Submissions for the Graduate Research Conference have been opened until Feb. 26, 2021 for all SFA graduate students with presentable research.

The event will be held virtually via Zoom livestream on April 13, 2021.

Graduate students will be given an opportunity to present their research for 10-12 minutes in front of a board of six professors representing each college of SFA. Each presentation is followed by a question-and-answer period.

“The purpose is to give graduate students a chance to learn how to present in a formal, professional conference,” Dr. Pauline Sampson, dean of research and graduate studies, said. “We want them to learn how to do it here on campus, so that when they graduate from SFA and move on, they know what a conference looks like and can present well.”

Graduate students can choose any papers or projects completed up to a year prior, or projects currently underway with preliminary findings.

This program was successfully held over Zoom last Spring, and Sampson is optimistic about next year as well.

Hayden Holmes participated in the Graduate Research Conference and won the Best Paper Award in 2018 for his research on how the carry of licensed handguns on a college campus affects daily interactions and classrooms.

“Coming into undergrad, I didn’t know what I really wanted to do with my life, but when I started into research, there was no question,” Holmes said. “I was going to go to grad school. I was going to hopefully get a Ph.D. and move on to become a professor and do research.”

Rebecca Woods was also awarded the best Paper Award in 2018 for her co-authored presentation on invasive species on private lands.

“We were able to stand up, present our project, answer questions and defend our work to the judge in the room,” Woods said. “That’s the way it goes in our field, and I had never experienced that until we worked on this project together.”

To submit an application to the Graduate Research Conference, visit their website and fill out the online submission form.

For any further questions, contact the Graduate Research Conference Committee at, or send me an email at

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