For Performances or Exhibits

Provide a brief description of the work to be performed or exhibited in the form of a program note. Please make sure that your faculty mentor looks over your description before it is submitted.

Program Note Example:

Title: Variations and Transformations

Variations have frequently been written by instrumentalists as vehicles for their own virtuosity. The works featured on this program however were all written by important composers who were not themselves cellists, but each with a particular performer in mind. The results are works of substance, yet rich with cellistic personality. These composers also reveal some affinity or homage in their choice of theme or model, yet they develop and transform the borrowed material in their own special language. I find this interplay of "old" and "new" especially fascinating in our age of "historical awareness".

(by Brent Wissick; used with permission)


For Posters and Platform Talks

For research-based presentations you should prepare an abstract. Abstracts are brief, but comprehensive summaries of work presented as a talk or poster and should contain the following elements:

  1. purpose of the study
  2. hypothesis
  3. experimental approach
  4. summary of the results
  5. conclusion and implications

Talk it out first:

Before writing your abstract you may find it helpful to describe your work to a friend who is unfamiliar with what you’ve done. Listen to yourself as you speak and write down what you say. This may help you determine which details are essential to include in your abstract.

Tips for writing a good abstract:

  • Use an outline of your presentation as the framework of your abstract.
  • Don’t include information that will not appear your presentation.
  • Define all abbreviations, acronyms, and unique terms.
  • Be brief. Remember, you’re limited to 300 words.
  • Use past tense to describe methods performed and present tense to describe purpose of the study, the results and the conclusion.
  • Please make sure that your faculty mentor looks over your abstract before it is submitted.
  • Be sure that your abstract can be understood by a non-specialist! See the examples provided by Prof. Garon Smith, U. Montana below.

Example of an abstract that is too technical:

Title: Utilizing Three-Dimensional Fluorescence's Red-Shift Cascade Effect to Monitor Mycobacterium PRY-1 Degradation of Aged Petroleum

Samples of Mycobacterium PRY-1 inoculated motor oil are subjected to three-dimensional fluorescence spectroscopy to document the shifting of excitation/ emission maxima as the solutions undergo serial dilutions. Effects such as self-quenching of individual polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and energy transfer between PAHs combine to produce large red-shifts in the resulting fluorescence emission spectra. This process is repeated over a series of weeks and is compared to preceding spectra to gauge the microbial degradation of the petroleum. Results show a two-fold, or 75%, PAH contaminant degradation by Mycobacterium PRY-1 over a 140-day growth period.

The abstract above that was revised so that non-specialists can understand it:

Title: Cleaning Up Oil Spills with the Right Microbe – Mycobacterium PRY-1

An undesirable by-product of fossil fuel use is the release of toxic substances when environmental spills occur. Luckily, some soil organisms can digest these compounds and render them harmless. This study demonstrates how a specific microbe, Mycobacterium PRY-1, can rid the soil of toxic components in oil spills. Petroleum contains many harmful fused-ring molecules (polycyclic aromatic hydro-carbons or PAHs) that give off a characteristic fluorescent glow when illuminated with ultraviolet light. The nature of the fluorescence changes as oil ages or is diluted. It creates a 4-dimensional fingerprint and allows a sample’s toxicity to be evaluated. Our results show that the microbe removed 75% of the toxic compounds in 140 days.