background image
  • Checklists

Student Academic Conference

  • Checklists

    O.K, 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 the mentor about your application, 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 2, 2015 (Those who wish to attend the MN Undergraduate Scholar Conference must apply by February 13, 2015). Work on your presentation until April. Present April 14, 2015.

    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.

    Situation Person to talk to Steps to take Comments
    Student working with a faculty member on independent study or research. The faculty member who is working with you is the obvious choice. 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). 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. 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. 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? 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. Your organization’s faculty advisor or coach would be the appropriate choice, if applicable. Failing this, your academic advisor is a possibility. Find a topic related to your group that has a broader public interest. While mere advertizing 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.