (Class of 2022), CURA Publications Fellow