Graduate Student Research Association Conference


2014 GSRA Conference

A Celebrating Excellence Event

Saturday, April 19, 2014 – Holmes Student Center

8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m

“The GSRA Conference will be April 19, 2014.GSRA is happy to pair our research event with the UndergraduateResearch and Artistry Day. Both events are a wonderful opportunity tosee work NIU students have been engaged with all year."

GSRA Conference

The GSRA Conference is an annual campus-wide event! The GSRA plans, organizes, and hosts the conference, which showcases the research and artistic work of graduate students at Northern Illinois University. The conference is held on campus during the Spring semester at the Holmes Student Center. Faculty, students, staff, collaborating partners, and community members are invited to attend the conference to learn more about the exciting work being conducted by NIU graduate students within and across diverse disciplines.

The Conference program consists of paper sessions, poster presentations, and other formats, including workshops, as proposed by students. A continental breakfast and lunch are provided, on a limited basis, for Conference attendees.

The Conference is usually organized into the following strands:

  • Arts and Humanities
  • Business and Law
  • Engineering and Technology
  • Sciences
  • Social Sciences and Education

Students can self-determine which area their presentation topic best fits. 

Participating in the GSRA Conference

Students who wish to present their research at the Conference must (1) register for the Conference and (2)submit a brief abstract (description) by the announced deadline (see the Call for Presentations). Research presentations may include, but are not limited to, term papers and related classroom projects, Independent Study and capstone projects, and thesis and dissertation research.

Proposals for performance and artistry (i.e., dance, music, painting, photography) demonstrations are also accepted -- and encouraged!

Generally, there are three types of presentation formats:

(1)   Paper presentation. Individual papers are thematically organized into a session of 4 or 5 presentations. Presenters generally are allotted 8-12 minutes to describe their research projects. A discussant comments collective on the papers, offering insights and advice for the researchers. A/V equipment is available for presentations. These sessions are particularly appropriate for research in education, business, health and human services, and the social sciences. Paper sessions are 90 minutes in length.

(2)   Poster presentation. Presenters display the essential information from their research projects on a 32” X 40” poster which is displayed on a large, portable display board (be sure to bring thumbtacks to mount your poster!). All posters will be displayed simultaneously. Poster sessions enable interaction between the researcher and Conference participants. Posters are appropriate for many disciplinary areas. No A/V equipment is available for poster presentations. The poster session is 90 minutes in length.

NIU’s Media Services office (in Still Hall) will prepare a #32” X 40” professional, full-color poster for a minimum charge (~$35.00). Students are responsible for payment regarding poster production. Follow these steps to prepare your poster for printing production:

1. Use the PowerPoint template here to prepare the text of your poster.

2. Save your file as BOTH a PDF and a JPEG file.

3. Your poster must be ERROR-FREE! Only 1 print will be produced.

4. Submit both the PDF and JPEG electronic files of the PowerPoint poster content via email to Indicate that the poster is for the GSRA Conference.

5. You must submit your file at least one week prior to the GSRA Conference date.

6. Prices for poster production are $5.00/sq. ft. There is a small handling fee, and the final price will be ~$48 - $52.00 per poster.

7. You must pick up your printed poster from the Media Services office, 1st floor, Still Hall, at least 2 days prior to the GSRA Conference date.



Other presentation formats may be proposed by students, including (but not limited to) the following:

(3)   Roundtable presentation. Roundtables emphasize substantive interactions. Presenters describe their research at a table seating 6-10 Conference participants. All roundtable presentations will be conducted simultaneously. Roundtable presentations are appropriate for many disciplinary areas. No A/V equipment is available for Roundtable presentations. The roundtable presentation session is 60 minutes is length.

(4)   Demonstration / Artistic Exhibit or Performance. These sessions are for displaying, showing, using, or illustrating a particular technique, tool, method, product, or artistic/creative work. Such activities may range from data collection procedures, statistical or qualitative data analyses methods, art installations or creative performances (i.e., dance, music). Presenters are expected to provide brief commentary addressing what the demonstration or performance seeks to convey or illustrate, and what has been or could be learned through the tool, method, or performance. A/V equipment provided if requested. Demonstration / Performance sessions are appropriate for visual and performing arts and qualitative and statistical research. Sessions are 60 minutes in length.

(5)   Workshop. A workshop provides an opportunity to exchange information and ideas on a common problem, project, or shared interest. Presentations are brief (5-10 mins.), allowing adequate time for discussion, reflection, and interaction. Generally, workshops are experiential and meant to teach new skills (e.g., how to get your research project funded) or facilitate knowledge-building activities (e.g., surviving your first year on the tenure-track).

Cost to Attend the Conference

Participation and attendance at the Conference is free for all NIU students, faculty, and staff. The Conference is supported by funds from the Graduate School and from contributions submitted by the various colleges and departments throughout the University. 

Supporting GSRA

The GSRA needs your assistance! Students may volunteer to help with planning, organizing, and hosting the annual Conference. To get involved, contact

Conference Keynote Speakers

The GSRA Conference features prominent keynote speakers from NIU and other universities throughout the United States. Generally, speakers focus on issues relevant to higher education, public and social policy, science, and public affairs. Is there someone you’d like to hear give a keynote address? Nominate them by sending their name and contact information to

2013 Keynote: Ira Flatow, host of NPR's Science Friday.

2012 Keynote: Dr. Story Musgrave, NASA.

2011 Keynote: Professor Daniel Gebo, Northern Illinois University

2010 Keynote: Professor Judith Harackiewicz, University of Wisconsin-Madison

2009 Keynote: Professor Gregory Schraw, Universith of Nebraska-Lincoln

Previous Conferences

2012 Program

2011 Program Take a look at photos from the 2011 Conference on the GSRA Facebook page!

2010 Program

2009 Program (Pre-GSRA)

Register now for the 2014 GSRA conference.

Registration is now open.

Register at this link if you plan to attend the event.

GSRA Conference

Conference Participation

Conference Keynote Speakers

Previous Conferences