Graduate Academic Conference

GAC Save the Date 2023

Thank you for coming to the 2022 GAC!

Thank you to all of the 2022 GAC Presenters!

On Saturday, February 19, 2022, The Council of Graduate Students (COGS) held their 14th annual Graduate Academic Conference (GAC). After its first ever virtual conference held in 2021, the GAC was back in person at the MSU Union. Highlighting the daylong conference were 60+ graduate & professional students sharing over 70 total outstanding presentations in the Oral, Poster and Three-Minute Thesis events.

This year’s conference concluded with the exciting 3‐Minute Thesis, a nationally recognized competition where participants have exactly three minutes to summarize their research. The winner of the COGS 3MT event qualifies to represent MSU at the regional competition held by the Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools (MAGS). MAGS will host the 3MT competition at their 78th Annual Meeting, scheduled for April 6-8, 2022 in Milwaukee, WI. You may also visit for more information on 3MT.

View the 2022 GAC Program 

Congratulations to This Year’s GAC Winners!

Here are the winners of the 2022 Graduate Academic Conference are awarded: $300 for 1st place, $200 for 2nd place, $100 for 3rd place/ 3MT people’s choice. Winners received the top scores averaged from their judging rubrics. Click HERE to view their Abstract pages.

Top Oral Presentations:

  1. Samridhi Satija, Chemistry/Facility for Rare Isotope Beams
  2. Chayce Griffith, Horticulture
  3. Md Shakir Mahmud, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Top Poster Presentations:

  1. Taylar Dickson, College of Human Medicine
  2. Nicholas Michel, College of Osteopathic Medicine; Department of Kinesiology
  3. Maria Kloboves, Food Science & Human Nutrition

Top 3-Minute Thesis (3MT) Presentations:

  1. Pragya Saxena*, Pharmacology and Toxicology
  2. John Tran, Plant Biology
  3. Marzieh Ghiasi, Epidemiology (People’s Choice)

What is the GAC?

The GAC is a forum for graduate students to gain experience communicating their research to a non-specialized audience. Our adjudicators are MSU Alums (many graduate school alums!)  with wide-ranging professional backgrounds who provide feedback that can help students fine tune their presentation skills. As a presenter, you will benefit from constructive feedback that will help you learn to better communicate your research to generalized audiences as you progress in your research. You will also be able to network with your peers across disciplines as well as with your audience of judges and other interested professionals attending the conference! As an attendee, you will be able to view the great work being done by student researchers as well as have access to workshops geared to help all graduate/professional students!

Communication is a skill that takes practice. The GAC helps students get the practice and provides feedback they need to become better communicators. Here are the RUBRICS that are used to evaluate the presentations.

Room Themes 2022 (click/tap to open section)

Living off the Land and Water

This session focuses on research at the cutting-edge of its respective field interacting with the natural world as we know it with research in, but not limited to, natural resources, agriculture, medicine, chemistry, and social sciences.

Networks: Biospheres to Business

This session focuses on how information is connected to create networks including, but not limited to, research done from the colleges of Social Science, Engineering, Natural Science, Law, Medicine, and Arts and Literature.

Change: for Better or Worse

This session is targeted towards research areas that deal with understanding change and its effects, including, but not limited to, research from the colleges of Engineering, Social Science, Communication, Arts and Literature, Music, Nursing, and Medicine.

Thinking Global, Acting Local

This session is targeted at research that bridges the gap from communities to the international scene, bringing the knowledge from, but not limited to, research on climate change, the environment, food and water, energy and business.

Keynote Speaker (click/tap to open section)

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Stephanie Anthony 

Luncheon starts at 12:30 pm on the 2nd Floor, MSU Union Ballroom. Keynote address will begin approx 1:00 PM.

Stephanie Anthony is the director of the Office of College Access Initiatives. In this role, she supervises a team of professionals in the operation of several pre-college programs. Each of the programs is geared to the support and preparation of underrepresented youth for success in post-secondary institutions. Programs that fall under her purview are Educational Talent Search, Upward Bound, King-Chavez-Parks and Gear Up. Dr. Anthony joined University Outreach and Engagement in 2020 after having directed the Upward Bound of MSU program since mid-2017. Prior to taking on the role of director and program coordinator for the Upward Bound program, she worked in the MSU College of Human Medicine. There she coordinated and supported the efforts of a Michigan-based study in a joint reentry research project with Brown University. The research was conducted with incarcerated women in Michigan’s prison system as a collaborative effort with the State of Michigan’s Correctional Facilities Administration. As a fixed term faculty member having taught in the MSU College of Human Medicine’s Public Health Division, she taught public health policy. During this same period, she concurrently served as an admissions interviewer for aspiring medical students within the College of Human Medicine and as a mentor to many local area youth.

Prior to joining MSU in 2015, Dr. Anthony worked with the Consumer Protections Division in the Office of the Michigan Attorney General. There, she traveled throughout Michigan for ten years working primarily with K-12 youth in educational systems to promote healthy behaviors, student safety, and leadership. A former two-term elected official for an urban school district in the State of Michigan, she has been an advocate for students, educators, and the community for twenty-plus years. As a board member, she has held several leadership positions including that of board president, treasurer, and secretary. Dr. Anthony is devoted to service for the underserved and throughout her professional life has worked diligently in those arenas that allow her to fulfill her purpose. These have ranged from her counseling work with at-risk youth and other vulnerable populations, to her work in the substance abuse field as a drug court manager and methadone clinician, and lastly in her work as a master’s level psychologist. She is an elected at-large member of Michigan State University’s Academic Governance Steering Committee and serves both as a faculty senator and a representative of MSU’s University Council. Key collaborations with longstanding community organizations such as CAPCAN of Lansing and the Lansing Promise represent the valuable partnerships that she focuses on in ongoing efforts to benefit Lansing area students and to prepare them for post-secondary success. Anthony and her team are also focused on the development of collaborations statewide to support underrepresented students. A member of numerous organizations, she works each year as a judge for the Michigan Historical Society’s statewide student history competition and also serves on the Board of the Greater Lansing Women’s Center.

Raised in Flint, Michigan, Dr. Anthony is originally from West Palm Beach, Florida. She holds a bachelor of arts degree in communications from Michigan State University and a master’s degree in counseling psychology from Cambridge College. She attended Harvard University for master’s studies in liberal arts with an emphasis in psychology and completed her doctoral studies in educational leadership at Fielding Graduate University.

What is 3MT? (click/tap to open section)

What is 3MT?

 Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) celebrates the exciting research conducted by Ph.D. students around the world. Developed by The University of Queensland (UQ), the competition cultivates students’ academic, presentation, and research communication skills. Presenting in a 3MT competition increases their capacity to effectively explain their research in three minutes, in a language appropriate to a non-specialist audience. Competitors are allowed one PowerPoint slide, but no other resources or props.  The winner of MSU’s 3MT competition will have the opportunity to compete at the Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools (MAGS) 3MT in March 2022. Students must be enrolled during the Spring 2022 semester to compete. Please click on the LINK below for more information.  You may also visit for more information on 3MT.

Workshops (click/tap to open section)

Information on Workshops

From 9:30-11am, the GAC will be hosting two workshops. Stop by to learn great career tips and ways to manage stress through yoga! Stop by the Registration Area on the 2nd Floor of the MSU Union, outside the Ballroom to sign up. Registration opens at 9:00 AM.

From Diploma to “You’re Hired”- How to Attain Post-Graduation Career Success in the COVID Age

3rd Floor MSU Union, Lake Superior Room

Presented by: Career Services

  • This interactive workshop will be focused on offering advice (and offering interactive activities) to help graduate students begin the process of looking for the right job after their degree (e.g., developing a positive mindset, updating materials, networking with or messaging potential employers).

Chair + Yoga + You:  A Self-Care Tool for Stress Management

3rd Floor MSU Union, Lake Erie Room

Presented by: Recreational Sports and Fitness Services

  • We all have stress, that’s an understatement!  Learn how to recognize it and manage it through easy-to-do movement patterns based in yoga. Street clothes welcome!
  • Participants will not need to bring a mat.

Previous Conferences (click/tap to open section)

2021 Conference Details

Congratulations to our 2021 GAC Winners, and thank you to our GAC Committee and The Graduate School for the support. We can’t wait to see you again next year!

Poster Presentations:

1st Place: Ying-Chen Lin, Horticulture

2nd Place: Sukhwindar Ajimal, Osteopathic Medicine

3rd Place: Talha Ghazi, Human Medicine

 Oral Presentations:

1st Place: Megan Carrillo, Osteopathic Medicine

2nd Place: Erika Tvedten, Osteopathic Medicine

3rd Place: Jillian Sterman, Fisheries & Wildlife

3MT Competition:

1st Place: Tessa Grebey, Animal Science*

2nd Place: Sneha Banerjee, Electrical Engineering

People’s Choice:

Apoorva Kulkarni, Chemical Engineering

*Advances to Regional MAGS 3-MT!

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2021 GAC Photo Gallery

2020 Conference Details

The 2020 GAC Conference was such a huge success that we just want to say thanks to everyone who came out to the 12th annual Graduate Academic Conference on February 22, 2020. Congratulations to all of our winners and thank you again to our amazing Keynote Speaker and Workshop leaders! Without you this conference would not have been the success it was! This conference led to some amazing participants and we are proud to award the following students with awards in each of the categories listed below. We hope to see you at the 2021 GAC!

Poster Presentations:

1st Place: Katayoon Maghami

2nd Place: Vinai Reddy

3rd Place: Brianna Alred

 Oral Presentations:

1st Place: Amelia Stieren

2nd Place: Vanessa Maldonado

3rd Place: Skye Russell

3MT Competition:

1st Place: Syeda Anum Hadi

2nd Place: Xinyu Tu

3rd Place: Dhrubajit Chowdhury

Thank you to all who volunteered, judged, attended, presented, and planned our 12th Annual GAC! See below for pictures of the event.

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2019 Conference Details

During the 2019 GAC we had many presenters and participants and we just want to say thanks to everyone who came out to the 11th Annual Graduate Academic Conference on February 16, 2019 and congratulations to all of our presenters. Without you this conference would not have been the success it was! This year we were proud to award the following students with awards in each of the categories below. We hope to see you this February as well!!

Poster Presentations:

1st:  Azrina Azrina with the presentation titled ‘Salmonella typhimurium: Specific Signatures as Targets for Detection by Using DNA Aptamer in Foods and Enviroments’.

2nd: Albert Jiao with the presentation titled ‘Reversal of Cancer Gene Expression Predicts drug Candidates for Cholangiocarcinoma’.

3rd: Saba Manzoor with the presentation titled ‘Effects of seasonal variations on distribution patterns of Common Myna (Acridotheres tristis) in rural and urban zones of Central Punjab, Pakistan’.

Oral Presentations:

1st: Kellie Walters with a presentation titled ‘Temperature and daily light integral influence growth and development of sweet basil’

2nd: Matthew Swiatnicki with a presentation titled ‘Whole genome sequencing of mouse mammary tumors reveals a Ptprh mutation with potential importance to non-small cell lung cancer’

3rd: Lauren Kiryakoza with a presentation titled ‘Concerted transcriptomic and lipidomic analysis highlights altered lipid metabolism in humane diabetic retinopathy, particulary in phosphatidylcholine and diacylglycerol generative pathways’

3MT Competition:

1st: Azrina Azrina with a presentation titled ‘Salmonella typhimurium: Specific Signatures as Targets for Detection by Using DNA Aptamer in Food and Environments’

2nd: Pretap Bhanu Solanski with a presentation titled ‘Staying Connected in the Underwater Realm via Light’

3rd: Tyler Derr with a presentation titled ‘Multi-Factor Congressional Vote Prediction’

Please see here for article  – The State News

2019 GAC Photo Gallery

2018 GAC Photo Gallery

Videos from GAC 2021 (click/tap to open section)

Thank you all for attending this year’s conference! The day went so well and we could not have asked for better presentations! Thank you to our judges for all of your hard work! We also want to thank our workshop organizers/presenters and our Keynote speaker Provost Woodruff from MSU. The day was a huge success and we are so happy that the first ever virtual GAC was enjoyed by all that attended!

Below you will find the videos that we collected from the conference. We only recorded the Keynote Address and the Awards as we did not want any issues with research grants to effect our student presenters as they continue their work.

For those that attended the conference you are still able to access Whova for the videos as well. Thank you for your attendance and we look forward to next year’s conference!



Abstract Submission/Registration (click/tap to open section)

The 14th Annual Graduate Academic Conference 

Saturday, February 19, 2022

MSU Union,  9:00 am – 5 pm 

Our Theme: “Per aspera ad astra: through hardships to the stars”

REGISTRATION  **Register here to attend the conference, view presentations, keynote & luncheon, and attend workshops, etc**

Our 2022 Room Themes: Living off the Land and Water, Networks: Biospheres to Business, Change: for Better or Worse, Thinking Global, Acting Local

PRESENTERS: Abstract submissions are open until January 31st, 2022. Presenters do NOT need to fill out a separate registration form as this Submission form will also serve as your registration:  ABSTRACT SUBMISSION NOW CLOSED.

All those presenting will be asked to pay a $5 Presenter fee. An email confirmation of Abstract Acceptance will be sent that includes a link to pay this fee. If payment is not received by the day before the conference you will not be able to take home any winnings. Please pay the $5.00 Presenter fee once you receive COGS GAC Acceptance Confirmation email.

CO-presenters and Non-Presenters: Even if you are NOT presenting, you are welcome to attend the conference to watch your peers’ presentations, attend a workshop, attend our Keynote event and more! There is no charge for any of the events. For co-presenters where your primary presenter has completed the Abstract Submission form – please use this attendee registration form as well to be counted for lunch and workshops! Please register below:


Important Information for Speakers and Presenters (click/tap to open section)

Conference Day Schedule

Please check in at the registration area on 2nd Floor of the MSU Union outside of the Ballroom area. Registration table will open at 9:00 AM. You are welcome to get set up and attend workshops in the morning.   Coffee will be available throughout the day.

Conference Schedule

  • Registration Table Opens, 9:00 AM – open all day!
  • Workshops, 9:30 AM – 11:00 AM
  • Oral Presentations I, 11:15 AM – 12:15 AM
  • Lunch/Keynote Speaker, 12:30 PM – 1:45 PM
  • Poster Presentations, 2:00 PM – 3:15 PM
  • Oral Presentations II, 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM
  • Three Minute Thesis Contest, 3:15 PM – 4:15 PM
  • Awards, 4:30PM – 4:45 PM

Suggested dress code is business casual.

PRESENTERS: Please check in at registration/check in prior to setting up for your presentation. You do not need to come at any particular time, just make sure you check in before your presentation time and give yourself enough time to set up and be at your assigned location at your assigned time. You are welcome to participate in workshops, keynote lunch and other activities, but they are not required.

Coffee will be available throughout the day!

Masks required per MSU Policy. Please see MSU Together We Will webpage for all related information to Covid-19.


Click on the link above if you need a quick glance at your presentation time or location. Or come to the Registration Area (2nd floor outside of ballroom) if you need assistance!

General Information on Presenting: Focus on Communication

The focus of this conference is to help students fine tune their presentation skills.  Therefore, you are NOT being judged on the quality of your research. Was your research slowed down by the pandemic? Experiments not completed? Results not ready yet? No problem!  We just want you to concentrate on how best to COMMUNICATE your research to a generalized audience!

Our adjudicators are MSU Alums, many former graduate students just like you! They represent a wide range of professional backgrounds.  The rubrics they will use to evaluate your presentations are listed here:

Evaluation Rubrics

To pay the abstract fee please follow this link (or wait for your confirmation email): *Link will close at 5PM on on Friday Feb. 18th. Please take care of payment before then to be eligible for prize $.

Abstract Payment

Oral Presenters:

  • Arrive 10 minutes early to your time slot for your presentation.
  • Send PowerPoint for Oral Presentation to the committee before the day of the conference.
  • Oral Presentation is 10 minutes of presentation time and a 5-minute period for questions

Poster Presenters:

  • A typical poster size is either 32″ x 40″ or 36″ x 48″ . That said, there is no poster size or material requirement.
  • Either portrait or landscape orientation is acceptable.
  • We will have easels with large sturdy backing on which to clip or fasten your poster. (We have clips with the easels.)

3MT Presenters:

  • Arrive 10 minutes early to your time slot for your presentation.
  • We will provide a time count down and a walk through before the event.
  • Rules for 3MT follow the same format as the University of Queensland here.

Abstract Acceptance Email Information:

Oral Presenters:

You will be given a 15-minute time slot for your presentations. Please note that this time also includes time for questions. As such you should plan for a 10-minute presentation and 5 minutes for questions.

3 Minute Thesis Presenters:

You will need to have ONE SLIDE (no motion) for your presentation. We also need to ensure that all rules are followed on the slide as if you win you will be presenting again in March. Your final slide must be static (no motion) and must comply with all 3MT rules. The list of rules that must be followed can be found at You will have exactly 3 minutes from the first word that you speak for your entire presentation. At the 3-minute mark, we must stop you from continuing even if it is your last sentence. This will be discussed further at the above-mentioned presentation workshop for the 3MT.
Helpful 3MT Information: Complete 3MT Information can be found on the official 3MT website:

Important Information for Judges (click/tap to open section)


Please check in at the registration area on 2nd Floor of the MSU Union outside of the Ballroom area. Registration table will open at 9:00 AM. You are welcome to get set up and even attend workshops in the morning before the presentations get started if you arrive early.   Coffee will be available throughout the day.

If you wish to help judge additional presentations should we have last minute cancellations, please come to the Registration Area and let a staff member know. We almost always have a need!


Click on the link above if you need a quick glance at presentation times or location. Or come to the Registration Area (2nd floor outside of ballroom) if you need assistance!

  • You will receive an email with all the day-of details that you will need.
  • We will have a session onsite at the conference to go over responsibilities for the conference and to help with any concerns.
  • Session assignment times will be emailed to you. Please feel free to contact us if you have questions!
  • To view the rubrics before the conference, download them here.
  • Thank you for your service! Go Green!
  • Questions? Contact the COGS Office: or call (517) 353-9189.

Click here for PDF of overall Conference Day Schedule

Poster Resources at MSU (click/tap to open section)


Poster Printing

Having trouble designing your poster? Follow this link to a cool new poster presentation called the Better Poster! 

Here are some additional links to youtube videos about poster design and how to make a poster in PowerPoint.

How to Create a Better Research Poster in Less Time

Mike Morrison on Better Posters

How to Use Science to Make Your Scientific Poster More Powerful

How to Make an Academic Poster in PowerPoint

Don’t know where to get your poster printed? Look into your department first to see if there is a place to print posters. If not, there is a poster printer in the library and at Erickson Hall that can help! Below is a little bit of information that may be helpful for you as well!

Where can I get a poster printed & how much does it cost for a poster?  

Find the answers here:

Who may use this service?

  • The poster printing service is only available to MSU Students and Faculty/Staff. You must have a valid MSU NetID to log into computers that support the software needed to send a poster.