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.

Students may submit one application for an ACE Talk.

Each student selected to give an ACE Talk will receive a $500 scholarship award. ACE Talk awardees will record a 15-minute video that will be posted on the online 2024 Undergraduate Research Symposium event page as a featured presentation. 

    Your application to give an ACE Talk is composed of two equally important pieces:

    1. Your abstract (250 words or less) and
    2. A 3-minute video of yourself explaining your project.(YouTube link)

    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 the ACE Talk applicant deadline, 11:59pm, Sunday, 3/31/24.

    ACE Talk applications are evaluated based on:

    1. Quality of project: the research itself is rigorous and of high quality. The project is far enough along to have initial results or conclusions.
    2. Expertise: student understands their research and its significance to the larger academic conversation & communicates the complexities of their project to others.
    3. Accessibility: avoids jargon and explains their research clearly to an intelligent but non-specialist audience.
    4. Verbal communication skills
    5. Engagement: makes the audience interested in the topic and want to know more.

    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.

    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.

    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, web cameras, a sound recording booth, and staff that will help you with any of these tools.


    See below for one example of an application video from a previous ACE Talk presenter. 

    Other Examples & Tips:

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