direct edit

Submission Process

The submission site is open to EMU undergraduate students, November 15-January 15.

Submit Now

The online submission process is completed by the student presenters and includes a single paragraph, 700 characters or less (including spaces) abstract for each presentation. Abstracts are written with support and review by the faculty mentor prior to submission.

Abstract Guidelines:

As you prepare to submit your research for presentation, you must prepare an electronic file in a .doc or .docx format for upload.

Make this document mirror how you want it printed in the program. Include in your document:

  • Presentation Title (see guidelines below)
  • Student name(s) 
  • Faculty mentor(s)
  • Abstract (see guidelines below)
  • Presentation category (oral, poster, or Design Expo exhibit)

Guidelines for Presentation Title:

  • Title Case Used and Special Characters Formatted
  • Max of 100 characters including spaces
  • Proper titles within title formatted in italics

Guidelines for Abstract:

  • Spell checked; concise and well-written
  • Max of 700 characters including spaces
  • Special characters formatted and proper titles in italics
  • Written for a wide audience with minimal jargon

Research presented may be the outcome of an outstanding research paper/thesis, independent study, lab research project, performance, or design-based project.

Nomination Timeline for 2021 Event:

Online process opens to students on

Nov. 15, 2020

Online process closes to students on

Jan. 15, 2021

Online process closes to committee representatives on

Jan. 20, 2021

Students notified (faculty sponsors cc'd) via email of acceptance to present by

Feb. 14, 2021

Secrets of the Symposium (SOS) Workshops

All first-time student presenters are expected to attend one of the two workshops available.

2021 SOS Workshops will take place from 6:30 p.m.- 8:30 p.m. on Monday, March 1st & Tuesday, March 2nd in the EMU Student Center.

Once you've been accepted, you will receive an electronic email invite for the SOS Workshops.

Workshop topics:

  • Event logistics and expectations
  • Oral presentation enhancements
  • PowerPoint development and requirements
  • Poster design and set up
  • Design Expo exhibit expectations and set up
  • Scholarship opportunities as a Symposium student presenter

Poster guidelines

Day of the event:

  • Each poster presentation is supplied a 6 foot display table, table top easel, and a 40" tall x 60" wide poster backing of white foamcore board.
  • Use only pushpins or clips to attach posters to the boards. All other need materials are provided by the student.
  • Each poster is scheduled to be on display during one of three sessions that are one hour and 30 minutes in length.
  • Plan to stay with your poster and talk with interested viewers of your poster for the entire time.

Design tips:

Make your poster a solid review of your research; include your abstract.

Posters should be readable from up to 5 feet away; make text large
(24 point font) and select an easy-to-read font.

Make your poster as visual as possible; let color; graphs, and photographs balance the text.   

Poster Printing at Halle Library

View printing information or call 734.487.2013

Oral tips and rehearsal opportunities

Presentation Tips:

  • Practice and time your presentation so it falls within a 10-minute timeframe. Each presentation, whether single or multiple authors, has a 15-minute slot; 10 minutes for the body of the presentation and 5 minutes for introductions and a short Q&A at the end.
  • Have people unfamiliar with your content read or listen to your presentation to make sure it is understandable to people unfamiliar with your topic.
  • If you are using notecards, use a brief speaking outline to remind you of main points. Number the cards to keep them in order. If you are using a manuscript, put it in a binder. Print the pages using a large font so it will be easier to read. Mark the points to emphasize.
  • Know your first sentence and if you are getting nervous, find the friendliest face in the audience and focus on that person.

PowerPoint Use:

Many students presenting in an oral format want to use PowerPoint to enhance their material. To assist, a computer and projector will be provided in each room. The computer will probably be a Dell with Microsoft Office 2016. PowerPoint files created on Mac and Windows computers are usually compatible. There will be a technology support person in the room to help.

Designing Your PowerPoint:

  • Use standard fonts.
  • Make a copy of the Web pages (Save As) and include them directly in your PowerPoint show.
  • Bring a copy of your PowerPoint file on a USB flash drive.
  • Save your PowerPoint file as a PowerPoint Show (.pps or .ppsx).
  • Plan ahead; test your PowerPoint.

You are welcome to bring your own laptop, tablet or other presentation device. Just remember, it takes additional time to change over to your own computer. Many laptops and other devices need an appropriate video adapter to connect to the projector’s VGA cable. You will need to bring the adapter that works with your laptop or tablet!

If you'd like to test your files, or upload them before the event, please contact David Zylstra.


Rooms are reserved in the Student Center on the Thursday before the event for a last-minute rehearsal and run through with equipment. Reservations are required and space is limited. Schedule by email to [email protected]

Rehearsal space is also available and can be scheduled for the Academic Projects Center located in 116 Halle Library. Visit the Academic Projects website.

Exhibits in the Crossing Lines Design Expo

The Crossing Lines Design Expo is a one-day exhibit that allows students another presentation option at the Undergraduate Symposium. The Expo features designed-based projects that are often interdisciplinary and collaborative in nature. The exhibits are on display from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Room 300 & 302 of the Student Center.

Because the Design Expo is an exhibit format, participating students have additional required dates and responsibilities involved in their presentation:

  • Clearly identify the exhibit needs and dimensions of your project.
  • Drop off the items for exhibit on Tuesday afternoon before the Symposium and complete an acknowledgement form regarding your work. Set up of the exhibit area occurs throughout the day on Thursday.
  • Attend a gallery opening reception on the Thursday evening before the Symposium and discuss your work with reception guests. Your friends and family are welcome.
  • Sign up for at least one 2-hour session to be present with your exhibit on the day of the Symposium. You may stay with your exhibit for the entire day.
  • Immediately following the close of the exhibit and before 5 p.m. on Friday of the Symposium you must pick up your project or risk that it will be discarded.

Faculty Mentors Responsibilities:

Stay in contact with your student to share details regarding their Symposium participation. Your encouragement and support to your students is greatly appreciated.

  • Verify details of your student's presentation including the time and location of presentation whether oral, poster — or an exhibit in the design expo. Discuss presentation format; especially time limits for oral presentations (10 minutes for presentation and 5 minutes for an introduction and closing questions). Confirm equipment needs.
  • Assist student with the presentation. Work with student to assure material is ready for presentation. Rehearse presentation and/or assist with preparation of visuals, equipment and/or exhibit.
  • Attend the Symposium, itself, in support of your students. For an oral presentations  be present to introduce your student at the assigned session and lend support to the student during the Q&A period.
  • Remind your students that scholarship opportunities are available.