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Science Education and Outreach: Forging a Path to the Future

Abstract Submission Guidelines

Submission Deadline has passed.

The Program Committee invites proposals for

  • 90-minute Sessions
  • 45-minute Half-sessions
  • 10-minute oral presentations
  • Poster Presentations

All session/oral presenters must register for the conference and at least one poster author is required to register. Abstracts can be submitted during the registration process on the registration form, or can be submitted separately using the Abstract Submission Only form, if the presenter prefers to submit abstracts separately from registration. (Note that presenters must still register for the meeting.) The separate form also allows the presenter to submit more than one abstract if the presenter desires to submit for both a presentation and a poster.

Lead authors may propose no more than one 10-minute oral presentation or 45/90-minute session. In addition, individuals may submit one poster abstract as first author. The Program Committee will select those papers and sessions of greatest general interest. Early submissions are strongly encouraged and will be weighed in the Committee's decisions, but it is not a guarantee of acceptance. Authors are strongly encouraged to collaborate with co-authors from other institutions for the longer sessions.


The standard audiovisual package available to presenters includes LCD projector and screen, and flip charts. Internet access will be available as well. Any other AV needs must be arranged through the hotel at your own expense; contact us for a hotel contact to make requests.

Meeting Theme and Strands
Presentation Types

How Do I Decide Which Sort of Presentation to Propose?

Meeting Theme and Strands

We encourage contributions for the following meeting strands to engage participants in focused discussions of particular areas of education and public outreach. Please note that orals and posters that do not fit these exact strands are also welcome.

Theme: Science Education and Outreach: Forging a Path to the Future

The International Year of Astronomy (IYA) and the Year of Science (YOS) in 2009 provide singular opportunities to raise public awareness of astronomy, science of all sorts, and the value of scientific investigation and science education. How can we build on the momentum of IYA and YOS, sustain initiatives begun in 2009, and deal with challenges ranging from No Child Left Behind and creationism to economic issues and embracing new technologies? How do we advance science literacy and encourage careers among the young in STEM disciplines? What lies ahead and how do we navigate an evolving landscape? What skills will we need, how do we engage scientists in the effort, what forms will professional development for EPO practitioners take? In a year when science is on the national stage, join colleagues from around the U.S. and the world to discuss, share and plan for our science future.

The meeting program will be organized in thematic "strands" as follows:

Strand One: Building on the Momentum of the International Year of Astronomy

What are you doing for IYA? How is it going? How do you intend to keep it going? What techniques can you share?

Strand Two: Connecting the Sciences in the Year of Science

Welcoming EPO practitioners of different sciences. How can we cross-pollinate and share techniques and experiences? How are you connecting to other sciences? How can we jointly promote and achieve greater science literacy?

Strand Three: Refining Our Practice

What are you doing? How are you doing it better, and what can you share? How will doing it this way refine our efforts and provide good models and practices for the future?

Strand Four: Bridging to the Future

What are the challenges and opportunities you see ahead? How can we (or how have you) addressed these strategically? What are you doing to get there? How can we advance our common goals?


Presentation Types


We welcome proposals for sessions that reflect the conference theme "Science Education and Outreach: Forging a Path to the Future." Sessions should enable participants to discuss synthesized knowledge in the EPO field, to explore methodologies for understanding whether projects and programs accomplish stated goals, to apply research findings to current challenges in the field, to think strategically, and to build skills.

Sessions should provide participants with novel insights, techniques, or suggestions that they can incorporate into their own programs and activities. Presenters wishing to review results from individual projects and programs should submit poster presentations or 10-minute orals instead of longer sessions.

Sessions can include (but are not limited to):

Interactive Mini-Workshops/Panel Sessions: hands-on workshop sessions or interactive panel discussions that will enable participants to explore new approaches to and best practices for education and public outreach. Workshops should include only limited lecture time and should increase participants' skills in planning, developing, evaluating, disseminating, or conducting education or public outreach programs. Panel sessions should emphasize interactive roundtable discussions that allow audiences to explore a small number of related products, programs, or techniques; they should allow for interactive discussions.

Professional Development Sessions: sessions for presenters to explore best practices and new approaches in education and public outreach. These sessions should do more than just list the achievements of one project or program; they should help build the skills of the participants. Content should emphasize how to adopt and adapt elements of effective products or programs, describe successful strategies that can be implemented in other programs to increase their impact, and encourage broad strategic thinking about issues in the EPO field. Some of these sessions may have a particular networking focus, designed to bring participants with a particular focus together to learn from one another.

Because 90-minute sessions are limited in number, we also encourage sessions of more limited or targeted scope that can accomplish their specific goals in 45-minute "half-sessions." If the number of 90-minute session proposals exceeds space and time allotments, the Program Committee may suggest that some be accepted as 45-minute time sessions. Presenters of 45- or 90-minute sessions are expected to include results of the sessions (in terms of findings produced, participant input, etc.) in their proceedings write-ups.


Abstracts are being accepted for 10-minute oral presentations and posters that describe current projects, activities, outcomes, and lessons learned from innovative or successful individual projects and programs -- or provide announcements of events and programs or other kinds of information useful to the EPO community.


Posters are targeted contributions on specific topics presented in written format (sometimes with pictures) and posted for everyone to read on a series of bulletin boards set up for the meeting; these allow for more extended discussions between presenter and inquirer or allow the viewer to examine the material at a convenient time.

Posters will be displayed a minimum of one day, and for longer if space and numbers allow.

Each day of the conference there will be a special oral session (by topic) in which poster paper authors will have the option of introducing their papers for one minute each to whet the audience's appetite. On the day of the oral session for their poster, authors are requested to be available near their posters during the break following the oral session. During all other breaks, staffing the posters is optional.

Posters should fit within an area of 4 feet by 4 feet. Tables will be located under the poster boards for handouts and sign-up sheets. Electrical power and Internet connections are not available.

Ten-Minute Orals

Ten-minute oral presentations are typically PowerPoint presentations of five or six minutes before an assembled audience that offer program or event highlights, bulleted results or findings, alerts, quick references, and invitations for extended discussions later, followed by several minutes of questions from the audience.


How Do I Decide Which Sort of Presentation to Propose?

Project accomplishments, research data, web addresses, etc. are best presented as handouts, 10-minute orals and/or poster papers. The 45-90-minute sessions will be reserved for presentations that present hands-on training or demonstrate techniques or materials that can be used in other projects or programs.

For example, poster papers or 10-minute orals are best for showing how great your particular web site is and how many hits it gets, or the results of research on how much people learned from the site. The longer sessions are best for interacting with participants and modeling best practices as you, for example, help them learn general techniques of how to develop web sites that have been demonstrated to work with middle school students and showing examples of several web sites that are successfully being used by students.

Many methods and session formats can be used to ensure session outcomes are achieved. Here is one example of a successful 90-minute session outline.

Sample 90 minute session outline


  • Participants will learn a range of strategies about TOPIC
  • Participants will walk away with practical solutions they can use about TOPIC
  • Participants will contribute to generation of FAQ which will be followed up via electronic communication regarding TOPIC lessons learned

1:30-1:45 Welcome, Introductions/Think Pair Share
What would you identify as the a) biggest benefit, b) biggest challenge and c) biggest question you have about TOPIC

1:45-2:05 What is TOPIC: Tips from an expert (powerpoint presentation)

2:05-2:20 Case-Study 1

2:20-2:35 Case-Study 2

Participants select 2 out of 3 tables to visit during the case-study time where specific examples of strategies of TOPIC are presented. Some of the handouts are useable generic solutions for the issue of TOPIC.

2:35-2:50 Group Reflection/ Discussion of FAQ and practical solutions

2:50-3:00 Wrap-up, Evaluation of session.


Abstracts Should Include Session Outcomes

Authors must state the desired outcome(s) of the session in the box provided. What will participants learn? How will the session move us forward as professionals? What activities may emerge?


Resource Table

There will be a limited number of tables for program handouts for those who wish to show program materials without giving a formal paper. For-profit companies will be required to sign up through Exhibitor Registration for a table display at a minimal cost. Please note that power and Internet access are not available at the tables. No pre-registration is required to use these tables; just bring 200 copies of your handout or arrange to have them mailed to the meeting.


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