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Rules & Regulations


Graduate students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign who are registered and in good standing during the semester of the competition. Previous participants are welcome to enter again with different material. Only one entry can be submitted per student.

The Presentation

Give an engaging presentation of your work and its impact in a manner suitable for a general audience in three minutes. Judges will not ask questions after the presentation.

Presentation Length

You will have a maximum of three minutes for your presentation, starting from when you begin to speak. A card will be raised when you have 30 seconds remaining and when your time is up. Points will be deducted if you exceed three mintues and you will be cut off at 3:15.


We will prepare a title slide for you. You may submit up to two slides that we will incorporate into the slide presentation. You can download a slide template by clicking the button below. This slide is due at the time of registration. The slide may only include still images. No animation, video, or sound files are permitted. The slide must be prepared by the submitter.

Download Slide Template


Students are permitted to use props. The props should require minimal set-up and should produce/leave no mess. All props must be approved by the program organizers. You will be asked to identify and describe your prop(s) when you register. You will receive written notice of approval or rejection of your prop(s) via email prior to your preliminary presentation.  


Slides will be preloaded onto one computer and projected for the audience. Microphones will be provided for the final round.

Preliminary and Final Rounds

Preliminary Rounds
You will self-select your preliminary round date and time. Further information will be provided regarding location and expected arrival time. The same rubric will be used for judging preliminary and final rounds, based on the criteria listed in the judging section. The top participants from the preliminary rounds will advance to the final round. Only participants and organizers may attend the preliminary rounds.

Final Round
The final round is open to the public and participants are encouraged to bring friends, family, and colleagues. The audience may include other members of the campus community, the public, and media representatives. Participants who advance to the final round will be given updated information regarding location, expected arrival time, and PowerPoint submission. Participants may revise their slide between the preliminary and final round as long as they meet the final round slide submission deadline. The same judging rubric will be used and the winners will be announced at the reception immediately following the talks.


Video, photographs, or audio recordings from the final round will be posted online.

Judges and Judging Criteria

The decisions of the judges are final. The judging panels will be comprised of people representing a range of disciplines and professional experience. Judges will evaluate each presentation based on the following criteria:

    • Clear presentation structure
    • Topics flow well
    • Captures audience interest
    • Explains the purpose of the work
    • Enough background information is provided to understand the topic
    • Clear explanation of role in the project
    • Complex terminology/jargon is explained
    • Conveys enthusiasm and passion
    • Keeps the audience's attention
    • Delivers an effective performance style (eg. gestures, expressions, body language, volume, pace)
    • Visuals enhance (rather than distract from) the presentation
    • Slide, if included, is clear, legible, and concise


Awards will be dispersed as professional development travel funds through the student's university account. Awards may be subject to tax withholding.