Presenting Your Research
Conferences are a great opportunity to learn more about the most current research in your field, to practice speaking about your own research, and to meet professors with whom you might want to research in the future, as a graduate student.
Presenting on Campus
Presenting your research at UNL allows you to practice speaking about your research to a non-specialized audience. It’s also a chance to get feedback from your advisor, graduate students, and other UNL professors. Nebraska Student Research Days and the Nebraska Summer Research Symposium are just two of many opportunities for you to share your research on campus. Some departments also hold research conferences for students at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Ask your faculty mentor about these opportunities, and see below for resources to prepare your presentation!
How do I prepare for my presentation?
We’ve got you! Presenting your project work – be it your first or hundredth time doing so – can be a daunting task. Despite this, we’ve gathered resources and information to help you plan your materials.
- Step 1: Ask your mentor about best practices and expectations for sharing knowledge and/or findings in your field.
- “How do I organize a poster or creative exhibit (and which of those formats do I use)?”
- “What findings or progress will we anticipate sharing during the presentation, and will anyone be presenting with me?”
- “UCARE doesn’t cover the costs of poster printing, but are there departmental or faculty funds available to pay for these services?”
- Take a peek at UNL Libraries’ researcher support materials or consider requesting a research consultation with staff.
- Step 2: Visit “Preparing Your Poster or Display” from the UNL Student Research Days website for details on poster size, layout, and more!
- If applicable, you are free to use previously prepared materials from past presentations – but please ensure they’re up to date.
- If you’ll be creating a new poster, it’s helpful to know that the most popular size tends to be 36″ x 24″ (width x height).
- For the Summer Research Symposium and Student Research Days, you should not laminate or mount your poster on foam core.
- Step 3: Get a price estimate, pre-made poster templates, and more from the UNL Pixel Lab (the vendor you’ll likely use to print).
- Poster files should be e-mailed to the Pixel Lab in PDF format, saved as “YourLastName_YourFirstName.”
- If you’re paying for printing using departmental or faculty funds, speak with your mentor ahead of submission and pick up. More often than not, you’ll need to provide a cost object number so the printing fee can be charged to the correct account. Othewise, you’ll be asked to pay at the time of pick up.
- Once your order is ready for pick up at the Pixel Lab, please pick it up yourself and make plans to bring it with you to the event! For the Student Research Days in spring, you’ll have a drop-off period ahead of the presentation session.
- Step 4: Do you have your content down, but still need design tips or assistance with public speaking? Check out the following videos…
- Step 5: You’re ready to present your hard work! But what should you expect the day of?
- Wear business casual attire. This might look like a nice pair of slacks or khakis and a button-down shirt or blouse. A good rule of thumb is to dress a step up from jeans, a t-shirt, and sneakers.
- Greet people who walk by and ask them if they have questions. Conference goers will often come to you and say, “Tell me about your research.” Having a brief, one-minute statement about your work is helpful to prepare for this reason! Be sure to…
- Introduce yourself and any project team members
- Provide a summary of the project and its aims
- Briefly note the methods or tools used in your work
- Conclude with findings or next steps in the project
- Have an exit phrase or transition sentence planned (i.e., “I’m happy to answer your questions” or “What are your thoughts?”)
What if I still have questions?
After presenting on campus, you might consider attending regional or national disciplinary forums and conferences to share your research. Ask your mentor and any graduate students you interact with about the major disciplinary conferences in your field as well as smaller conferences.
The Office of Undergraduate Research and Fellowships offers limited travel grants for students who are presenting UCARE-funded research at a regional or national conference. Complete this request form and return it to firstname.lastname@example.org to be considered for up to $500.00 in travel support.
If you are awarded a travel grant:
- You are required to follow the travel reimbursement policies and practices of your faculty mentor’s department (or College). UCARE only transfers funds to other UNL departments – their travel processor assists with your reimbursement.
- You are also required to follow university policy on travel.
- The application for a UCARE travel grant serves as your pre-authorization.
- You may receive funds only for travel undertaken while enrolled as a full-time UNL undergraduate student. If you are applying for summer travel, you must be registered for undergraduate classes at UNL for the future fall semester. Alumni and graduates are not eligible.
- You may only apply for funding once per awarded UCARE project.
Because of the $500.00 maximum, UCARE support typically does not fully fund a student’s travel costs. Larger conferences often offer scholarships or other support for undergraduates and graduate students traveling to present for the first time. Check out the conference website for these resources and see what support exists. Be sure to also talk with your mentor about possible travel funds in current research grants or departmental support.
Receiving Event Credit for Presenting Elsewhere
If you present or attend a regional or national conference, and you’re a UCARE student, make sure you submit an event reflection to gain credit toward the two-event attendance requirement! We love hearing about your experiences and takeaways – so tell us all about them by submitting this form (2023-2024 UCARE cycle only).
Sharing Student Researcher Success
Last, but not least, presenting at conferences or receiving an award during these events is a huge success! If you feel inclined, please share your achievements with us by submitting this form.