Information for Students

Abstract and Artist Statement Guidelines

Simply put, an abstract is a brief (1-2 paragraph) written summary of your project that generally highlights the purpose, scope or objectives, central thesis, process or methodology, and outcomes or potential impact. Abstracts are often required for presentation at academic conferences and submission to scholarly publications. In addition, the writing should be accessible to a non-expert audience.

An artist's statement is a written statement made by the artist that introduces their work, the ideas or themes explored, the process, materials, and methods employed, and impact (if applicable).

Students presenting in the Undergraduate Symposium will submit an abstract that will be published in the Symposium Booklet. Abstract and artist statements should not exceed 250 words.

Abstracts will be published as they are submitted; please proofread before submitting to ensure a high-quality abstract free of grammatical errors.

  • Between 100 - 250 words
  • Includes: Project Title, Co-Presenters and/or Contributors, Faculty Mentor or Project Supervisor
  • State the purpose of your (research project, creative work, etc.)
  • State your project's central argument, hypothesis, or artistic idea in clear, precise language
  • Avoid the overuse of industry-specific jargon (should be understandable to a non-expert audience!)
  • In two to four sentences, briefly discuss your process (methodology, procedure, or iterative process).
  • What were the project outcomes? What discoveries were made or lessons learned? If it is an ongoing project, what are the next steps?
  • Include references and footnotes, when appropriate
  • Be mindful of intellectual property law (abstracts should be reviewed and approved by your faculty mentor prior to being submitted to the Symposium)


Abstracts from previous Symposiums are available on the Undergraduate Symposium main page.


All undergraduate students with good academic standing are eligible to participate in the Symposium! We accept submissions from students across all class years and disciplines.

Virtual Format

Keynote Speaker Panel via Zoom

Awarded to 3 or 4 seniors with projects that demonstrate a significant contribution or impact in a disciplinary field, community, or global arena. Keynote Speakers receive a $250 award and present their work in a live Zoom panel. Open to graduating seniors only; visit the Keynote Speaker page for more info.

Group Panel Presentation via Zoom (limited slots available)

A panel typically consists of a group of students who present a single, collaborative project, or separate projects centered around a common theme or issue. Panels are 30 - 60 minutes long and are moderated by a faculty member or a student. In order to avoid scheduling overlap (i.e. multiple panels held at the same time), panel slots are limited and will be reviewed and assigned by the UGS review committee.

Video Presentation

Students may submit a 5 - 10 minute video presentation to be featured in the Simmons Undergraduate Symposium video exhibit on YouTube. Videos may include slideshows, images, animations, and occasionally audio or media clips (copyright laws may apply). Your video can be a short elevator pitch, a creative reel, or a longer presentation of your research. Many presenters use Zoom or Loom to record their videos. Check out the UGS Presenter Guidelines for more information.

Presenter Guidelines

Presenting in front of a live or virtual audience can feel daunting. Advance preparation and practice allows you to organize your ideas in the most effective way and can help reduce pre-performance jitters.

Here are some guidelines to get you started:

1. Start with your abstract. (See the previous section for more guidance.) If your abstract is outlined well, your presentation will be a more fleshed-out, detailed version that follows the same general structure.

2. Write a script. You may choose to write a word-for-word transcript or simply jot down notes. Either way, your script will include the following points (generally in this order):

  • Introduction (self): your name, year, major
  • Introduce your faculty mentor and any co-presenters or contributors
  • Introduction (project): project title and a one-sentence description of the project (ex: "My project title is ___________ and it explores/investigates/interrogates/aims to/ ___________.")
  • the context or potential impact
  • the central argument / hypothesis (or theme / idea)
  • the process
  • the outcomes or key takeaways

Be mindful of intellectual property and make sure to cite any relevant sources when applicable.

3. Compile any relevant visual objects that you might want to include: charts, graphs, photos, illustrations, short video clips, etc.

  • Make a slideshow (PowerPoint, Google Slides, Prezi) to aid your presentation (see HubSpot's excellent YouTube video on how to create an effective slideshow presentation).
  • Include a title or cover slide with your name/year/major/institution, your faculty mentor's name and title, and the names of any co-presenters or contributors.
  • Make sure to cite your sources when applicable.

4. Practice your presentation with your faculty mentor, advisor or a classmate! You'll want to watch for timing and transitions. If your presentation is too long (as they often are), go back to your script and determine whether anything can be removed or said more efficiently.

5. View the UGS Video Presenter Guidelines for more guidance on how to structure a video presentation, visual elements, performance tips, and technical elements.

The Office of Undergraduate Research and Fellowships offers 1:1 abstract review and presenter practice sessions! Please email us at [email protected] to set up an appointment.

Coming Soon: Reserve the Alden Trust Video Studio to record your presentation!