Prepare

Write Your Project Title & Abstract

Title and Abstract Requirements

Each project presented at the symposium must have a project title and abstract. For film, performance, and art submissions, students can choose to include an artist’s statement instead of an abstract.

All project titles should be in title case (have the first letter of each word capitalized unless the word is an article, preposition, or coordinating conjunction) and should generally be shorter than 20 words. Abstracts and artist’s statements are limited to 125 words. Abstracts/artist’s statements and titles will be published in the online abstract book, so be sure to proofread them thoroughly!

View examples from past years.

Abstract-Writing Resources

We strongly encourage you to visit The Writing Center as you write and edit your abstract or artist’s statement. The Writing Center can provide advice on structure and organization, help you make your writing more compelling and accessible to audiences outside of your field, and offer grammar and wording advice.

View the Writing Center’s abstract-writing tips.

Mentor Information

A mentor or sponsor is a UW–Madison professor, academic staff member, or graduate student who will advise you on your presentation. This will usually be the person who taught the class in which you originally engaged in the work or who supervises your independent study, thesis, or project.

Your mentor will help you organize your work into a project format. Students should maintain an open and consistent line of communication with their mentor throughout the process of preparing for and presenting at the symposium.

Mentor Approval Form

All titles and abstracts/artist’s statements must be proofread and approved by your mentor before you submit your application. We encourage you to schedule a time to complete the mentor approval form with your mentor before the application deadline.

Choose a Presentation Format

You can choose one of the following four formats to present your project at the symposium. You also can decide to present individually or with a project team. Students are not permitted to present more than one individual project or two group projects.

Poster Presentation

Participants who choose to share a poster at the Undergraduate Symposium will print their posters in the weeks leading up to the event and pin them up in Varsity Hall (Union South, floor 2) during their assigned session. Participants stand by their posters and share their project with symposium attendees.

Art or Project Display

Participants can display art, interactive projects, and demonstrations in Varsity Hall (Union South, floor 2). Students display their projects for the length of the session and share about their work with attendees circulating the room. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to ugradsymposium@wisc.edu

5- and 10-Minute Presentation

Participants who select this format will prepare a 5- or 10-minute-long presentation in the weeks leading up to the event. Artist talks, speeches, and other presentations that last 5 to 10 minutes are included in this category. Many students choose to use slides or other presentation materials, but this is not required.

During their assigned sessions, presenters will join a group of other participants in a presentation room and each share their 5- and 10-minute presentations. A moderator will be present to facilitate the session. 10-minute presentations will be immediately followed by a short Q&A period. 5-minute presentations have a Q&A period at the end of the session.

Film or Performance

Films and performances are typically 10-15 minutes long and are followed by a short Q&A period. Films and performances will usually be in the Marquee Theater at Union South. If your film or performance will be longer than 15 minutes or will require special arrangements, please contact ugradsymposium@wisc.edu.

Design Your Presentation

Posters

It can be easy to overcrowd posters. Strive to make information scannable using visuals, bolded headings, and bulleted or numbered lists. We encourage you to start your poster-design process by mapping out your poster’s structure and considering how it directs your audience’s attention.

Posters must:

  • Be 43” wide by 36” high.
  • Include your mentor’s name.
  • Include the official UW crest beside the title or in the acknowledgements. Print logos can be downloaded from the University Marketing website.
  • Not include any pixelated or blurry images. Good images are large in size and about 150-200 ppi.

DesignLab’s Poster-Creation Resource

The Writing Center’s Poster-Creation Resource

5- and 10-Minute Presentations

We encourage students to choose the presentation format and/or visual aid that works best for the project they’re presenting. Students often use slides for their presentations, but many also share video, demonstrations, speeches, project displays, and other formats.

Presentations should:

  • Include your mentor’s name.
  • Have a clear and logical structure (we encourage you to map out your presentation before creating it!)
  • Communicate a take-home message
  • Keep information on visual aids minimal and scannable
  • Ensure graphics and visuals are easy to read and understand

DesignLab’s Presentation Resource

Art or Project Display

Students using visual displays should be sure to use large, high-quality images and a legible font.

We also encourage you to outline your plan for sharing the story of your project, what you find to be most interesting about it, and its key contributions or takeaways as you think about your display design. How does your display visually guide your audience through the story of your project, and how does it support your key takeaways?

Film/Performance

Films and performances should generally be shorter than 15 minutes. If you plan to present a longer piece, consider sharing a clip/segment or shortened version of your work.

Be sure to plan and practice how you will introduce and conclude your film/performance. Many students briefly share their project title, names of project members, and background.

Questions? Contact Us.

Make an Appointment at DesignLab 

We encourage you to go to DesignLab and work directly with one of their consultants for help with designing your poster or presentation. Make an appointment or drop-in. They are located in 2250 College Library.

Make an Appointment at the Writing Center

The Writing Center can provide support as you think about how to structure your poster or presentation, teach you how to present your project in a way that’s accessible to the wide-ranging audiences at the symposium, and help you proofread your work. The Writing Center is located at 6172 Helen C. White Hall.

Practice & Ask For Feedback

We encourage you to practice sharing your presentation or walking your audience through your poster several times before the day of the symposium. Practice is the best way to feel prepared!

  • Practice your presentation at least three times before the symposium. Pay attention to the parts of your presentation or poster you struggle with the most, and practice those sections a bit more.
  • Share your poster or presentation with your friends, classmates, or mentors ahead of time. Ask them for feedback– what did they like about your presentation? What did they not quite understand? What did they learn?
  • Brainstorm a list of 10 to 15 questions your audience might ask you about your project. Think through what your answers might be to those questions.
  • If you are sharing a 5-minute presentation, 10-minute presentation, film/performance, or artist talk, be sure to time a few run-throughs of your presentation. Moderators will be tasked with keeping presenters to time, so making sure that your presentation falls within the allotted time can help you avoid having your presentation cut short on the day of the event.
  • Consult with a staff member at The Writing Center to explain your project, practice your presentation, and to hear, firsthand, what your listeners find particularly intriguing and relevant.

Print Your Poster or Submit Your Presentation Materials

Instructions for Printing Posters:

All participants presenting posters at the Undergraduate Symposium will be able to print their posters for free through College Library.

Undergraduate Symposium Poster Printing Deadline: 11:59pm on Tuesday, April 16th, 2024

Step-By-Step Poster Printing Instructions

Poster Printing Video Walkthrough

Poster Printing Tips & Requirements:

  • All posters must be 43 inches wide by 36 inches high. Please double-check that your poster is the correct size before printing!
  • Do not forget to include your mentor’s name on your poster.
  • Ensure that your images and text are not blurry before submitting your poster for printing. If you don’t have access to Photoshop, you can visit any InfoLab location on campus to use the software on their desktops. You can also stop by the help desk at the College Library computer lab (second floor of College Library) and work with employees there to check that your poster images and text will print cleanly.
  • Please triple-check your poster for errors before submitting for printing. Each Undergraduate Symposium participant will only be able to print one poster for free through College Library, and re-prints or additional orders will not be covered.
  • If you have any questions, please reach out to College Library (ltghelpdesk@library.wisc.edu) or the Undergraduate Symposium team (ugradsymposium@wisc.edu). We are happy to help!

Instructions for Submitting Presentation Materials:

All presenters using presentation materials requiring access to the projector/screens or sound systems (slides, Prezis, video, music, etc.) will need to upload those materials before 11:59pm on Tuesday, April 23rd.

Undergraduate Symposium Presentation Upload Deadline: 11:59pm on Tuesday, April 23rd, 2024

Presentation Upload Form

Presentation Tips & Requirements:

  • Be sure to include your mentor’s name in your presentation materials.
  • Aim to make your text and visuals large enough that audience members at the back of the room can read and easily understand them.
  • Before uploading, do a run-through of your presentation to ensure that it does not exceed your allotted time on the schedule (5 or 10 minutes).
  • Presenters will be able to upload any file type, but we recommend that presenters use web-based presentation materials over downloadable ones (Google Slides over PowerPoint, videos already uploaded to Vimeo or YouTube over MP4 files, etc.).
  • If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to the Undergraduate Symposium team (ugradsymposium@wisc.edu). We are happy to help!