Mike Taylor


McMurry University’s Symposium for Student Research, Scholarship, and Creative Works (formerly called the Academic Conference). The symposium takes place each Spring semester and provides an opportunity for students at all levels to present their research, scholarship, and creative works to the McMurry community. Classes are suspended on this day to allow all faculty and students to participate in the Symposium.  Students are strongly encouraged to participate either by presenting or by attending and engaging with those who are presenting.  The Student Symposium is a great way to learn what our students are working on under the direction of their faculty mentors.

We strongly encourage students of all majors who are engaged in supervised research, scholarship, or any other creative work to present on their preliminary, ongoing, or completed works in some form at the symposium. Individual and group presentations are welcomed.  Student presentations, whether oral, poster, exhibit, or performance, are organized by academic disciplines and will occur in various buildings across campus. In addition, this year we are introducing a special event, the 3-min thesis competition. More information to follow.

There will be a Key Note Address in the morning to kick off the Symposium and a Plenary Address in the afternoon as the capstone event. There will also be a social after the Plenary address for all the student presenters, their families, and their faculty mentors.

Taryn Fambrough

Presentation Information

Expand a section to read more.


The honors thesis stands as the pinnacle of academic achievement on our campus. Honors students work on a research or creative project for at least a full academic year under the direction of professors in their field. They earn credit for two courses in doing so and the final product is bound as a book and put in the library. Graduating honors students present their theses publicly, and the Symposium provides an ideal opportunity for them to share the fruits of their labors with the McMurry community. Students presenting their honors theses at the Symposium will have up to an hour to speak and respond to questions from the audience.


Students have twelve-minutes for their presentations. The room moderator will stand when there are three minutes remaining in the presentation time and will alert the speaker when they have one minute. The moderator will ensure that the speaker completes the presentation at 12-minutes and will also facilitate a three-to-five-minute question-and-answer period following each presentation.


If you are using a digital presentation (i.e., a PowerPoint presentation), bring a copy of it on a memory stick (a USB flash-drive) to the room fifteen-minutes prior to the beginning of the session. The room moderator will upload your presentation onto the room’s computer and you will run the presentation from that source.

Oral Presentation Template

Tips for an Engaging Digital Presentation

  • Make sure your slides are uncluttered and well-organized.
  • Use visuals such as pictures and diagrams to help convey your message.
  • Consider incorporating relevant and interesting animations to further engage your audience.
  • Use interactive elements such as polls, quizzes, or handouts to keep your audience engaged.
  • Keep the text to a minimum; use short phrases and bullet points whenever possible.
  • Make sure your font size is large enough for the audience to read the text on your slides when they are projected.
  • Use a consistent color scheme and font throughout the presentation and make sure that the projected slides are easy to read.
  • Structure your slides in a logical order, with a clear introduction and conclusion.
  • Test your presentation on several computers to ensure that the visuals and audio work properly.
  • Use the “Notes” section of each slide to remind yourself of information you want to say.
  • Practice your presentation beforehand to ensure that your presentation is twelve minutes or fewer.


Student posters will be hung on poster rails along classroom hallways. Students will be required to be near their posters for the 2-hour duration in order to present their research to any individuals who approach.


Posters should be constructed using PowerPoint.  You can download three different templates below, and you are free to use any of these as they are already set to the correct dimensions for printing on our large format printer. All templates have a designated spot for a QR code, see instructions below for making a QR code.  Posters must be submitted to the link below. Note: Once you have submitted your poster for printing, it cannot be edited unless you incur the cost of printing a second copy.

Poster Template 1 Poster Template 2 Poster Template 3 Example

QR Code instructions

QR codes may be used to link to a variety of different material. They have been used on posters to link to short elevator talks about the project, videos/sound files for some portion of the project or to a citation list too long to be included on the poster.  If you would like to use a QR code for this start by saving whatever you wish to link to in your OneDrive folder.  Then you will use the link below.  Here you will see a QR code.  It can be modified using the tools to the right but for your poster I would use the default (don’t worry it randomizes every time you click on the link).  Below the QR code is a box to enter the html that links to your file.  To make this link, open your OneDrive and right click on the file you wish to share.  Choose Share.  When the Share box opens, you will see a title Copy Link and below it will show a ribbon that says – People in McMurry University with the link can edit. Click on that ribbon and the box will change to give you Sharing Settings. Click in the button next to the green Anyone, then under More Settings, click the arrow on the right and choose Can View, then click Apply at the bottom of the box. Then click Copy, this will copy the long html to the left of Copy.  Go back to the browser window opened previously and paste the html into the box below the QR code.  You can use the shortcut CTRL+V to do so. Then click Create QR Code. You will notice the picture change.  Right click on the image and choose Save Image As. In the following save box, give the file a name and save it to your preferred location as a PNG image.  You will then be able to add the image to your PowerPoint and place it in the box in the bottom right hand of the template.

QR Code Generator

Some Hints on developing a good poster presentation

  • Dress appropriately. You are representing your Department, your Institution, and yourself, so be professional!
  • When developing your presentation using PowerPoint, think the project through from start to finish and develop the “storyline” you wish to present. Fit your story to the poster in a logical layout.
  • Don’t get cutesy with the title – this is a professional presentation!
  • Confine content to the basics and your text to the most important information.
  • Do not distract with the composition or colors used.
  • Be sure information and labels are clearly visible and with a font size that can be read from a distance of 4 ft.
  • Your “take-home message” is in the form of a statement, not a question.
  • When a guest comes to your poster, do not wait for them to ask you a question.
    • Begin by thanking them for coming, and then give your “elevator speech” (a 1-minute synopsis of the why, what, how, and takeaway meaning) for your project.
    • Know the story so that you do not have to refer to notes. Look the audience in the eye and relax.
    • Nobody else knows more about the project than you do. Relax and be the expert on the subject that you are!
  • If someone asks a question about the project that you don’t know the answer to, this is an opening for the two of you to discuss and perhaps come up with their insight to your work that can help in future research and in answers to other guests who stop by.
  • If someone asks a question that is not covered by the project you are presenting, it is truthful and acceptable to respond with, “That is a good question, but it lies outside of the scope of this project”.

Start early.  Practice, practice, practice


McMurry’s Three Minute Thesis Competition celebrates the work of McMurry students with a fun, competitive event that supports their academic capacity, research skills, and ability to communicate their work in a three-minute timeframe. Each contestant will present their work for three minutes before an audience and a panel of judges. Presenters will be evaluated on the merits of content and engagement.

Contest Rules

  1. Only a single, non-animated slide is permitted during the presentation
  2. No props are permitted
  3. No electronic media are permitted
  4. Presentations are limited to three minutes
  5. Exceeding the three-minute time limit results in disqualification
  6. Presentation time begins when the presenter begins to speak
  7. All decisions by the judges of the competition are final

Judging Criteria

Content (scale 1-10)

  1. Did the presentation provide an understanding of the significance of the research question?
  2. Did the presenter properly define their terminology?
  3. Did the presentation follow a clear and logical sequence?
  4. Did the presenter spend adequate time on each portion of their presentation?
  5. Was the topic presented in a manner that was accessible to a non-specialist audience?


Content (scale 1-10)

  1. Did the presentation make the audience want to know more?
  2. Was the presenter enthusiastic about their work?
  3. Did the presenter hold their audience’s attention?
  4. Did the presenter have a good stage presence?
  5. Was the single visual slide engaging and enhance the presentation?

Possible total points: 100


As part of McMurry University’s Symposium for Student Research, Scholarship, and Creative Works, Johnson School of Business is hosting its annual Student Pitch Competition. The showcase offers entrepreneurial-minded students the opportunity to share their innovative ideas with a panel of judges who will determine the best idea based on predetermined criteria. The competition is open to students of all majors.


McMurry’s Playfest celebrates the work of McMurry students by producing original student written plays. Original pieces are selected by Theatre professors and directed by student directors under the guidance of McMurry Professors. Each performance will be staged with minimal set, lighting and costumes and with the full support of the theatre department.

  • Original work – not yet produced
  • One Act play – no longer than 45-60 minutes
  • Name the playwright
  • Name the director
  • List cast size

Please note:
McMurry is both an American liberal arts and a Christian university, thus in the McMurry Theatre Department we do our best to steer between the poles of free artistic expression and Christian values. Anything you’ve seen, are seeing, or expect to see onstage is not endorsed by McMurry University. We hope you will continue to support our students and our department as we navigate the tumultuous, beautiful, and highly-vulnerable waters of creative freedom and self-expression.


The Department of Music will present an Honors Recital featuring some of our most talented students. Students diligently prepared an audio recording of repertoire with their applied lesson instructor and submitted it to the department for consideration to perform. All recordings were anonymized before they were sent to the adjudicator to insure full impartiality. An outside adjudicator (non-McMurry affiliated musician) was contracted to listen to all recordings and select the most outstanding 45 minutes of performances.

Registration Now Closed

Registration Instructions

Ensure you have all of the following information ready before you start the registration process.

1. Student ID
2. Department and Major
3. Faculty Mentor’s Name, Email Address, and Department
4. Co-Presenters’ and Co-Authors’ names (if applicable)
5. Title of Presentation
6. Presentation Type (Oral, Poster, 3-minute Thesis, Honors Thesis, Performance, Exhibit, Student Pitch Competition)
7. Method of inquiry:

a. Quantitative analysis (e.g., survey or experiment)
b. Critical analysis (e.g., analysis of literature, art, etc.)
c. Qualitative (e.g., interview or autoethnography)
d. Review (e.g., Literature review)
e. Performance/fine arts (e.g., dance, film, photography, etc.)
f. Mixed methods (e.g., incorporates multiple methods of inquiry)
g. Case study (e.g., study of a specific person, institution, or place)
h. Student Pitch Competition

8. Abstract (350 words or less) in PDF format (Be sure to include the presentation title and your name at the top of the page above the abstract.)
9. Key words to best describe your presentation
10. Check your email for confirmation of your registration
11. Please send any questions about this process to draud.matt@mcm.edu