Frequently Asked Questions

I'm interested in the panel session and the poster exhibit. Can I participate in more than one session of the symposium?

Students may apply to present one project at the Undergraduate Symposium (i.e. as a panel presenter, a keynote speaker, a poster presenter, a performing artist, etc.). Multiple submissions are not allowed. For group presentations, only one member of the group should submit the proposal, taking care to name the other project members.

I'm interested in being a keynote speaker. How do I apply?

The keynote session includes presentations by up to four undergraduate students with outstanding projects in their discipline. Keynote speakers will receive a monetary award of $250. A student must receive a nomination from a faculty member to be considered for the keynote session. Keynote speakers meet the following criteria:

  • Senior class standing
  • Project must include a compelling thesis, hypothesis, or idea/message
  • Demonstrates scholarly or imaginative engagement in the subject
  • Topic is of interest to a wider audience
  • Particularly competitive abstracts will demonstrate a new contribution to the field (original work on the part of the student)

Keynote speaker applications for the 2020 Undergraduate Symposium will be accepted until 11:59 p.m. on December 8, 2019. Interested students will be asked to upload a letter of recommendation from a faculty member with their application. Letters of recommendation may also be emailed directly from the faculty member to [email protected].

I'm still in the early stages of my project. Can I apply?

Absolutely. Many students submit proposals for projects that are in progress. In lieu of reporting definitive outcomes or conclusions, you may use your abstract or artist statement to present your ideas and methodology/process, and share preliminary results or anticipated findings.

Can I enter an artistic project?

Yes! We welcome submissions in the visual, media, and performing arts. In addition to your artist statement, you may also wish to supplement your proposal with a short preview of your work, such as a portfolio sample or a short video or audio clip. For more information, email us.

What if my presentation has special needs? Will you be able to provide equipment?

Due to limited equipment availability and space constraints, we are generally unable to provide extraordinary equipment such as laptops, projectors, screens, booths, and so forth. Upon request and based on availability, we may be able to provide access to an electrical outlet. Students participating in the poster session will be provided with a dedicated easel stand; students in the panel session will have access to a projector and screen with video/audio capability.

What are the poster specifications? What are my printing options?

Typical poster dimensions are 24" x 36" in portrait or landscape orientation. Because the posters will be displayed on standing easels, posters must be affixed to a rigid backing, such as a foam-core board.

Students are responsible for printing costs associated with their presentation. The Simmons Copy Mail Center accepts printing requests and can supply foam boards at no additional charge. Other options for printing include FedEx Kinkos, Staples, and other supply and art stores.

I'm not sure how to write an abstract. Do you provide assistance with writing abstracts?

The Writing Center is available to assist students with abstract writing and proofing. Students are advised to contact the Writing Center to set up a one-on-one session and consult with their faculty mentor for assistance with writing an abstract. 

Will I have a chance to edit my abstract before it gets published in the program guide?

Students will have a chance to revise their abstract prior to publication. We will send email notifications to accepted students with a deadline reminder.

Who reviews the proposals and determines who will be able to participate?

Applications are reviewed by a committee comprised of faculty members from each of the colleges and disciplines.

What if I want to make changes to my project between the time of my submission and the day of the symposium?

Students whose proposals are accepted are welcome to submit minor changes to their project following submission, and will have some time to review and amend their abstract until April 5. However, significant amendments to the initial proposal, including the proposal of a new project, will not be accepted after the submission deadline. If you have questions about project revisions, email us.

Can I invite friends and family?

Friends, family, staff, students, and other faculty members are welcome and encouraged to attend the symposium! The event will be free and open to the public.

How do I prepare for the day of the symposium?

  1. Consult your faculty mentor for support and coaching (especially if you are nervous!). Rehearse your presentation in advance for timing, delivery, and clarity of speech and content.
  2. Carefully read the poster guidelines and printing options and deadlines.
  3. Prepare any visual aids (if necessary).
  4. Invite your friends and family!
  5. Test your media (if any) prior to your presentation.
  6. Dress professionally.
  7. Have fun!