2024 Research Symposium

2024 Research Symposium

The 2024 Research Symposium will be held April 25-26. The schedule for each day will be:

Thursday, April 25

  • 5:30 PM – 6:30 PM – Keynote Speaker, Dr. Robert Hesse, Jones Hall
  • 6:45 PM – 8:00 PM – Poster Presentations, Academic Mall

Friday, April 26

  • 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM – Oral Presentations and Capstones, Malloy Basement
  • 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM – Graduate Student Virtual Oral Presentations
  • 3:00 PM – 5:00 PM – Honors Colloquium, Jones Hall

Symposium Program Graduate Virtual Program


Keynote Speaker

Deacon Robert J. Hesse, PH.D.

Dr. Hesse will discuss Medical Research on Interfaith Centering Prayer’s Effects on Quality-of-Life Improvements for patients suffering from various diseases.

Hesse’s acclaimed book Faith and Science: A Journey into God’s Mystical Love” is a textbook for his Faith and Science (F&S) graduate courses at the University of St. Thomas (UST) and the Pontifical University in Rome. He is Chairman and Co-Founder of Contemplative Network (CN) dedicated to interfaith  centering prayer, medical research on its effects, and healing ministries based on that research. CN (www.contemplative.net) is planning the first, regularly scheduled F&S Conference in Rome for the Jubilee Year 2025, using Hesse’s book as an agenda.

Hesse studied 6 years for the priesthood, has degrees in both F&S, earned professional engineering licenses in four states and three disciplines, and has traveled to over 100 countries on all 7 continents. He is a permanent Catholic deacon serving the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston and retired board Vice Chairman and current faculty of the Institute for Spirituality and Health in the Texas Medical Center. He is Adjunct Professor at UST and faculty member at Fr. Spitzer’s Magis Center and the Emmaus Spirituality Center. He formerly served on the Archdiocesan Deacon Spiritual and Community Life Committees and on Holy Name Retreat Center, numerous ACTS, and prison Kolbe retreat teams.

While a young seminarian, Hesse went on retreat at Gethsemani monastery, home to then hermit Trappist Monk Thomas Merton, whose books later inspired Hesse’s contemplative prayer practice.  Hesse was appointed by Trappist Monk Thomas Keating a Commissioned Presenter and Co-coordinator for Contemplative Outreach Ltd. (COL). In response to an invitation by the Dalai Lama to Keating, Keating designated Hesse his emissary to the first COL dialogue with Dalai Lama’s Mind & Life Institute for research on contemplatives.

Learn more about Dr. Hesse at his website and YouTube Channel.  His book and guide can be found on Amazon: Faith and Science: A Journey into God's Mystical Love and Teacher’s Guide to Faith and Science: A Journey into God's Mystical Love.

watch live


Review the below abstract submissions from UST students showcasing a few of the many outstanding presentations submitted for last year’s Annual Research Symposium.

The Research Symposium promotes undergraduate and graduate research at the University of St. Thomas. Involvement in research teaches students respect for the precepts of honesty and professional ethics.

The Committee on Student Research solicits and screens projects, conducts the annual Research Symposium in the spring and identifies potential grant sources for undergraduate research. Involving close faculty collaboration, undergraduate student research teaches students to be critical thinkers in interpreting and applying the results of their inquiries.

Students learn to analyze outcomes as relevant or faulty and approach all knowledge with a purposeful skepticism until the facts are determined.

Students who receive funding from the Committee on Student Research will present their research at the Undergraduate Research Symposium. A number of students will pursue the opportunity to present their work in other venues regionally and nationally.


Finally, the underlying purpose of undergraduate research is to prepare students for the professional world — public, private or academic. Experience with the research tools and practice of their discipline gives UST graduates firsthand knowledge and makes our alumni more competitive in the marketplace.