MURALS students present at the Symposium for Inclusive Excellence

Scenes from A Glimpse of MURALS on Oct. 21. Photos by John Eisele/CSU Photography

On the final day of the Symposium for Inclusive Excellence last month, MURALS hosted A Glimpse of MURALS in the Lory Student Center Theatre.

The Multicultural Undergraduate Research Art and Leadership Symposium is an annual symposium that allows students to present all forms of scholarly work they have.

The Oct. 21 event revisited three MURALS projects that were presented at MURALS 2022. Additionally, a former MURALS winner, Hannah Gilliard, and her faculty guide, Assistant Professor Neomi Vin-Raviv from the School of Social Work, shared a tear-jerking conversation reflecting on the growth of their relationship from MURALS First Year Scholars until now (see “About MURALS” below for more information about MURALS First Year Scholars).

To conclude A Glimpse of MURALS, nine panelists, featuring First Year Scholars faculty guides, MURALS graduate coordinators, and past MURALS participants allowed the discussion to delve deeper into what it means to participate in MURALS and what is so compelling about this opportunity.

From the students sharing their passion pieces to the candid conversation to the heartwarming panel discussion, A Glimpse of MURALS was the perfect way to conclude the Inclusive Excellence Symposium.

Below is information about the students and their work. 

Joel Ibarra

Construction Management, College of Health and Human Sciences 

Project: Ibarra plans to increase support for diverse students in construction management programs by establishing a first-generation mentorship program and offering scholarships for future students to attend. He will focus on relationship building, skill building, career support and academic support.

Bemnet Tefera

Sociology and Political Science, College of Liberal Arts
Concentration in Criminal Justice and U.S. Policy

Project: Tefera found that there is a lack of networking and support for first-generation and/or marginalized students. She would like to establish an alumni mentorship to assist with post-graduate support services. Tefera will partner with campus offices such as the Student Diversity Programs and Services, the Alumni Association and the Career Center to serve alumni.

Hannah Gilliard

Biology/Biological Science, College of Natural Sciences
Concentration in Pre-Med

Project: Gilliard examined the psychological outcomes of childhood cancer survivors and found an increased risk of behavior-related causes of death. By acknowledging and building awareness of the risks, health care providers can establish preventative care for childhood cancer survivors.

Tianna Weiland

Biological Anthropology, College of Liberal Arts
Concentration in Biology

Project: Weiland believes that understanding and acknowledging ethnic disparities in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths can reduce health inequity in the future. Some sociological barriers for people of color include access to health care, immigration status, language, fear/mistrust of medical professionals and region.


MURALS is an undergraduate research and artistry symposium that provides a platform for undergraduate students with marginalized identities to showcase their scholarly work. MURALS is inclusive, rigorous, culturally relevant and fun.

On March 31, 2023, students will present their scholarly work in one of five categories: Service Learning and Leadership, Creative Arts, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, S.T.E.M., or Social Sciences/Humanities. Graduate students can volunteer to assist with scoring and the deliberation of winner. Faculty and staff may serve as faculty guides and/or poster judges. Throughout MURALS, students have the opportunity to showcase their scholarly work while representing themselves, their departments and their colleges in front of faculty, staff, peers, alumni, administration and family.

After assessing the analytics of MURALS, there was a noticeable gap in first-year students who participated. To remedy this concern, MURALS First Year Scholars was born. FYS is a mentor program that connects first year students interested in applied and basic research and scholarly activity to faculty who assist in scaffolding research opportunities. First Year Scholars faculty guides provide active mentorship within students’ areas of discipline. Faculty guides mentor students through all aspects of the research/scholarly activity process, including design of activities, use of proper techniques, data collection and analysis, reporting, publication and presentation of research findings.

For more information about MURALS and to sign up in any capacity, visit