Information for Students

Abstract Guidelines

For general submission to the Simmons Undergraduate Symposium, abstracts should follow these guidelines. Students submitting work in the performing, visual, or media arts should submit an artist's statement incorporating these criteria, in addition to a short performance preview or a selection of the images to be presented. Abstract and artist statements should not exceed 250  words.

Abstracts will be published in the Undergraduate Symposium program brochure. Participants will be able to revise their abstracts until April 1.

  • State, in clear terms, the central thesis or goals.
  • Avoid the overuse of technical jargon (should be understandable to people outside of your discipline).
  • Provide a brief discussion of the process or methodology used.
  • Primary data or progress-to-date is acceptable for abstract submission.
  • State the project significance and/or conclusions in context.
  • Organize your abstract in a clear and concise narrative.

Additional Resources:


All undergraduate students with good academic standing are eligible to participate in the Undergraduate Symposium and are encouraged to submit work for consideration. Students are required to have a faculty sponsor who will agree to recommend the project and assist with the abstract submission and presentation components of the symposium.


The Undergraduate Symposium welcomes submissions across the disciplines, in a variety of formats. 

    Panel Sessions
    Students may present individual or group oral presentations, which are typically organized into panels of 3 to 4 speakers based on topic by the event organizers.  Individual presentations are 10 - 12 minutes each, followed by a 15-minute audience Q&A.  Longer group presentations may be organized into a single panel, usually 45 minutes followed by a 15-minute audience Q&A.

    Poster Exhibit
    The poster exhibit offers students an opportunity to present their work visually and to engage in direct conversation with symposium attendees.  Poster exhibits are often represented by traditional posters, but may also include visual artistic work, such as photography, painting, and mixed media, or other non-traditional forms of visual representation.

    Digital/Media Arts  
    Students may submit a media project, such as a film production, animation, musical composition, website, game, or mobile app.  On the application form, the applicant will be asked to identify the nature of their work and specify any special logistical needs.  In addition, applicants may be asked to submit supplementary material or a digital sample of their work.

    Visual Arts  
    Students may submit a visual art project, such as painting, sculpture, photography, or other stationary forms of art.  On the application form, the applicant will be asked to identify the nature of their work and specify any special logistical needs.  In addition, applicants may be asked to submit supplementary material or a digital sample of their work.  

    Performing Arts  
    Students may submit a performance art project to the symposium.  On the application form, the applicant will be asked to identify the nature of their work and specify any special logistical needs.  In addition, applicants may be asked to submit supplementary material or a digital sample of their work.

    Questions about project forms may be emailed.

    3D Awards

    Inclusive Excellence
    This award winner has a plan that centralizes inclusive excellence and equity. The 3D plan demonstrates a commitment to creating more just and equitable societies, whether that entails studying systems of oppression, creating plans for change, or learning from those who have made social justice a cornerstone of their life’s work.

    Most Innovative
    This award rewards 3D plans that think outside of the box, privileging originality, creativity, and risk-taking.  Students applying for this award should consider what is new, different, or unexpected about their approach.

    Most Community-Oriented
    This award seeks applicants whose 3Ds purposefully engage with specific communities or populations, and strive to better understand their workings. Classes included in these 3Ds may involve community-based learning, either formal or informal. Applicants should explain how real-world settings and issues inform their 3D plans.

    Most Global
    This award will be given to the student who demonstrates an ability to think in global terms about their chosen issue or topic. While the topic itself need not be global per se, the award will be given to a student who most effectively demonstrates that their approach takes international perspectives, attitudes, and systems into account.

    Students are invited to submit a 300-350 word description of their 3D proposal, explaining why they exemplify the following criteria.  Winners will have the opportunity to present their 3D and receive their award at the Undergraduate Symposium on April 23.  Recipients will receive an award of $250.

    Poster guidlines

    Standard poster dimensions are in landscape or portrait layout, and are typically 24" x 36". Your poster should include:

    • A title
    • Your name (with the names of group members, if applicable), contributor names, institution name, and faculty mentor name

    Posters displaying work in the physical, biological, or social sciences typically include the following:

    • Brief project introduction
    • Method (subjects, procedure)
    • Outcomes
    • Discussion
    • Illustrations (tabular and/or graphic) that support major points

    Your poster design can be creative and may and incorporate color, images, graphic elements, diagrams, and so forth. As you design your poster, keep in mind the audience, which may include people who are unfamiliar with your discipline and subject. Because people will initially view your poster in passing, your heading and sub-heading should be brief and attention-grabbing.

    Avoid using lengthy technical jargon or overwhelming observers with too much text. You will be able to elaborate on the finer points of your project with exhibit attendees interested in learning more about your work.

    Printing and materials

    Posters must be affixed (i.e. pinned or tacked) to a rigid backing, such as a foam board. Participants in the poster exhibit will be provided with a standing easel and one 24" x 36" foam board.

    Students may procure one complimentary (24" x 36") foam board from the Simmons Copy Mail Center; foam boards in other sizes may be purchased from art supply stores, such as Blicks or Staples.

    Students are responsible for printing costs associated with their presentation. You can submit your request via email:

    • In the subject line of your email, please include "Poster Order: (Your Name)", including the names of any group members. In the body of the message, include the project title and poster size.
    • The recommended dimensions for your poster are 24 in. x 36 in. in landscape or portrait orientation.  Dimensions may vary, but keep in mind that there will be several easels per exhibit row and minimal space between easels; as such, the maximum width of the poster should not exceed 36 in.
    • All attachments should be in PDF format.
    • When converting from PPT to PDF, please ensure that the Design Layout Dimensions reflect 24" x 36" landscape criteria.
    • Save and name your file: Symposium Poster Presentation_[Your Name]
    • Email your request to and

    Please note that the Copy Mail Center is very busy at that time of the year with printing requests, so do not wait until the last minute to submit your request. 

    Keynote speakers

    The keynote session includes 15-minute presentations by four undergraduate students with outstanding projects in their discipline.  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
    • Offers persuasive evidence (required for research projects)
    • 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)

    Students interested in being considered for the keynote session will be asked to submit a letter of recommendation from a faculty member with their application.