Alumni and members of the Rochester community attend each year.
Structured like a professional research conference, oral presentations and posters are broken up thematically. Presentation themes in recent years have included biomedical and life sciences, energy and sustainability, chemistry and material science, modeling and simulations, imaging and optics, and social sciences and humanities.
"Talks and posters follow scientific norms and accepted guidelines in length, structure, and tone," said Scott Franklin, professor in RIT's School of Physics and Astronomy and the symposium's organizing committee chair. "By grouping talks by theme, the conference guarantees an informed audience capable of understanding a technical presentation. The lightly moderated question-and-answer period following the talk is similar to what takes place at national meetings, and allows students to experience unstructured inquiry that so often leads to new ideas."
Organizers want students to experience what it's like to present at a professional conference without having to worry about travel and conference and lodging expenses that are typically associated with professional technical conferences. The symposium is free for presenters and attendees. Last year's conference moved off the RIT campus to the RIT Inn and Conference Center.
The next symposium will be held Friday, August 8, 2014, at the conference center. To be considered for participation, students, under the guidance of faculty mentors, submit abstracts to be reviewed by a program committee. Research interests among students run the gamut and represent the university's right and left-brain thinkers.
Added Franklin: "The symposium captures the breadth of scholarship that takes place at RIT. Where else can you go from a talk on the physics of haystacks to a social network analysis of students on social media and finish with one on cognitive psychology or eye-tracking?"