The Academic Excellence Conference is an opportunity for Keene State College students to show off their hard work in their respective fields of interest with their families, peers, KSC staff and other Keene community members.

The AEC also helps students gain real-world experience with submitting proposals for professional presentations. On Monday, Dec. 4, proposals for the AEC were due.

According to the KSC website, it is important that the student’s abstract is clear and concise.

The abstract should outline what the work aims to accomplish, what the benefits of this research are and what steps or methods were used to meet the goal.

KSC faculty and staff work together to review the proposals from students. Assistant Professor and Academic Technology Librarian Irene McGarrity said, “Reviewers are partnered up and given 7 to 10 abstracts to review. We try to pair reviewers with different disciplinary backgrounds to allow for rich cross-disciplinary conversations to occur during the review session.” This prevents bias for certain areas of research, she said.

The types of presentations that can be given varies. McGarrity said, “Students give a variety of presentations, ranging from dance performances, to oral presentations about research findings, to art exhibits.”

An example of a student who chose to do a dance performance as their presentation is KSC senior and theatre and dance major Amanda Untracht.

“I made a dance piece called ‘Brink of Control’ and it got chosen to be brought to the dance department’s spring show, An Evening of Dance… I decided to submit my work since I had put so much research and time into it over the fall semester,” said Untracht.

Participating in the AEC helps students practice their public speaking skills and how to organize a presentation. Untracht said, “I think that submitting my piece to AEC was extremely beneficial because I got another chance to show my work, and it allowed me to speak about it beforehand. I would highly suggest submitting work.”

Untracht also submitted a dance film for this upcoming AEC. After abstracts have been submitted, they go through the acceptance process.

McGarrity said, “Abstracts are designated with one of the following three statuses: accepted, accepted with revisions, denied. After the review, students are provided with the rubric the reviewers used, as well as written comments that address all of the revisions that need to be made… Once the student makes the changes, they resubmit their abstract. At that point, the Academic Excellence Conference Committee (AECC) reviews the resubmission and makes a final decision.” Students will know their final status two weeks after the resubmission deadline.

For students who are interested in participating in the AEC in the future, according to the KSC website, students should begin working on their abstracts with faculty/staff in October. Information sessions and workshops take place throughout November before the deadline. Students who receive undergraduate research grants are also encouraged to submit a proposal.

The AEC will take place on Saturday, Apr. 14, 2018 when students will present their work.

Program Coordinator Kim Schmidl-Gagne did not respond for request of comment on the AEC.

Rachel Vitello can be contacted at

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