Virginia Sea Grant Symposium 2024 connecting in all directions

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Graduate Symposium Session Presentations
Call for Proposals

We are excited you have chosen to submit a proposal for the 2024 Virginia Sea Grant Symposium that will be held in Virginia Beach on October 10-11, 2024. All sessions will be onsite at the time of the conference. The call will remain open until May 31, 2024. The poster proposal will remain open until August 31, 2024. If you have any questions about the call for proposals process, please reach out to Hilary Parmentier at

We welcome proposals from all who work in marine and coastal research, design, and education. The theme this year is Connections in All Directions. Attendees at this event will be able to build connections and foster future collaborations.

The sessions options include interactive workshops, TED-Inspired talks, training sessions, panel and round table discussions. We will also have a poster session.

Session topics may include but are not limited to:

  • science communication
  • leadership at different levels
  • designing for resilience
  • putting science into action
  • research and wellness
  • community engagement

The Virginia Sea Grant 2024 Symposium is a great opportunity for first-time speakers as it offers flexible session types and a supportive team who will work with you both before and during the conference to ensure you are ready to shine.

Proposal Options Available

  • Workshops: These 60-minute session are intended to be hands-on, working sessions. While we understand that you may need to present content, most of the time should be spent with participants actively involved. Provide detailed information in your submission about the types of interactions and engagement you have planned.
  • Concurrent sessions: These 45-minute sessions provide an opportunity for you to give a presentation on a specific topic. Conference attendees expect sessions to provide practical advice and the sharing of experiences. The committee is seeking high-quality, thought-provoking and engaging sessions-not lecture format. Co-presenters are highly encouraged. Also, Virginia Sea Grant reserves the right to select your proposal to be featured in a panel along with other presenters.
  • Panel and round table discussions: These 60-minute sessions will be focused on discussions around a specific topic. You may propose a session in this category in one of two formats: (1) you may propose a traditional panel where you pre-arrange 3-4 speakers and one of you serves as the moderator, or (2) you may propose a topic of discussion, along with at least five questions you will guide the group through.
  • Poster session: These sessions will happen during a 60-minute time block and allow participants the opportunity to stop by your station for a short (5-7 minute) presentation.
  • TED-inspired talks: These talks should be short and to the point to engage the audience in a creative way. The topics should be multidisciplinary and focus on the power of ideas to inspire innovative thinking and change the world. The talks should be 7-10 minutes long and typically delivered by a single person. Note: If your talk topic is chosen, you will be required to meet, plan, and practice with the coordinator of the session to ensure you are prepared. The meeting may take place virtually or in-person depending on the availability of the speaker. 

Requests for extended session, workshop, or panel time blocks will be considered on a case-by-case basis as scheduling allows.

Preparing your proposal

The committee recommends that proposals be specific about what will make the presentation valuable to the attendees. The proposal should be focused on engaging and innovative working ideas and include information about how you intend to engage the audience. All presenters and co-presenters (regardless of session type) will be expected to register for the full conference.

You may submit more than one proposal and/or be a co-presenter on multiple sessions.

The submission form will ask you the following, so please gather this information prior to the time of submission.

  • Contact information: names and emails for any presenter and/or co-presenter
  • Session type: workshop, concurrent, panel, poster session, or TED-inspired talk.
  • Constituencies: who would benefit most from attending your session?
  • Topic: what topic best fits your presentation?
  • Title: a succinct, but descriptive title
  • Participants number: Is there a limit to the number of participants?
  • Room & A/V requirements: Please list any technology requirements for your presentation
  • Abstract: 200 words or less-Please note: the session abstract will be used to promote your session. Make sure it accurately reflects your session, and how it will benefit attendees. This is what draws people to your presentation.
  • Description: a clear summary of learning objectives, session content, and takeaways. You are also encouraged to share the types of audience participation you will use (e.g., hands-on exercise, polls, small group discussion, Q&A, etc.)
  • Bio: provide a bio for the lead presenter and co-presenter, if applicable.

Review Criteria

Conference participants will expect well-delivered presentations containing quality information that is of practical value to their day-to-day professional lives. Members of the Virginia Sea Grant symposium program committee will look for clear descriptions. Considerable weight will be given to proposals that specify session learning objectives, clearly describe why the content will be valuable to attendees, and how you plan to encourage audience participation.


The format and amount of information shown in the posters should be tailored to its size, so please do not use a shrunken version of an old poster.

  • Poster Dimensions: Must be no larger than 36-inches X 48-inches (91.44-cm X 121.92-cm.)
  • Graphics: Posters will be judged on effectiveness of infographics, images, and overall design. 
  • Supportive Materials: You are also welcome to distribute brochures, fact sheets, or other handouts to attendees. 
“Attending the Virginia Sea Grant graduate symposium was a highlight of my PhD journey! The keynote speaker inspired me to venture beyond my comfort zone, while the talks and posters opened my eyes to new research areas. Receiving feedback on my research from peers and stakeholders was incredibly helpful. I highly suggest taking advantage of this opportunity, and I'm confident you'll find it just as rewarding as I did!”
Assistant Professor, Cockrell School of Engineering, The University of Texas at Austin

Symposium 2024 Sponsors

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