Frequently Asked Questions

What is an academic and creative arts symposium?

An undergraduate academic and creative arts symposium (or a conference) is a forum in which primarily college undergraduate students present research and in COM’s case, also projects in order to engage in intellectual conversation with their peers from their own college campuses and departments as well as other surrounding college campuses.

We professionals also engage in this same kind of discourse in our own fields. We work on research or other kinds of projects and then submit abstracts (100 to 200-word summaries about the work) in order to be permitted to present. We do this because it gives us an opportunity to share the work we’ve been doing with colleagues. The conversation that results from these kinds of presentations gives us ideas we then use to improve our research and projects which then contributes to the overall quality of our work.

An undergraduate academic and creative arts symposium such as ours at COM gives students opportunities to showcase their best work, engage in meaningful discourse that will inevitably improve the work; it is also an opportunity that help students develop their presentation and professional skills and looks great on job and university applications.

Here are two other undergraduate conferences you may be interested in learning about:

What is the Gulf Coast Creative and Academic Symposium?

The Gulf Coast Creative and Academic Symposium is a yearly academic conference held at College of the Mainland in Texas City. The Symposium is sponsored by the Gulf Coast Consortium of community colleges. A primary goal of this event is to encourage community college students to participate in academic discourse, thereby providing them with the experience of presenting original research in an academic environment, networking with peers, faculty and general public.

The theme for our 2014 event is “Controversy in Our Nation: Past, Present, and Future.”  This theme encompasses a variety of subthemes and time frames pertaining to national controversies in a variety of disciplines.  The Symposium provides the opportunity to explore and discuss national controversy and how it ties to the Gulf Coast region. Area high schools are also encouraged to apply and attend, as is the general Gulf Coast community. 

Who can participate in the Gulf Coast Symposium?

All Gulf Coast consortium community college students who have a controversy-themed outstanding class project or independent research project are eligible. High school juniors and seniors, dual credit, and Collegiate High School students, and independent scholars are also encouraged to submit abstracts.

I am a high school student (any level) with a research project that deals with a controversy.  Can I present at the symposium?

Yes. We encourage all students with appropriately themed projects to apply/submit abstracts. We will invite students to present based on the strength of their abstract.

Where will the Gulf Coast Symposium take place?

The Gulf Coast Symposium will take place at the College of the Mainland campus. Please see the website for more information.

The campus is located at:
College of the Mainland
1200 Amburn Rd.
Texas City, Texas

Follow this link for a location map:

What if the project isn’t finished or hasn’t even started? How do we write the abstract?

The abstract can be written with the final result in mind. In the sciences, you can predict what the outcome of your results will be, assuming you have an experiment or data collection in progress, and you are able to make predictions. If the results change in the end, you should communicate those in the actual presentation. 

What is an abstract?

For example, an abstract in the STEM disciplines tells the reader about your research project (background), methods you used in your research or project (*will depend on discipline), significant results or outcomes of the study, implications and/or conclusions in a clear and concise form. In the humanities, an abstract similarly highlights the researcher’s intentions and arguments while contextualizing them. An abstract is not a checklist of what you did. We encourage you to read sample abstracts in your particular field of study to understand the format (Use Google!). Limit abstracts for submission to 150 to 200 words. Contact us in you would like more guidance. Your teachers and professors are also excellent resources.

Can I present both a poster and a talk?

No. For 2014, we will be reviewing submissions for oral presentations only. If you have research in poster format, we encourage you to design a Power-Point presentation based on your poster.