Symons Seminar Series on Graduate Research
*Disclaimer: The Symons Seminar Series on Graduate Research is an in-person event held on campus throughout the academic year. In an effort to protect the presenters, judges, and guests, we have adapted the Symons Seminar Series into a virtual format; The Tom Talks. Graduate student presentations will be submitted to the Traill College dropbox (instructions below) and posted to YouTube.
What is the Symons Seminar Series?
The founding father of Trent University, Thomas Symons had a never-ending passion for research. He was always interested in the graduate research going on at Trent University and loved listening to graduate students share their research goals. The Symons Seminar Series for Graduate Research brings to life the joys and passions of Tom Symons. Graduate Students have the chance to present their research to an audience comprising of individuals from both Trent University and the Peterborough Community. Each seminar features two students (one from the Arts and one from the Sciences) who present their research and help bridge the gap between the Arts and Sciences. The Symons Seminar Series for Graduate Research is one of the longest running student-led seminar series in North America. If you want to check out last year’s presentations, click here.
The Symons Seminar Series on Graduate Research is one of the longest-run student colloquia of its kind in North America; run for the students, by the students. It encourages graduate students to present their research publicly and find connections between the humanities and sciences. As Catharine Parr Traill was someone who had an interest in both the humanities and sciences, it is apt that Traill College took over the operations of the Series in 2018. Tom Talks, named after founding President Tom Symons following his death is Traill College’s COVID-friendly version of the series.
Can I Participate?
Anyone can participate in the Symons Seminar Series! Graduate students from all departments are encouraged to present their research using visual aids (PPT, images, ect.) within a 15-minute time frame. Trent University staff and faculty are chosen to act as judges during the presentations and help build the bridge connecting the Sciences and Humanities. All other students, staff, and faculty are invited to attend the Seminar Series, engage with the presenters, and take part in a discussion following the presentations. Light food and beverages will be provided.
Interested Graduate Students
We encourage all interested graduate students to submit a 15-minute video recording using the recording platform YuJa. The presentation should focus on your graduate research, be free of jargon, and should be appropriate for a non-specialist audience. We request that the presentation has both your face and your slides on screen for the viewers. If you are not familiar with YuJa, please follow the instructions here to download the software and record a video. If you have any issues, feel free to email email@example.com for assistance. Once you have recorded your presentation, please contact Traill College (firstname.lastname@example.org) for access and permission to upload your recording to DropBox. A link will be sent to your email and your recording should be uploaded to the folder: Symons Seminar Series.
The criteria used to select the Winning Student Lecturer will be based on three aspects with the following weightings:
Style (30%) – Each presentation is to be a maximum of 20 minutes in length with an additional 10 minutes allotted for questions and discussion. The student’s ability to remain within the 20-minute time limit and present with a clear and direct approach is essential. The use of visuals (e.g. PowerPoint presentations) is not essential, however, engaging the audience is vital.
Communication (50%) – It is of the utmost importance that the student present at a level that the entire audience (students, academics in diverse disciplines, and the Peterborough community) can comprehend and follow. In other words, field specific jargon should be minimized or, if used, should be explained. Likewise, abbreviations should be explained or spelled out on a slide. This is an essential skill for all students to master and will be the focal point for the Series. The significance and importance of the research (i.e. how their work is useful to society and/or their field of study) should be clearly stated, and the student’s ability to answer questions effectively should also be considered
Research (20%) – The novelty and quality of the research should be evaluated when selecting the Student Lecturer. As well, talks given while students are in the proposal writing or early stages of their degree are strongly discouraged at the abstract submission stage. Judges should consider whether the research appears to be in the later stages of completion, permitting the presenter to report their thesis results/findings and conclusions/contributions.
Evaluation by the judging panel (comprising equal numbers of humanities and social science and natural science students) will be completely subjective. However, their decisions are to be weighed according to the criteria listed above.
At year-end, each judge will independently review their notes and rank each speaker based on the above criteria. The Executive Committee will compile these rankings to determine the top Arts and Science presenters of the year.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach us via email (email@example.com) or phone (705-748-1011 ext 6037).