Carnegie Mellon University

Meeting of the Minds Award Competitions

Meeting of the Minds has always included a competition segment in the Symposium, sponsored by several University organizations, academic departments and schools, individuals, and corporations. If you would like to compete, or are required to, please read the following information and check the appropriate box on the registration form. Please note that the competitions are run fully by the sponsors, not the Office of Undergraduate Research and Scholar Development.  Your project abstracts will be used to pre-judge your entry into most competitions.  The deadline for registration is April 5, 2024 - students must be registered by the deadline, and check each applicable competition to compete in.

Award for Artistic Excellence
Dietrich Humanities Prize
Psychology Department Competition
Sigma Xi Poster Competition
Statistics Poster Competition
Undergraduate Environmental Research Award

Other awards (For SCS STUDENTS ONLY - not available for pre-registration)
The Allen Newell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Research
Alumni Award for Undergraduate Excellence in Computer Science

Award for Artistic Excellence

The Award for Artistic Excellence receives support from two sources: engineers in support of the arts, the Center for the Arts in Society (CAS), and the Humanities Scholars Program at Carnegie Mellon. Visual and performing arts presentations are eligible for this award. Semi-finalists may be chosen from abstracts submitted during registration. 


Dietrich Humanities Prize

The Dietrich Humanities Prize is awarded to student projects that best exemplify the humanities as they are understood at Carnegie Mellon: that the study of philosophy, history, language, and cultures enriches our experience and offers a template for understanding both traditional disciplinary legacies and new directions in scholarly inquiry.  In addition to concrete emphasis on problem solving, the humanities at Carnegie Mellon seek ongoing dialogues with - not isolation from - the arts, sciences and technologies. 


Psychology Competition

The department of Psychology is sponsoring a presentation competition for all undergraduate students who are presently advised by a member of the psychology department. A panel of faculty judges will evaluate each project on the following criteria:

- Quality of the work
- Clarity of the objectives
- Significance of the work
- Creativity of the work
- Oral presentation
- Visual representation 
- Response to questions

A cash prize will be awarded for the best presentations.

Sigma Xi Poster Competition

The Sigma Xi poster competition is an independently sponsored event within the Undergraduate Research Symposium. Coordinated by the Carnegie Mellon chapter of Sigma Xi, a national honor society for those engaging in scientific research, the competition is open to students presenting posters in the quantitative sciences. (*The organizers reserve the right to not accept an abstract if the research is of non-quantitative nature.*)  In the past, this has included students from the life sciences, physical sciences, engineering, and quantitative social sciences. Students MUST select the Poster Only presentation type in the Registration Portal.

A panel of judges judges drawn from the University and industry will rate your presentation using the following equally-weighted criteria:

-Abstract quality and clarity 
-Clarity of objective
-Organization of thoughts
-General quality of work
-Conveyed significance of work
-Oral presentation skills
-Visual presentation quality
-Response to questions

First, second, and third place winners will be selected from the judges scores.  

Statistics Poster Competition

This competition is sponsored by the Department of Statistics & Data Science. Its purpose is to encourage undergraduate projects and research in statistics, and to educate the CMU community about the wide range of interdisciplinary projects available at all levels. The competition is open to any student or team of students who have completed a project under supervision or with guidance of a Statistics faculty member. At least half the members of a team must be enrolled at CMU as undergraduates in the spring semester of 2024. A panel of judges will rate the projects according to the following criteria:

-quality of abstract
-clarity of objective
-organization of thoughts
-general quality of work
-significance of work
-oral presentation skills
-visual presentation quality
-appropriate use of statistical methods
-responses to questions

Top teams will receive a cash prize.

Undergraduate Environmental Research Award

All Undergraduate Research Symposium participants undertaking projects with a strong environmental component are eligible to enter the competition for the Undergraduate Environmental Research Award. This award is sponsored by the Steinbrenner Institute for Environmental Education and Research and the Green Design Institute. 

A panel of judges will rate your poster or presentation using the following criteria:

-Responsibility for the work
-Understanding the work
-Understanding of the environmental relevance
-Understanding of the context and other approaches
-Quality of the work

The award winning poster will receive a cash prize of $250, and at least one runner-up poster will be given with a cash prize of $100. 



The Allen Newell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Research

Open only to SCS Honors Senior Thesis students. Contact the SCS Undergraduate Deans Office for further information.  This endowed award, established in 1993, is presented annually by the School of Computer Science. Allen Newell had a long, rich and distinguished scientific career that contributed to multiple subdisciplines in computer science. Still, each individual endeavor was pursued with a characteristic style that his colleagues, students, and friends recognized as essential to Allen. Owing to the breadth and scope of Allen's contributions, this award recognizes extraordinary undergraduate research in his scientific style rather than computer science research in a particular area. The criteria by which a research project is judged is predicated, foremost, on the belief that a good idea is not enough.  The qualities that transform a good idea into good science can be captured in three maxims attributable to Allen:
1) Good science responds to real phenomena or real problems.
2) Good science is in the details.
3) Good science makes a difference.

SCS Alumni Award for Undergraduate Excellence

Open only to SCS Honors Senior Thesis students.  Please contact the SCS Deans Office for further information. The SCS Alumni Award for Undergraduate Excellence, established in 2003, is granted on behalf of Carnegie Mellon School of Computer Science alumni. The Award recognizes technical excellence in research and development. The Award is also intended to promote awareness within the undergraduate community that graduation represents both the end of an important phase of life and the beginning of a new phase within the vibrant Carnegie Mellon University School of Computer Science community as an alumnus. The Alumni Award recognizes such factors as contribution to the state of the art; technical excellence; potential societal impact; accessibility; quality of the written, oral, and poster presentations; and generated excitement among the alumni community participating in the process.