ESSJ Undergraduate Research Conference



Due to the rapidly evolving COVID-19 situation, we have regrettably decided to cancel this conference. This was a difficult decision to make but the health and well-being of our guests, presenters and larger community must come first and we are acting in accordance with the most recent Harvard University guidance. For a complete list of the research and scholars selected to present at the conference, please go to the page for the schedule of the day. 

Thank you.  


The Engaged Scholarship & Social Justice Undergraduate Research Conference will be held on April 16th & 17th, 2020 at Harvard College, Cambridge, MA 02138. We are accepting research proposals for the conference - please click here to submit your proposals. Proposals are due February 10, 2020. If you wish to attend the conference, and are not submitting a proposal to present,  please register for the conference here

Over the last five years, we have welcomed over 100 undergraduates from across the nation to present research that amplifies historically muted voices to address issues of equity and justice. The conference has become an opportunity for both faculty and undergraduates interested in community engaged scholarship in the academy to come together as a community of established and emerging scholars. Since 2015, we have welcomed faculty from Boston University, Tufts University, University of Massachusetts-Amherst and University of Massachusetts-Boston and Harvard University to present their own research on diversity in biology, impact of systemic racism on our political, prison and law enforcement systems and our understanding of public health and to mentor undergraduate scholars. We look forward to hearing from a new generation of scholars in April 2020. 

History of the conference

Since 2015, this conference led by the Phillps Brooks House: Center for Public Service & Engaged Scholarship and Office of Diversity, Education & Support at Harvard College has welcomed undergraduate students from private and public institutions across the nation. With each year of this conference, we continue to be impressed with the rigor and depth of the research undertaken by undergraduate scholars from across the country.  This conference is partnered with the Campus Compact for Southern New England Region, as well as the following Harvard affilates: Undergraduate Research and Fellows Office, Global Health Institute, Inequality Initiative in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies, Office of BGLTQ Harvard College, Harvard College Women's Center, Harvard Foundation for  Intercultural and Race Relations. 

Purpose statement

This conference seeks to bring staff, faculty and undergraduates together to celebrate the engaged scholarship, and reflective learning that is taking place on our campuses. The purpose of this conference is:

  • to honor scholarship which focuses on challenges facing society with regard to equity and inclusion and historically marginalized and under-represented communities;
  • to illuminate community-engaged research which reflects qualities of reciprocity and mutuality in the co-creation of scholarship, in addition to being transdisciplinary and inclusive of knowledge from outside the academy.  
  • to provide undergraduate researchers an opportunity to engage in academic discourse and research dissemination

For student scholars, this is an opportunity to engage in academic dialogue with peers and faculty mentors. For faculty, this conference presents an opportunity to explore about how other disciplines conduct research that creates new knowledge and understanding about equity and social justice and to be inspired by the next generation of scholars.

In particular, we hope that this conference will encourage historically under-repre  sented students to pursue careers in the academy.

Videos of the 2018 conference

Videos of the 2018 conference can be found here