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Prepare for the Spring Symposium

Prepare to Present

To help you prepare to present your work, workshops will be offered in the weeks leading up to the Symposium.  All students presenting their work are required to attend a presentation workshop. If one of these times does not work with your schedule, please contact us to set up a time to meet individually with a staff member.

If you are teaching a class that requires students to present at the Symposium, Center staff can come to your class to do a workshop instead of your students attending the general workshops listed below.  To request a staff member come to your class to do a presentation workshop, email us at

As you prepare, we also recommend that you look over the rubrics the judges will be using to evaluate and provide feedback for students who have opted in to being evaluated. Oral presentations will be evaluated using the oral presentation rubric (doc) (research talks) or the artist's talk rubric (doc) (artist talks), and poster/displays will be evaluated using the poster presentation rubric (doc) (research) or the creative displays rubric (doc) (arts projects).  Awards for outstanding presentations will be announced at the banquet dinner.

  • Oral presentation & Artist's Talk workshops:
    • Monday, April 20, 2020, 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM; Forum D, Burge Union
    • Tuesday, April 21, 2020, 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM; LEEP 2425​
    • Wednesday, April 22, 2020, 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM; LEEP 2420
  • Poster presentation & Display of Creative Work workshops:
    • Tuesday, April 7, 2020, 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM; The Jay, Kansas Union
    • Wednesday, April 8, 2020, 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM; Alderson, Kansas Union
    • Wednesday, April 14, 2020, 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM; Big 12 Room, Kansas Union

Poster presentations should be 3 feet tall by 4 feet wide. Oral presentations should be 10 minutes in length.


Prepare to Attend

Most people haven't been to anything quite like a research symposium. It's an exciting event full of energetic people who care deeply about the topics they're discussing—that's what makes it so fun! But it can also be overwhelming as a first time attendee. Let's start with the basics:

What should I wear?

If you're attending as an audience member, you can dress casually. If you're attending a national conference, we'd recommend asking your faculty mentor this question for guidance.

If you're presenting at our symposium, we'd recommend dressing up a bit—go with a business casual outfit. The KU Career Center has a free professional clothing closet available

When should I arrive?

If you're attending as an audience member, we recommend arriving 10 minutes early so you can be sure to find a seat, turn off your cell phone, and take a quick glance at the program booklet.  Mark sessions, performances, and poster presentations that you want to be sure to attend.  This will help you keep your schedule straight as the day goes on.

If you're presenting at our symposium, make sure to arrive during the registration period so you can check-in, locate your room, prepare your talk, display, or poster, and still have time to look at the program booklet.  As you plan your schedule for the day, make sure to build in some buffer time before your presentation so that you can do any last minute talk practice or relaxation that you may need.

What's this booklet you gave me?

The program booklet is your guide to the day.  It lists the times and locations for all of the sessions and breaks.

What are the unwritten etiquette rules for the Symposium?

Here are some general rules of thumb to help you avoid a symposium faux pas:

Oral Presentations and Artist's Talks

  • If you want to take photos, be sure to get permission from the presenter ahead of time.
  • Make sure your phone is silenced and put away.
  • Being an active participant by taking notes on intriguing ideas or jotting down questions during each presentation will help you get the most out of the day.
  • Applaud the presenter at the end of the talk or performance.
  • Ask questions at the end of the talk or performance. You might refer to your notes to help you remember your questions from earlier in the presentation. Questions that spark the best conversation typically follow up on something the presenter talked about; don't set out with a goal of stumping someone.
  • If you arrive late or need to leave in the middle of a session, wait to move around until the breaks in between presenters. If that's not possible, try to sit close to the door or at the back of the room.

Displays or Poster Presentations

  • If you see a presenter without an audience, don't just stand there—go find out about that project.
  • When you approach a display or poster presentation, introduce yourself and ask the presenter to explain the project.
  • Ask questions, especially if the project is about a subject that is new to you. Your questions could just be about how the presenter got involved or what the next steps would be.
  • Thank the presenter for telling you about the project.

Symposium Quick Links

Deadline: 11:59 pm, March 18, 2020

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