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29th Annual Robyn Rafferty Mathias Student Research Conference

Mathias Student Research Conference Saturday, March 30, 2019

The annual College of Arts and Sciences student research conference, now in its 29th year, is a forum for College undergraduate and graduate students to present original scholarly and creative works before colleagues, faculty, and friends. College students from all disciplines are encouraged to enter. Students in other schools may submit work that was completed in a CAS course. This event is sponsored in part by a generous grant from AU trustee and alumna Robyn Rafferty Mathias as well as by the NASA District of Columbia Space Grant Consortium.

Cash prizes will be awarded for outstanding presentations including a professional presentation prize for graduate students that will cover the cost of three days attendance at a professional peer reviewed national conference at which the student is presenting.

Student presents a poster

Conference Guidelines


If you would like to request a disability-related accommodation or accessibility information, please contact the CAS Dean's Office at 202-885-2446 or


You are allotted 12 minutes to present your material followed by 3-5 minutes for responding to questions from the audience. Your presentation should follow the format laid out in your abstract or project description. Please ensure that you are aware of and have incorporated any discipline-specific style or delivery requirements. Regardless of your field, you need to clearly outline the objective of your project, discuss how you pursued/accomplished it, and interpret the significance of your results.

Your presentation will be judged on its intellectual and/or creative ambition and the strength of the arguments and conclusions you make. Judges will evaluate whether your project is engaging and how successful you were in achieving your goals. Because of the diverse nature of the audience at the conference you will also be judged on your ability to make your work accessible to a general audience, to explain unfamiliar terms, and avoid jargon.

Your presentation may not be longer than 12 minutes and it should have two parts. In the first part, please spend several minutes providing an analytical overview in which you describe what makes your performance unique or how your performance addresses matters of social, intellectual, or artistic significance. The second part will be the actual performance. After you have completed your performance there will be 3-5 minutes for responding to questions from the audience.

Your analytical overview will be judged on its intellectual ambition, its creative ambition, its placement of your work in some context, and its ability to qualify claims in key places and to address likely objections. The content of your performance will be judged for whether the performance is engaging, formally interesting, and delivers on the claims made in the analytical overview. The presentation itself will be judged on your ability to explain unfamiliar terms and to avoid the obvious, on your ability to ensure audience comprehension and to generate audience interest, and on the quality of your self-presentation.


Poster size: max 36" wide and 48" tall (please note that space is limited so we cannot accept larger posters)

Your research will be judged on your intellectual ambition and on whether you i) make an original argument, ii) clarify your originality by accurately surveying the literature on the subject, iii) provide persuasive evidence for your claims, and iv) qualify your claims in key places and address likely objections. The poster will also be judged on its presentation of information. The poster should demonstrate knowledge of its audience, explaining unfamiliar terms and avoiding the obvious. The presentation of information should be well organized, with new points flowing logically from the previous. The poster should be graphically clear, uncluttered, and attractive to the eye.

Female student presents poster to onlookers

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DC Space Grant Consortium