Once you are on site, choose a time and location to
take a group photo. Clearly communicate your plan to all
students, and to alumni or collaborators you would like to
include. A group photo can be a lot of fun, and something
to share with your Communications or Development office after you return.
Make sure everyone knows the plan for leaving the
conference and returning to campus.
AFTER THE CONFERENCE: SUPPORTING
REFLECTION AND APPLICATION
The conference experience does not end with the closing
session. Travel back to campus is an opportunity to reflect
together. What did you learn? Who did you meet? How
did you stretch and grow? What surprised you? What will
you do next after you return to campus? How will you share
what you learned with other students? And what advice would
you give to students attending this conference in the future?
Consider what follow-up sessions are appropriate to your
goals. For example, you might focus on further reflection among
the attendees, disseminating new knowledge to other students,
or making concrete plans to apply what you learned.
This article draws on discussion at a recent SIGCSE Birds-of-a-Feather session [ 3].
Thanks to Kimberly Rolfe and the anonymous reviewers for their suggestions.
1. Alvarado, C., Judson, E. 2014. Using targeted conferences to recruit women into
computer science. Communications of the ACM 57, 3 (2014), 70-77.
2. Alvarado, C., Dodds, Z., and Ran Libeskind-Hadas, R. 2012. Increasing women’s
participation in computing at Harvey Mudd College. ACM Inroads 3, 4 (2012), 55-64.
3. Davis, J., Alvarado, C., Parker, M. C., and Nystrom, J. 2015. Preparing Undergraduates
to Make the Most of Attending CS Conferences (Abstract Only). In Proceedings of
the 46th ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education (SIGCSE ‘ 15).
ACM, New York, NY, USA, 702-702. DOI= http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/2676723.2691858
4. The Graduate School, University of North Carolina. February 2016. Poster and
presentation resources; http://gradschool.unc.edu/academics/resources/postertips.
html. Accessed 2016 August 16.
Department of Mathematics & Computer Science
345 Boyer Ave.
Walla Walla, WA, USA 99362
Department of Computer Science
University of California, San Diego
La Jolla, CA, USA
DOI: 10.1145/3123661 ©2017 ACM 2153-2184/17/03 $15.00
Work with your student to outline the talk and decide who will
say what; defer to your students in allowing them to choose
what they feel most comfortable talking about. Practice the
talk together several times. Discuss the kinds of questions you
might get and how you will respond to them. Consider scheduling a final practice talk in a department seminar to get the
experience of presenting before a real audience.
There is a lot of advice already on how to prepare an academic
poster [ 4]. It can be helpful to provide students with a template
and examples from your lab or your discipline. Set deadlines
early enough for students to get your feedback and revise their
work before having the poster printed. Especially for works-in-progress, encourage students to focus on what they learned from
the project, rather than its limitations. Get students to practice
their spiel with you ahead of time; role play question-and-answer.
Brainstorm some questions they can expect. If you are planning
quite far in advance, you may also find an opportunity for students to present their poster in a smaller, friendlier venue, such
as your institution’s family weekend, CCSC, or a regional wom-en-in-computing conference, before the big conference.
SUPPORTING STUDENTS DURING THE
By now students should be well-prepared to make the most of
Make plans to travel together from the hotel to the conference site and, if you have concerns about distance or safety,
from the conference site back to the hotel. Check in with students periodically, and encourage them to check in with each
other. Let students know when and where they can meet you
for a meal, but also encourage them to make their own plans.
Introduce your students to your colleagues as well as to your
colleagues’ students. When students share their interests with
you, try to connect them with colleagues and exhibitors who
share those interests. If students approach you during a conversation, remember to introduce them to whomever you are
talking with; provide a bit of context so your student knows
who they are meeting.
Figure 3: Christine Wang (center, Grinnell College ‘08) presents a poster at