Student Academic Conference Presentation Information

The online application is down but will be back soon. In the meantime, use these instructions to begin preparing your presentation.

At Minnesota State University Moorhead, our purpose is to transform the world by transforming lives. Few experiences are as life-changing as the opportunity to engage in original research or creative activity and present the results to our academic community.

Poster Presentation
A typical poster presentation involves the presenter(s) standing by a poster on an easel, and fielding questions from an audience which moves through the various posters.
Oral Presentation
A typical presentation involves the presenter and often some sort of visual aid (such as a PowerPoint) which the presenter uses to convey information about a topic. Audience members generally stay in the room for the whole presentation. Other oral presentations have included debates, lessons created by education students, original media productions, and original artistic performances.
Poster Presentation
The audience is mobile and random.
Oral Presentation
The audience is seated for the duration of the presentation.
Length of presentation
Poster Presentation
The presenter will spend an 80 minute session accompanying his or her poster.
Most interactions with audience members are around 5 minutes.
Oral Presentation
Typical presentation time is 20 minutes, with 3 minutes for transition from the previous presentation, 12 minutes for the student presentation, and 5 minutes for questions. All presentations should allow at least 5 minutes for questions.
Poster Presentation
The presenter is given an easel and a specified location. No other equipment (electric cords, ethernet cables, tables, chairs, computers, etc.) is provided. If additional equipment is needed, please feel free to ask for it, but formal presentations will receive priority on computers, projectors, etc. Presenters are, however, more than welcome to bring their own laptops.
CRUCIAL NOTE: Posters must be RIGID to sit on the easels. If a poster is printed on poster paper, it will curl and fall off the easel unless attached to a firm backing. Many students had to run back to their department the day of the conference to scrounge cardboard for backing.
Oral Presentation
Standard provided equipment: P.C. computer, internet, & projector.
Different presentations need different equipment. There is a wide range of equipment available that you may request if needed (laptops, PowerPoint projectors, TV’s, DVD players, VCR players, sound/speakers, whiteboards).
Number presenting
Poster Presentation
Individual or group
Oral Presentation
Individual or group

So you are interested in the Student Academic Conference (SAC), but you do not know what it is and you do not know what to do. Now what?

  • The most important step is getting in touch with a faculty member to serve as your mentor. If you already have one, great. If not, seek a faculty member who teaches a class in or otherwise works with the area you wish to learn more about.
  • Meet with your mentor about your application and project. Discuss the topic, title, whether or not you need to apply for Institutional Review Board permission, abstract, methodology, appropriate type of presentation (poster/oral presentation), group or individual presentation, special needs, time constraints, etc.
  • Apply online before March 29, 2024. Work on your presentation until April. Present April 23, 2024.

The table below provides detail for 4 possible paths to the SAC depending on whether you are in independent study, a class with a large project, in a class that made you want to do more outside of class, or other.

Person to talk to
Steps to take
Student working with a faculty member on independent study or research.
Person to talk to
The faculty member who is working with you is the obvious choice.
Steps to take
Meet with your faculty member about presenting your work/findings.
This is a great natural fit, and presenting at the SAC is often a requirement in these cases.
Student in a class (or who has already completed a class) that has a large project (feasibility study, lesson plan, capstone).
Person to talk to
Talk to the instructor of that class, first. If that instructor is not interested in being your SAC advisor, another faculty in the same field or your academic advisor might be interested.
Steps to take
Discuss any modifications to the project you created for class that might need to be made to make it a good poster or presentation for the SAC.
In some cases, instructors have given extra credit in the class comparable to the extra work needed to create the SAC presentation. This information is often in the syllabus.
Student who completed an activity in a class that really opened his/her eyes to an exciting issue in that field of study and made him/her want to learn more outside of class.
Person to talk to
As above, talk with that instructor first. If that instructor is not interested in being your SAC advisor, another faculty in the same field or your academic advisor might be interested.
Steps to take
How can you take that idea further? Secondary research (reading the ideas of others) is one route. Primary research appropriate to that field of study, such as using existing data sets, conducting a survey or experiment is another. This might lead to independent study/research as listed in the first row.
Several good presentations have come from students who have taken a small, in-class activity and expanded it as the basis for an independent study. The SAC is a perfect forum for sharing the results of this independent study.
Other, for instance: member of a team, group or student organization.
Person to talk to
Your organization’s faculty advisor or coach would be the appropriate choice, if applicable. Failing this, your academic advisor is a possibility.
Steps to take
Find a topic related to your group that has a broader public interest.
While mere advertising posters are not appropriate (Join the ____ club!), your passion for you organization might give you an opportunity to do primary or secondary research. For instance, football concussions have been in the news lately. “Do rugby athletes (no helmets) have higher rates of concussions that football players?” might be a presentation that would interest many people and be of interest to people on either the MSUM football team or Rugby Club.

Before applying, please make sure that you have the names, emails, and Dragon ID's of all participants in your group.

Please make sure you have discussed your presentation with your project advisor, including any IRB (Institutional Review Board, for ANY project involving human subjects) concerns if using human subjects in any way. You will need your advisor's email address.

Finally, these links may be helpful to you as you write your abstract.

  1. The suggested poster area is 3 feet high and 4 feet long.
  2. Student presenters will assigned to one 80 minute session. For posters in Session I from 9:40am to 11:00am, Session II from 12:40pm to 2:00pm, and Session III from 2:10 to 3:30.
  3. A few minutes before your session begins find your easel number and set your poster up—while we will provide you the easel, be sure to bring a board or something rigid where you can set your poster.
  4. When someone stops at your poster, you should provide a short overview of the project and answer questions a visitor might have. Try to respond in non-technical language unless you know the person is technically proficient. Students should be available for the duration of their session.
  5. When your session is over, take your poster down so the next presenter can set his or her poster up.
  6. Be sure to include your Presentation ID# (which can be found on the SAC schedule after submissions close) and the evaluation link/QR code in your poster. The link and QR code are provided in the templates below.
  7. Prepare your poster using one of the following templates.
  8. Some additional tips for making your poster more readable:
    • The title of your paper and the author(s) names should be at least 1 inch high (font size 72)
    • The title of your paper should be at the top of the poster—the title and author(s) names on the center, left, or right of the poster
    • The font of the body should be at least 3/8 of an inch (font size 28)
    • Works cited or references should have a smaller font size than 28, suggested font size 22
    • The poster should be edited carefully
    • The poster should be printed (rare exceptions would be permitted)
    • The poster should have rigid backing, so please bring poster board

Poster Suggestions

When preparing your poster, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Would someone reading this poster walk away understanding the major findings or points of the paper?
  • Would a careful reader be able to ask relevant questions about my work?
  • Is the sequence of information clear? Use arrows, numbers, or letters to let the reader know the flow of information.
  • Include the major points only; leave less essential information for informal discussions.

In addition to a title and author label and abstract, most successful posters provide brief statements of introduction, method, procedure, results, and conclusions. Speak to your advisor for conventions specific to your field.

  1. Oral presentations will take place in the rooms assigned in the SAC schedule. A limited number of presentations may be done remotely.
  2. Presentations will be live, not recorded.
  3. There will be a monitor for each session.
  4. You will be presenting as part of a session where there will be other student presenters. The sessions last 80 minutes and start at 9:40am, 12:40pm, and 2:00pm. Each presenter has 12 minutes to present and 5 minutes to answer questions from the audience, except in sessions specially arranged by the instructor in which case the length of a presentation may be different.
  5. Please plan to come to your room a few minutes before the session begins.
  6. Be sure to stay for the full length of your session – be there for those who present before you and stay for those who present after you. It is simple courtesy to other presenters.
  7. You should aid your presentations with slide, using the following template.
    • Make sure you fill in your Presentation ID# in the slide about evaluation.
    • Do not delete the slide with the QR code and link to presentation evaluation.
    • Sample Oral Presentation Template

Free SAC poster printing is available if you use one of the provided templates and follow the upload instructions you receive by email. Free poster printing must be uploaded by midnight April 12, 2024.

These off-campus vendors can also print your poster with a 10-day turnaround time. Reach out to them directly.

  • Sign Badgers, West Fargo - 701.478.4440
  • Superfrog Signs & Graphics, Moorhead - 218.236.7000
  • Office Sign Company, Fargo - 701.526.3835