Student Academic Conference Presentation Information
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.
Most interactions with audience members are around 5 minutes.
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.
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).
- 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 February 28, 2021. Work on your presentation until April. Present April 20, 2021.
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.
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.
- Prepare for a 12 minute presentation followed by 5 minutes for questions and discussion, unless you requested more time or are part of a panel organized by your instructor.
- Aim your presentation to intelligent people who may not have background in your field.
- Consequently, while being rigorous and using the tools in your field for your research, try to avoid using the technical language in your field during the presentation.
- Prepare and practice your presentation. Remember you are the expert in your topic and you may know more than you can say in a short time, so:
- Compose a good introduction
- Focus on the main, most important points of your research
- Finish with a strong conclusion
- Visual aids (PowerPoint slides, maps, photos, film clips, graphs, diagrams, and charts) may help enhance your presentation. Be sure to:
- Keep your visual aids simple and uncluttered
- Use color and contrast, but use them in moderation
- Use a font large enough to be seen from the back of a room (as a rule of thumb, if slides are readable from 9 feet away on a 15" computer monitor, then they are readable from the back of a room)
- Practice does make perfect!
- Practice giving your presentation to yourself. Speak out loud and time yourself. Practice using your visual aids. It is absolutely important that you adhere to your time limit.
- Backup plans are essential!
- Things can go wrong, prepare for that eventuality. For example, internet connectivity can be down for a short while...just as your presentation starts. So, have a plan B ready!