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Putting your Research out There: Graduate Students and Conference Presentations

By Layla Abdullah-Poulos ‘10, graduate student, SUNY Empire State College

July 23, 2015

folding chairs lined up for an event in a gymnasiumConsidering the myriad responsibilities that many SUNY Empire State College graduate students have, the idea of presenting at a conference seems like yet another daunting task. With studies, work and family, there is little time or energy to travel to conferences let alone prepare to present at one. However, there are many benefits to presenting that make it worth the extra effort.

Public Speaking Experience

Most professions value the ability to articulate ideas to an audience. While engaged in graduate studies, students will be expected to convey research and infer findings to cohorts, instructors and professionals in their chosen fields. Consequently, taking advantage of the opportunity to demonstrate your learning to the broader academic audience can assist in honing oration skills.

Sharing your Findings

Unlike undergraduates, graduate students are engaged in research and discussion toward one primary objective – to complete their final project. Subsequently, there is an increased need to expand beyond course books and even general researching in order to share and get feedback about their final project topic. This not only means talking to your primary mentor and course instructors, but also to faculty across SUNY Empire State College and beyond. The more contact you have with experts in your field, the better you are able to assess where your final project fits in the intellectual dialogue of your field. Presenting at college and professional conferences gives you the chance to make connections with academics and experts in your field. This will allow you to share your research and get valuable feedback.

Get your Name out There

Although notoriety is not the primary purpose for engaging in graduate studies, it is important that your contemporaries know about you and your contribution to collegiate and professional dialogues. When you present at a professional conference, you get to share your innovative ideas with others in your field, who may invite you to present at other venues. SUNY Empire State College graduate student Baraka Corely presented his research on resiliency and internalized racism in higher education at the SUNY Empire State College 10th Annual Student Academic conference and then the NCORE national conference. Both presentations were well received, and Corely received multiple requests to present his work at other conferences. When I presented my research on Muslim women and global feminist movements at the Popular Cultural Association national conference, I was invited to submit my research to be included in a publication. Thus, presentations can extend you and your research beyond coursework as well as increase your visibility as an up-and-coming new scholar or researcher in your field.

Enhance Your Curriculum Vitae

Presentations on your CV can be advantageous when applying to doctoral programs or seeking to become a higher education instructor. Presentations demonstrate a commitment to sharing knowledge and engaging in the academic dialogue. Conference presentations are the most accessible means to attaining recognition for research. Unlike publishing papers in journals, writing book chapters, or monographs, all of which are involved and time-consuming processes typically not open to graduate students, conference presentations afford the opportunity to show the knowledge you are contributing to your field and increases your appeal as a doctoral candidate or adjunct instructor.

Consider discussing conference presentations with your primary instructor. With careful planning, it may be an endeavor worth undertaking.

Why not take the first step and submit a presentation proposal for SUNY Empire State College’s 11th Annual Student Academic Conference? More information on submitting proposals can be found at http://residencies.esc.edu/student-academic-conference/proposals/.

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Putting your Research out There: Graduate Students and Conference Presentations, By Layla Abdullah-Poulos ‘10, graduate student, SUNY Empire State College

Did You Know

The 11th Annual Student Academic Conference needs presenters! Check out the Call for Proposals for more information or to submit yours today.

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