Please read this section prior to submitting your proposal. The FAQs will be updated as new questions arise and are answered.

Frequently Asked Questions (General)

What are important dates to remember?

  • The proposal deadline is February 22, 2016 at 11:59pm EST.
  • Decisions will be notified on March 4, 2016
  • Conference registration deadline is April 5, 2016 
  • The conference will be held on Saturday, April 9, 2015

How much does it cost to attend the conference?

  • The conference is free for students, staff, and faculty at Harvard College and peer institutions (research-extensive universities, research-intensive universities, and liberal arts colleges with a research focus). However, individuals are responsible for finding your own transportation and lodging. 
  • Friends of participants that are affiliated with Harvard or are a student, administrator, or faculty at other institutions, are all welcome to register at www.essjconference.fas.harvard.edu.
  • All attendees must register in order to guarantee they will receive a free lunch during the conference.

Who is eligible to submit a proposal to present at conference?

  • College students who are conducting supervised independent research projects or senior theses on diversity, (in)equity, and social justice issues. Supervised independent research projects include research conducted through the McNair Scholars Program.

Are students outside of Harvard eligible to submit a proposal?

  • Yes, the conference is open to students attending institutions other than Harvard. We are particularly interested in receiving proposals from research-extensive universities, research-intensive universities, and liberal arts colleges with a research focus.

How do I submit my proposal to present at the conference?

My research study is in progress. Can I still submit a proposal?

  • Yes! We understand if you are currently working on your research as part of your senior thesis. We would love to receive a conference proposal from you so as long as you anticipate that your study will be complete or close to completion (you will be able to present your preliminary findings) by April 9, 2016. 

Can you give me examples of what research you are looking for?

  • Sure! Below are some examples, but this is certainly not an exhaustive list. We welcome most proposals as long as your research examines issues relating to diversity, (in)equity, and social justice. We are especially interested in research that is participatory, culturally sensitive, and respects the expertise and experiences of the communities affected by these issues. 
    • An action research project on creating culturally responsive curricula at a local elementary school that is predominantly low-income and students of color.
    • Using critical race methodology to understand health disparities.
    • A photo-ethnographic study on nutrition in low-income, middle-income, and upper-income communities.

Can you provide me with an example of a proposal abstract?

  • Yes! Please go to the following website for an example in PDF: http://tiny.cc/DISJexample. We provided an example of a 1-paragraph abstract as well as a 3-paragraph abstract. We will accept both types of abstracts. We encourage providing more details about your project. 

I don’t know how to write an abstract. Where can I get help?

  • If you are a Harvard College student, you could seek assistance from one of the Writing Tutors in your college house. You might also consider making an appointment with the Bureau of Study Counsel for some assistance. If you are a non-college student, you may wish to go to the Writing Center at your college. Your academic advisers might also have suggestions for where to get assistance.

I've worked on a collaborative research project. Am I eligible?

  • Yes! We have amended the proposal submission form so that you can include your collaborators/co-presenters. The lead author should submit the research abstract and list the other collaborators/co-presenters.

Will there be any recognition for research presentations?

  • There will be monetary awards for various topics and all accepted research proposals will be eligible for recognition.  Please note that all participants will receive a Certificate of Participation. You may be asked to submit additional materials if you are a finalist for the senior research prize or undergraduate research prize. All prize winners will be determined the day of the research conference. The prizes will be given at the Awards Ceremony. 

What is the difference between students presenting the research

  • There is no difference in the format or presentation. This designation is based on the initial blind review of abstract submissions.

What are the prizes and how do I earn a prize?

  • There is an undergraduate research prize and a poster presentation prize.
  • The first blind review took place when you submitted your proposal for the conference. Those who are eligible for the senior thesis prize and undergraduate research prize were selected to present the research conference. Those who are eligible for the poster presentation prize were notified that they will be present research posters. All prize winners will be determined the day of the research conference. The prizes will be given at the awards ceremony. 

Who is sponsoring this conference?

  • This conference is currently being co-sponsored by the Phillips Brooks House Center for Public Service and Engaged Scholarship and the Office for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion at Harvard College with the support of the following offices:
    • The Harvard Foundation
    • The Office of BGLTQ Student Life
    • Harvard College Women’s Center
    • The Office of Undergraduate Education
    • The Office of Undergraduate Research and Fellowships
    • FAS Standing Committee on Public Service
    • Advising Matters – Advising Programs Office
    • Office of Sexual Assault Prevention & Response

I have additional questions. How do I contact you?

Poster Presentation FAQ

What kind of poster materials should I use?

  • Please use a trifold poster. There are no easels, just tables.
  • The dimensions should be 27¼x39¼" some are larger but please no larger than 30’ x 40’.
  • We did not want presenting at the conference to be cost prohibitive, so you could purchase the poster for relatively cheap (probably less than $5). For example, the Dollar Tree sells them for $1 each.
  • If you need a poster, please send us an email and we will make alternate arrangements.
  • If you wish to know more about creating a poster presentation, these websites can offer you some guidance: 

Do I need to prepare a presentation?

  • Prepare a brief, 5 minute presentation about your research.
  • During the poster presentation, you will have an opportunity to present your research to participants and judges. Be prepared to answer questions.
  • This is a more informal setting where people may be stopping by and just looking at your poster (like at a gallery). However, at this poster presentation, there will be people assigned to learn more about your research for the purposes of the competition.

Do I need to bring additional materials with my poster to the co

  • We’ll have supplies on hand to help with any last-minute adjustments you might need to make on your board. There will be a small supplies station at the conference.
  • We’ll provide tables for your trifold posters to sit on. You just need to bring the poster board.
  • If you choose to bring handouts, we’d recommend printing about 10-15 copies of handouts.

Research Presentation FAQ

What is the presentation like?

  • You will be grouped with three other presenters in a concurrent session with a chair and three faculty members, and any conference attendees.
  • The chair will monitor the session on time, moderate the open discussion with the faculty members.  Each presenter will have no more than 10 minutes to present their research paper. The chair will give you 5-minute, 2-minutes, 1-minute, and “time’s up” reminders to show to presenters. You will have to end your presentation at 10 minutes.
  • At the end of all four research presentations, the faculty members may ask questions about your research.
  • Finally, there will be time for a quick audience Q&A.

What should a research presentation look like?

  • Please practice your presentation to fit within the 10-minute timeframe. Your faculty advisor, tutors, and graduate assistants may be able to give you additional advice about presenting at a research conference.
  • These presentations are generally accompanied by a visual aid, usually PowerPoint slides. You may use other formats, (like Prezi or video), but you will need to tell us in advance so we can be prepared for your presentation to go smoothly
  • The McNair Scholars at University of California Santa Barbara has a site that can serve as a guide: http://mcnair.ucsb.edu/documents/HowtoCreateaResearchPresentation_000.pdf
  • If you are presenting with use of slides or other audio-visual aides, please send us a copy of your slides/clips by April 7th (11.59pm EST) AND bring a copy on your own flash drive on the day of the conference.  We will need your presentation by 9am.
  • If you choose to show video please keep in mind your entire presentation has to stay within a 10-minute timeframe.