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How can one be well-prepared to present at the undergraduate research symposium? How can we derive the best out of it?

I’m really excited for this year’s undergraduate research symposium. I don’t really know the type or the nature of research projects usually submitted at the symposium. It is one of the most important student events for me, and I want to be well-prepared for it. I wish to give a poster presentation but don’t know how. This might sound naïve, but I haven’t attended many educational events because of which I am quite unclear about the requirements my presentation should meet. It’d be great if someone could help me out cause the event is in August.

James Washington

in Events and Holidays

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Bethany Evans on June 19, 2018

Firstly, you don’t have to be apologetic for being “naïve” about presenting in such an educational event. Trust me, many students who have already presented a number of times still find themselves nervous. When it comes to doing any kind of professional research, one must be ready and willing to present it to the world when it finished. The research symposium for undergraduates is a platform where you can present what you have learned from your research. It offers a forum where you can network with other students to enhance your own knowledge.  You can identify your shortcomings and build upon them in the future. Moreover, seeing other students present their research will give you the necessary confidence in your own work. You will also gain exposure to a number of other academic disciplines and who knows, maybe you may become interested in taking a cross-disciplinary approach to your own research!

I really think that in order to be well-prepared for presenting at the symposium or any other important events for students, you must be in a position to identify and understand the kind of research you are doing. You should have solved some really solid research questions. Research symposiums are an opportunity for students to present what they have discovered. You should be confident in your research work and know everything about it as you will be questioned a lot while presenting. At one of the events, I remember how a professor cross-questioned a student regarding the mistakes she had made. He gave her a few ideas for her research and told her how she could improve it. You should understand that at the symposium, you may be criticized. Be prepared to receive it well and take it as a learning experience. Here are a few more tips:

  • Practice speaking orally in front of a mirror or some people before presenting at the symposium. Keep your tone formal.
  • Identify the gaps and problems in your research beforehand and be prepared to answer and explain it.
  • Keep your talk short. First start with explaining objectives, then the background of the research. Be well-prepared with the calculations involved in your research.
  • Stand beside your poster, not in front of it. Always be ready to present your work to any visitor who shows interest in it.

Follow these tips, and you will surely get the best out of the symposium. All the best. 

Eric Bates2 years ago

Those are some really good tips. I’d like to add that many students forget that they are there at the student event for a purpose. Their aim is to explain their research, not just stand there while visitors pass by. In my personal experience, I have shown interest in the research of many students but they rather just gaze at you instead of promptly explaining their research. They probably think the poster says it all and they don’t need to explain anything. This is a very unnerving approach and does not speak well about the students. One must take such events seriously. They expose you to a wide audience, and the possibilities are endless. Who knows, someone might just take an interest in your research and may offer to fund it so you can take it to the next level! Always be alert and keep an eye out for anyone who might be interested in your poster. Greet him warmly and tell about your work enthusiastically. 


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