Symposium Paper Rules

(click here for poster rules)

Submit your paper here


You must use this Template in order to be considered for awards.

Registration: Registration is required for all presenters. Register HERE. Each presentor should register individually. Guests (friends/family) are welcome. Guests must register too.


Papers: The paper report is limited to 20 pages (8.5" x 11") not including figures tables and graphs that appear in the appendix.  See past papers as examples but not all past papers adhere to these newer rules.

  • Margins must be a minimum of one inch (1") on all sides, not including headers, footnotes and page numbers.  
  • The paper must be typed in 10-point font or larger.
  • Each page should be numbered at the bottom
  • The first page must include the title of the paper, full names of all authors, name of the college or university and the student's faculty advisor's name.
  • See the additional guidelines below for more hints.


Presentations:The oral presentation will be 15 minutes long with an additional 5 minutes for a questions and answers period.  Participants are encouraged to submit their paper at the various technical conferences the rest of the year. 

Authorship:Teams of up to 6 people will be accepted for each presentation.  Please document all references used in the paper. 

Submission:You must use the template provided and use either PDF file format for uploading the final paper.

Topics:Any undergraduate engineering or science research paper/presentation will be accepted provided it ties into the space community, or earth-based research aligned with NASA missions and goals.  Sessions will be defined depending on the number and areas of the papers submitted.

Eligibility:Any project or student associated with a Colorado Space Grant program is eligible.  Only ONE non-Space Grant project or group may submit from each of the member schools on an first come first serve basis. All authors must work with Undergraduate students;  faculty and graduate student advisers are encouraged to support the authors and their research.


  • We are going to try our best to allow everyone who submits an acceptable paper to make an oral presentation.  The schedule will depend on the number of topics and submissions received.


Presentation Rules:

• All presentations are to be technical in nature.  The judges may not be familiar with the detailed work but the judges do come from a technical background such as engineering or the sciences.  Some judges will have read your paper before the Symposium but not all. Your audience, your university peers, will not have previously read your paper, so please include enough information to get them up to speed.

• Lessons learned: Yes, you did good work and everyone is interested in it; that's why we're here.  However, there are usually pitfalls on the path to success and breakthroughs.  It would be good to include one or two slides in your presentation dedicated to "lessons learned" as well as a section of your paper.

• Quotes from "experts" should not be part of your presentation or paper - you are required to make your own technical points and discuss/defend them.  A historical quote or a quote from a famous person to make a point is permitted, if it adds to your presentation.   A quote claiming that your research is both "less filling AND tastes great!!!!!!!" is unacceptable.

• Distracting graphics: Be very careful with fancy graphics (pictures are okay) and test them out on a projector before the final presentation.  They might look good on a PC screen but might be unreadable when projected.

• File Format: The sessions will be held in a large facility.  Please submit your presentation in either PowerPoint, or .pdf.  The facility does not have the capability to support Viewgraphs.

• Only Single screen presentations are supported.

• Name your file in accordance with the instructions that you will be given.  I do not want to have 1,000 files called Symposium.ppt.  The files should not be locked or restricted in any matter, making both our jobs easier in publishing proceedings and in being consistent with our central theme of providing technical information to the community for actual use. Please use the following naming convention:

• Presentation: S07_PaperTitle_Lastname_Presentation.ppt  (e.g., 106_katz_presentation.ppt)

• Identification: On each page of your paper and presentation, include the following in the footer:
Left Side - Last name of the first author or group name (optional)
Center - Page Number (required)

Presentation Guidelines (not required, but recommended):

• Backgrounds: The presentations should be on a white or very simple background.  White always works and what looks great on  your PC at work may look horrible when projected, so be conservative to ensure high production values.  Dark backgrounds are not needed and make printing difficult and expensive.

• Practice: Make sure that you do several dry runs of your talk.  This will ensure that you finish on time.  Also, the presentation will be smoother and the evaluation forms will be a bit happier.  From our experience, it is very obvious when people have not performed dry runs.  Please, spend an hour or so practicing.

• Focus Your Talk: Be careful that your talk is not too abstract or too project specific.  Also, do not try to cover every good point in your work and wind up rushing through the material, losing the audience.  For your dry runs, it is a good idea to find some engineers who know little or nothing about your work.

• Define your acronyms.  You may include a slide with an acronym list if you like.  Of course, do not speak in TLAs.

• Practice Some More: Sharpen your speaking skills; stay to the main points, minimize "fluff."   Again, this will make the evaluation forms happier.

• Talk to the audience, not to the screen.  Talking to the screen is generally a sign of not having performed dry runs, often presents the audience with a less then flattering view, and often results in poor audio, as your head is turned away from the microphones.  Feel free to bring notes to the podium on a hardcopy of your presentation with key points highlighted if that makes you more comfortable.  We are engineers, not professional orators, and bringing notes is perfectly fine; I often do that.

• Laser pointers seldom are very effective as the small dot tends to move too much.   An alternative which is simple and effective is to place large arrows at key spots of the slide which you wish to reference; you may add letters to them if you need to point to multiple spots and use color.  At a minimum letters should be used to accommodate any colorblind people in the audience and monochrome printing.  Saying, "the flip-flop in the circuit pointed to by the red arrow labeled A can go metastable ..." is preferable to waving the laser pointer around and making people in the first three rows "spacesick."

• Time: Oral presentations will be generally 20 minutes in duration.   Following the presentation there will be nominally 5 minutes of question and answer time, moderated by the Session Chairperson.  The Session Chairperson can move to the next paper if there are few questions or let the conversation continue.

Adapted from:


Will be done by University faculty, industry representatives and COSGC representatives.  The papers will be judged on the criteria below and then combined with an overall presentation score at the Symposium.  The results will be announced at then end of the Symposium.

Scoring Criteria:

  • Technical Content - This concerns the correctness of the theory, validity of the reasoning used, apparent understanding or grasp of the subject.
  • Originality - Does the author show independence of thinking or a fresh approach to the subject?
  • Practical Application - Does the author reach conclusions that are feasible and practical for use?
  • Style/Form - Does the paper and presentation present the material clearly and in the good, acceptable form for a technical audience?
    • Paper - Technical Content, Scientific Merit and Originality (45%)
    • Paper - Practical Application (15%)
    • Paper - Clarity of Writing (10%)
    • Presentation - Visual and Oral presentation and response to questions (30%)

Prizes: All paper Authors/Presenters will receive a certificate of participation.  Each Session winner will receive a monetary award.