A time-honored tradition in higher education, the symposium will provide students with the following benefits.

  • Scholarships
  • Networking opportunity
  • Research experience and feedback
  • Presentation practice
  • Recognition of accomplishments
  • Free lunch
  • Free registration

Student Testimonials

Grace Schwarz

Grace Schwarz

What was the best part of presenting?

Watching people react to my work is one of the most rewarding things about presenting. I get an honest opinion on their face for about half a second before they politely smile. That half-second at the symposium was almost always a look of surprise and typically happiness. I like to make people happy; being able to surprise people and have them feel happy about the work I pour my heart into is incredibly validating. The few who were not pleased … taught me to grow thick skin. More than anything, the best part of presenting was actually doing it; the experience is invaluable.

What did you gain?

The symposium eased me into the life of research and presenting in the most efficient way possible. Experience is the best teacher in existence; presenting at the symposium allowed me the experience of professionally presenting my research while still in a close, comfortable setting. I went through the same preparations as if I was at a global conference, writing and preparing my speech, yet I did not have the stress of travel or having to talk to thousands of people. Overall my presentation went well, and I realized that I had done in high school what some people don’t get to do until they are much older.

Thank you for making me do this; the reflection is good and motivates me even more!

Josie Howell

What was it like to present at COM's symposium? Would you do it again?

If I were to describe my experience presenting at the symposium in one word, it would be validating. There is something very satisfying in sharing work done for a purpose dear to you in an intellectual conversation. It was quite an affirmation for me to find that several audience members had become interested in my presentation topic and formed questions that created the opportunity for me to elaborate further and make points I wanted to make. It was incredibly motivating to have my work become relevant so quickly, to so many people. I would definitely present at the COM symposium again. Listening to the other presentations was thought provoking and eye-opening in many cases. I left there interested in things that I had not considered before. It was truly an honor and a pleasure to be a part of the process and listed among so many brilliant and driven scholars.

John Galvan

What advice would you give to students who wish to submit project abstracts for consideration but who aren’t sure if they can handle presenting? What did you gain?

When I entered my abstract in the symposium, I didn’t have high hopes for my work. I’ve never been the strongest academically or seen myself as qualified to give an intellectual presentation to an audience. However, I had much support from my teacher and was admitted into the symposium. My instructor helped me fine-tune my presentation and never made me feel inadequate but encouraged, critiqued and mentored me. When the day came to present, I had a few slip-ups, but I was confident in my work and did well in my presentation. I received praise from my instructor, and although I didn’t place in my category, I gained something more. I realized that I was someone who was capable of giving an intellectual presentation; I have a mind and a passion to share. It wasn’t about having the highest GPA or knowing everything. It was about sharing my passion and what I had learned and discovered. I don’t discredit myself and shy away from academic challenges anymore, and I would encourage my peers to do the same.

What was the best part of presenting?

The best part of presenting was presenting. I felt like I knew my topic well and it gave me the courage to share. It was a real thrill and I was confident in my work because of the support of my instructor.