A Guide to Conference Presentations for Students

by Staff 2 September 2014

By Chris Cronin, Professor, College of Behavioral Sciences
Argosy University, Online Programs


One of the best ways to become involved in a profession is to attend a conference. Conferences provide opportunities for networking with other students and professionals, to learn about the latest research, for professional development by attending continuing education seminars, to meet with leading professionals in the field, and to experience the adventure of travel.

Conferences are not just for the professionals in the field. Many conferences are very student friendly and have an array of opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students to participate in at the conference. These student-friendly conferences will have exhibits and presentations specifically geared toward students, as well as hospitality rooms for students, reduced fees, and even financial assistance.

Every student should seriously consider attending a conference during their academic career!

Why consider presenting

You may want to consider going a step further and presenting at a conference. Again, student-friendly conferences will have specific venues for student presentations.

Most students opt to do a poster session. Poster sessions involve presenting an original research idea on a 3’ by 4’ poster. Posters usually include a title, your name and affiliation, a brief introduction, a methods section, results, and discussion. Presenters may include a graphic such as a chart or table on the poster as well. Posters are grouped by category, such as “Personality and Individual Differences,” and there may be 20 to 30 presenters during a standard 90 minute session. Presenters stand in front of their poster and respond to inquiries from attendees. It is fairly informal and a great way to interact with other professionals while discussing one’s research. There are other formats for presentations at conferences, such as presenting a paper or a symposium or panel discussion, though most students elect to do poster sessions.

The advantages to presenting at a conference are numerous. For starters, presenting gives you the opportunity to discuss your research with other professionals. This will help you to refine your ideas and gain insights. This is especially helpful if you plan to continue research in this line of investigation or to publish your results. Certainly, a conference presentation also boosts your resume and demonstrates to others that you have the skills to conduct research. This can be particularly important when applying to graduate schools, post-doctoral fellowships, and academic jobs. Another benefit is that you gain recognition in the field as an expert in a particular area. This recognition may be informal—such as meeting contacts who talk with you during your presentation or who follow up after the conference to ask for a copy of your paper and related work—or formal, such as receiving an award that a conference offers specifically to student presenters.

What to present

As discussed, many conferences have venues specifically for undergraduate and graduate student presentation. Although all submissions are screened before being accepted, the student venues are often less stringent, realizing that the research may not be as polished as one would expect from a seasoned researcher. With that said, not all student submissions will be accepted and it is important to submit a polished presentation. It would be useful to solicit the assistance of a faculty member who has previously presented and can offer suggestions before submitting. Generally speaking, most conferences are looking for an empirical study in which you collect and analyze data.

Many of the student presentations that I have seen in the past have been quantitative, correlational studies in which participants are asked to complete two established surveys and the researcher correlates the results and reports on the predicted correlation. However, presentations can also be reports of an experimental manipulation, the development of a new technique (such as an instructional strategy), or even a relevant personal experience. For example, I once chaired a panel discussion by second year graduate students who presented on surviving the first year of graduate school.

If you are at a loss as to what to present, you may consider working with a faculty member or other students. Many presentations have multiple authors and this is a great way to collaborate with other students and faculty. It is important to note that although presenting at a conference is much easier than I suspect most people think, it does require a commitment of time and resources. Once your paper is accepted, you have a professional responsibility to present at the conference. Unfortunately, I have seen students be no-shows at a conference. You need to be sure you have the time, resources, and professional commitment to attend the conference before submitting a proposal.

How to submit a proposal

Below is a list of the regional psychology conferences for 2015 that I consider student-friendly conferences. These all accept student submissions, and some even have reduced rates for students as well as student awards and financial assistance. You can find links to all of the conference specific websites at the American Psychological Association’s site.

Most of these conferences have submission deadlines in the fall, so it is best to plan ahead and look at their submission deadlines and requirements as soon as possible. Some of these conferences have sections of their websites geared to students with suggestions for student attendees. I encourage you to look at all of the sites as some also have photo galleries from previous conference as well as detailed instructions on the submission process. Please note that it has been my experience that the deadlines listed are often adhered to and late submissions will not be considered.

Good luck and I hope to see you at a conference.

Regional conferences

• Eastern Psychological Association, Philadelphia, PA -- March 5-7, 2015
• Southeastern Psychological Association, Hilton Head, SC -- March 18-21, 2015
• Southwestern Psychological Association, Wichita KS -- April 9-11, 2015
• Rocky Mountain Psychological Association, Boise, ID -- April 9-11, 2015
• Western Psychological Association, Las Vegas, NV -- April 30-May 3, 2015
• Midwestern Psychological Association, Chicago, IL -- April 30-May 2, 2015
• New England Psychological Association, Fall 2015 (Location & Dates TBA)

SHRM Student Chapter Receives Honorable Mention Award

by Argosy University 26 August 2014

SHRM AwardThe Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) has awarded a 2013-2014 Honorable Mention Award designation to the Argosy University, Online Programs SHRM student chapter for providing exceptional growth and development opportunities to its student chapter members.

SHRM is the world’s largest association devoted to human resource management. Representing more than 275,000 professional and 19,000 student members in over 140 countries, the association serves the needs of HR professionals and advances the interests of the HR profession.

“SHRM is pleased to announce our 2013-2014 Student Chapter Merit awards. We are very proud of what our student chapter members are able to accomplish while also involved in their studies and work,” said Laurie McIntosh, director of member engagement. “Their efforts to enhance their chapter, community, and the HR profession are to be commended.”

Chapters have the opportunity to earn an award based on the number of activities they complete during the merit award cycle, which ran from April 1, 2013, to March 31, 2014. The SHRM student chapter merit award program, which began in 1972, exists to encourage development of more effective student chapters and to promote outstanding activities and projects by student chapters in the following areas: student chapter requirements, chapter operations, chapter programming and professional development of members, support of the human resource profession, and SHRM engagement.

The Argosy University, Online Program SHRM student chapter will be recognized in SHRM’s publications and at its conferences.

For information about our SHRM Chapter, visit our site on Connections or contact Dr. Catherine Gillies, Faculty Advisor for the chapter, at cgillies@argosy.edu. Chapter President, Rokaisha Pelham, and the rest of the board members have been hard at work this year preparing webinars and other events to help boost your professional skills. They are preparing for an even more active year and are seeking more interested students to join the chapter as SHRM members and as volunteers to serve in resume-building positions on the board. Keep an eye out for more details coming soon.

For more information about SHRM’s Student Chapter Merit Award program, visit http://www.shrm.org/Communities/StudentPrograms/Pages/awards.aspx.

Volunteering: How you can attend conferences at no charge

by Staff 19 August 2014

Maria LaFrance

by Dr. Maria LaFrance
Assistant Professor
College of Behavioral Sciences
Argosy University, Online Programs

I was in my senior year of my undergraduate degree, just about to graduate with my bachelor’s degree in psychology, and the American Psychological Association (APA) annual convention was coming to Chicago─ a mere 30 minute drive from school. The speakers and workshops were going to be excellent; there was something every day that I wanted to see, listen to, or learn about.

There was only one problem─ I was broke, and student registration for the whole week was nearly $100. There was no way I could (monetarily) afford to go, but there was also no way that I could (educationally or professionally) afford not to go. That was when my mentor recommended volunteering.

Many professional conferences need volunteers (often students) to help run the conference. From being a page for a seminar room (getting water for speakers, finding batteries when the laser pointer dies, etc.) to helping the attendees with disabilities navigate the convention, to being a general question answerer with maps and information, there are a lot of different ways that students can help out during a conference.

During this particular APA convention, I volunteered in the Resources Room where convention attendees with disabilities came if they needed assistance. For one day, I was assigned as the assistant to a blind attendee, Phyllis. This was a HUGE responsibility, because in Chicago the convention was not held at one venue, but rather different events were held in the meeting rooms of hotels scattered across the downtown area. Not only did I have to help Phyllis get from room to room within the venues, but I also had to help her navigate the busy streets of Chicago to move from hotel to hotel, hitting all of the talks and events on her list. After my day in the Resources Room, I was then free to attend the rest of the conference at no charge, having paid my way by volunteering my time.

However, as I sit here over 10 years later reminiscing about that convention, a funny thing has occurred. I don’t remember a single talk, workshop, or event that I attended at that convention. I’m sure I heard lots of innovative research findings and met many important people, but none of that has stuck with me over the years.

What I do remember is my day with Phyllis. I remember when I first met her I was a bit uncomfortable and unsure of what to do or how to act. I tried (as many sighted people do) to take her arm to lead her, when instead it is the blind person who will take your arm. She taught me how to lead her, such as how and when to warn of steps or curbs. She was patient and kind and explained her needs to me. I watched her take notes in Braille, and noticed her find and avoid impediments and obstacles that I hadn’t noticed and wouldn’t have thought about.

My day of volunteering was an incredible experience ─ one that has stuck with me for many years. I may have volunteered solely for the purpose of getting to attend the conference for free, but I got so much more out of that experience than $100 of registration fees. I got an eye-opening experience that has influenced me for years since.

Many local and national conferences and conventions need the help of volunteers. Some limit volunteers to graduate students and others accept both graduate and undergraduate students. Before you pay attendance fees (or decide that you can’t attend because of the registration fees), see if the conference you want to attend has a volunteer program for students. Not only will you get to attend the conference for at no charge or a discounted rate, you might get a little more out of the experience than you first thought.

Announcing the Journey Scholarship: Apply by 8/25/14!

by Argosy University 14 August 2014

New Argosy Scholarship

The Education Foundation, in conjunction with the Argosy University Scholarship Committee, is proud to announce the Journey Scholarship, exclusively available to fully online undergraduate and graduate students at Argosy University, Online Programs.

Winners of the Journey Scholarship will be awarded a scholarship equivalent to the cost of one class, with a maximum award of $3000. Three winners will be chosen—one each from our undergraduate, master’s and doctoral degree programs.


Recipients will be chosen by Argosy University’s Scholarship Committee and awardees will be forwarded to The Education Foundation for final approval. Recipients will be chosen from complete applications submitted by eligible students based on the following criteria:

a. Enrollment status - Applicants must be currently enrolled at Argosy University in a fully online program and must be in an active status.

b. Academic performance/potential – Students must have a minimum of 12 credits successfully completed at Argosy University and 3.0 cumulative grade point average.

c. Personal essay – (minimum 500-750 words) “Tell us about your student journey here at Argosy University.”

d. Faculty recommendation - Signed letter of recommendation from a faculty member in your academic area.

e. Financial need - defined as direct cost of attendance minus financial aid for which the student is eligible for the coming academic year.

How to Apply

To get started, download the scholarship application here. The application deadline is 8/25/2014. Complete applications must be submitted via fax to (412) 992-5928 or via email to auoscholars@argosy.edu.


Please contact the Argosy University Scholarship Committee with any questions you may have at AUOscholarshipcommittee@argosy.edu.

About the Education Foundation

The Education Foundation was established in 1999 to offer scholarship support to students interested in continuing their education in one of the postsecondary, career-focused schools in the Education Management Corporation (EDMC) system. The number and amount of scholarship awards may vary depending on the amount raised during the previous year.

More Information

*This is a one time, non-renewable scholarship.
**The scholarship is awarded in the form of a tuition credit and is not redeemable for cash stipends.
***EDMC Voucher Students are not eligible to apply.

Are you a great leader? Answer these 5 questions to find out!

by Argosy University 13 August 2014

Merriam-Webster defines a leader as someone who "has commanding authority or influence," but that's just the beginning. Real leadership -- the kind that creates lasting personal success and long-term impact -- takes real skill. Do you have the qualities of a great leader? Take a look at these questions to find out.

1. Do I like other people?

Above all, leaders like people and woe to the leader who doesn't. Leaders have to deal with people all day long. In the context of leadership, liking people means recognizing the dignity and worth of others, no matter what. Being willing to accept and include others creates a more powerful leadership stance (and can tamp down a raging ego). Don't worry if you're introverted or shy -- you can still make a great leader if you respect what others bring to the table.

2. Am I brave?

Leadership takes guts. It can be scary to find yourself at the head of the class or the center of the pack. Note that the word is "brave," not "fearless." Real leaders push through fear to see what comes next. They withstand adversity whether or not they're afraid. Leaders show up again and again. This one-step-at-a-time attitude separates the real leaders from the false ones.

3. Do I love learning?

About 69% of business leaders surveyed said it's important to have a mentor. Learning from those who came before us is one of the most important skills a leader can possess. With the right combination of curiosity and the desire to get it right, learning can create watertight leadership skills.

4. How good are my listening skills?

It's been said that listening skills are leadership skills. In fact, a great leader may listen much more than he or she speaks. That's because understanding the situation and respecting other people's input gives a leader the information and strength needed to make stronger decisions.

5. Am I willing to try again … and again … and again?

Here's a great quote from a great leader: “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” Winston Churchill knew a thing or two about success and failure, but one thing is certain -- he never would have reached his leadership potential if he didn't know how to dust himself off and try again. Persistence, resilience, and even doggedness: these are the traits of a great leader.

Ready to focus on building your leadership skills? Explore our programs in the Graduate School of Business and Management, which include a master's and doctoral program in organizational leadership.