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2021 ACE Talks

Accessible, Creative, & Engaging  Talks

As you become a more skilled researcher, you learn to use the language and jargon of your field to effectively communicate with colleagues within your discipline. Another important skill to develop as a researcher is learning how to explain your work to a general audience in clear language. Therefore, we invite all students presenting their work to apply to give an ACE Talk. These talks should be accessible, creative, and engaging.

Each student selected to give an ACE Talk will receive a $500 award and will record a 15 minute video that will posted on the online 2021 Undergraduate Research Symposium page as a featured presentation.


Your application to give an ACE Talk is composed of two equally important pieces: your abstract and a 3-minute video of yourself explaining your project. Both your abstract and your video should be crafted with a broad audience in mind: avoid jargon and make sure to touch on what makes your research exciting.  Registration for the Symposium, including your application to present an ACE Research Talk, is due by 11:59PM on Monday, April 5, 2021.

Evaluation Criteria

ACE Talk applications are evaluated based on how well the abstract and the video convey the quality of the  project, evidence of expertise in the discipline, accessibility, verbal communication skills, and the ability to engage a broad audience.  You can see the ACE Talk Evaluation score sheet here (.pdf).  Students applying in the arts should be sure to include both a brief example of their artwork (a composition, poem, painting, etc.) and a discussion of how it fits in with what other artists are doing.

NOTE: Those chosen as ACE Talk presenters will upload their presentation by 11:59pm on Sunday, April 18, 2021.

1. Abstract

Your abstract should provide a brief summary of your project.  In 250 words or less, we want to know what you did, why you did it, how you did it, and what you found/made/discovered. Please consult with your faculty mentor to be sure your project title and abstract are appropriate, as they cannot be changed. The Writing Center has tips on their website about writing abstracts.


2. Three-Minute Video

Your video should give us a preview of how you will make your project accessible, creative, and engaging to a general audience. Be our guide in understanding your research.


You may use any camera you have available, including a webcam. We are most concerned about the quality of your research project and the approach you take to explain your work, not your video camera quality.  

KU's Media Production Studio provides free access to computers with video editing software, webcameras, a sound recording booth, and staff that will help you with any of these tools.


Here are a couple of application videos from previous ACE Talk presenters.  You should notice that each student used different technology and software to make the video. What they have in common is that they did a good job of making their research understandable to a general audience.

ACE Talk- Ecopoetics from Rachel Cross on Vimeo.

ACE Talk - Lipid Monolayer Compression Isotherms for Characterization of Adjuvant Mechanisms of Action from Andrea Livingston on YouTube

video platform video management video solutionsvideo player

ACE Talk - An Examination of the Structure of Obsessive Compulsive Personality Traits in Autism Spectrum Disorders Using Network Analysis from Katherine Deckert.

Other Examples & Tips:


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