Frequently Asked Questions for Students

Am I eligible to submit a proposal?

This symposium is open to all Middlebury undergraduate students who have done substantive intellectual work in any of the following contexts:

· Independent research with a faculty or staff adviser;

· Class-wide or group research projects;

· Significant research or project done in the context of a course;

· Summer or winter internships involving the exploration of a particular question, topic, or social phenomenon;

· Creative work, including studio art and dramatic or musical performance;

· Research conducted while studying abroad

How do I find a faculty sponsor?

If you're struggling to find sponsorship for your application because you're new to campus or your project advisor is not at Middlebury, reach out to your department chair, program director, First Year Seminar advisor, or major advisor. They will sponsor you or refer you to another faculty member. Most faculty will be happy to help!

What are the presentation formats I can chose from, and what do they consist of? What are their time lengths?

There will be oral, poster, visual and performance presentations. Oral presentations will be 10-15 minutes in length, including questions from the audience. Oral presenters will be organized by the symposium planning committee into small panels of 3-5 students from across the disciplines whose research is connected by a common theme. Students presenting their research through posters have a 45 minute session, during which they will stand at their posters to answer questions. The presentation formats for visual or performance work will be dependent on the type of medium, but all will have an established time slot for presentation. Classes can also present for a half session (35 min.) or an entire 75 minute session.

Please see last year's program for a sample schedule. Events Thursday or Friday night (such as a performance) directly related to a presentation on Friday can be listed in the symposium program.

What criteria are used to select presentations?

A committee of faculty and staff review all submitted abstracts. All projects involving substantial intellectual inquiry undertaken with the guidance of a faculty or staff member will be accepted. If you have questions about whether the nature of your work is appropriate for this symposium, please contact us at

Can I present work I have done outside of my major?

The work should be academic in nature but does not have to stay within the confines of your major.

What if my research will not be finished by April?

Please submit an application nonetheless; preliminary results from works in progress are appropriate and welcome to present.

In the past, if a student's results were not complete, the presentation emphasized the reasons why the project was undertaken, the methodology, preliminary outcomes, and the next steps to be taken.

I'm a recently graduated Feb. Can I still present at the symposium?

Yes, midyear graduates are definitely part of our academic community and we want to showcase their work too.

Can I present work I completed prior to this academic year?

Any work that meets the above criteria and has been undertaken since June of the previous year of the symposium will be considered. For example any work undertaken since June 2019 is eligible for the April 2020 symposium.

What if my research took place off campus?

Many students conduct independent research through study abroad programs, internships or summer research fellowships. These students may participate in the symposium, but we ask that you identify a Middlebury faculty member who can serve as your faculty sponsor.

Are all internship experiences appropriate to present in the symposium?

While we hope that all students find their summer or winter internship experience valuable, not all internship experiences are appropriate for inclusion in this symposium. Students who in the course of their internships are able to investigate a particular question, issue, or social phenomenon and draw meaningful conclusions are appropriate applicants for this symposium. Those internships that provide useful exposure to a particular professional field but do not involve independent inquiry on the part of the student will not be a good fit for this particular event.

Is there preparation support available to student presenters?

The Library, Information Technology Services (ITS) and the Center for Teaching, Learning and Research will offer support for student symposium presenters. These will include sessions on public speaking and getting the most out of PowerPoint. We also encourage student presenters to work closely with their faculty or staff sponsors for guidance on how to present your work effectively.

What is the symposium preparation timeline for students?

see the timeline in Info for Presenters.