University of California, Irvine

Sharon Parks, Director of Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program and Jerry McMillian, Advisor discuss how InfoReady helps their team run a major undergraduate symposium.

Keeping pace with a growing program

A case study interview with Sharon Parks, Director Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) and Jerry McMillan, UROP Advisor from University of California, Irvine.


Jerry: UCI UROP has been hosting an annual symposium where undergraduate researchers present their research for 30 years. This year, there were over 700 individual student projects involving 1,000 individual students with roughly 2,000 people attending the event.

The whole process of registering students for presentations, reviewing submissions, assigning all times and locations is a very complicated, very detailed process to manage.

Sharon: We had an older, homegrown application management system that our tech support team at UCI could no longer support. We had an in-house programmer that created all of this but who is no longer here. Tech support said, ‘we can’t support this. You need to find something else.’

Sharon: And so, our tech team vetted different products, and found some of our colleagues in the Office of Research were using InfoReady.


Sharon: We were under pressure as we absolutely needed to have an application management system for our proposals. Because we had to shift away from this 20 plus year old system (at the time it was 17 or 18 years old), we needed to have something in place in order to run our calls for proposals. We have three separate application processes, a fall call, a spring call, a summer call, and we couldn’t run those without something like InfoReady in place.

It was pretty seamless once we got through some growing pains in terms of getting everything built and learning how to use a new product. Once we had that in place, InfoReady allowed us to do a process that is central to our functioning, one of the main things we do.


Sharon: We started using InfoReady for students to submit proposals to receive recognition and funding for their research. We send out an email to all of campus inviting any undergraduates doing research to register to present by a deadline.

InfoReady was used to find out ‘Who wants to come? Who wants to present? Do they want to do a poster presentation? Would you like to do an oral presentation to be judged?’
Later in the process, we send out a progress report for the students to fine tune their proposal and to have them submit their assets.

When we learned about InfoReady’s Engagement Hub, we added that functionality to use with our symposium. Students upload their digital assets, their photos, their abstracts. We make our time assignments and the InfoReady team helped us migrate all that data into Engagement Hub. It really allowed us to put the icing on the cake.

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