The NOVA Honors Symposium

The NOVA Honors Fall 2019 Symposium NOW ACCEPTING SUBMISSIONS!

Please use this form to submit your research presentation proposal for consideration into the Fall 2019 NOVA Honors Symposium! The purpose of this Symposium is to provide an opportunity for all NOVA Honors students, as well as students in varied NOVA Honors societies, to showcase their academic work, gain experience presenting in the context of an academic conference, and build unity and connections with like-minded Honors Program students from all NOVA campuses. This event will be held in the CA building of the NOVA Annandale campus on Friday, October 25th from 12:00 PM to 4:00 PM. THE DEADLINE FOR SUBMITTING A PROPOSAL FOR CONSIDERATION INTO THE SYMPOSIUM is Friday, October 18th at 5:00 PM EST. MONETARY PRIZES WILL BE AWARDED FOR THE TOP TALKS!

WHEN: Friday, October 25th from 12-4pm

WHERE: The NOVA Annandale Campus room CA-302

ELIGIBILITY: The following students are eligible to submit for consideration into the NOVA Honors Symposium. You will be asked to indicate into which category you fall on the submission form.

  • NOVA Honors Program Students (HNRP Student Group)
  • Students taking courses for Honors credit in the Fall 2019 semester
  • Members of the Phi Theta Kappa Honors Society
  • Members of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars
  • Students with a confirmed GPA of 3.5 or higher with a minimum of 6 college credits AND recommendation of campus Honors Lead Faculty member


Please use this link to register for the Symposium:

If your proposal is accepted, you will be notified on Monday, October 21st and must reply to the email with confirmation of your attendance.

 What you need to know about this opportunity!

The presentation:  All presentations should be accessible on a flash drive OR through your NOVA email, Google docs, or an online source.  No personal computers can be used during presentations.

Dress attireBusiness professional

Provisions:  Refreshments will be provided from 3-4pm before awards are announced

Time CommitmentStudents wishing to present at the Honors Symposium must be committed to the entire day’s events from 12-4pm on October 25th.  Late arrivals/early departures are subject to disqualification.

Prior to the Event:  If necessary, participating students should make all necessary arrangements for any missed NOVA course(s)/coursework to attend this symposium.  No excuses or concessions will be made on behalf of the Honors Program for students who fail to receive permission to miss class to present.  Undergraduate academic research and presentations are important; however, academic school work should take precedence when appropriate.


  • All attendees are to arrive on the Annandale campus by 12:00 PM on the day of the Symposium.
  • Presentations will be scheduled in 15 minute intervals. Students will have 10-12 minutes for the oral presentation (talks less than 8 minutes or over 12 minutes will be disqualified) with remaining time left for possible Q&A.  All presentations will end at 15 minutes.
  • All presentations must have a Works Cited page (in print or on a presentation slide).
  • Visual materials, such as PowerPoint or Prezi, are recommended but not required for your presentation.
  • Awardees should be prepared to provide their home address if selected.
  • Previous NOVA Honors Symposium awardees may present, yet are not eligible to receive a cash award.  **Past awardees are encouraged to judge or moderate if they don’t want to present; please email if you would like to volunteer to be a student judge OR moderator. 
  • Students will receive constructive feedback following the Symposium.

If you have questions, email or your Campus Honors Lead Faculty:

Annandale: Prof. Stefanie Shipe –

Alexandria: Dr. Tatiana Stantcheva –

Loudoun: Dr. Deborah Naquin –

Manassas : Dr. Dahlia Henry-Tett –

Woodbridge : Prof. Stephanie Dupal –

Below are some more “tips” for submitting a proposal and getting involved!

What the heck is an abstract?  An abstract is basically a blurb of about 150 words meant to simply highlight the topic/research you’ll be discussing/presenting to your peers/judges.  This should be written professionally.

What kinds of presentations have been done in the past?  Students have presented on numerous topics from Autism to Sports Medicine to Dentistry to How Dogs Communicate or even How to Be a Leader.  Be creative, and ensure that your topic is researched and professional.

What if I do not want to present at this time but want to get involved with the Symposium?  You are encouraged to attend and be a student helper/moderator.  We could use some stellar students who just aren’t ready yet to present on their research.  Email to see how you can get involved!

How will I be selected as an awardee of the $100?  Presenters who have NOT won previously are eligible for up to a $100 award. Judges consider originality/creativity, scholarship, organization, and expression.  Presenters are encouraged to consider how the topic is connected to them in life or academically.

Will I get feedback following the event?   Yes!  Constructive feedback from the judges will be given to all students following the event so that students have the opportunity to improve on their talks/presentation for future conferences.

Does my presentation have to be academic?  You should consider your interests but remember the point of scholarly and academic research:  to teach others, explore your passions, and research a professional topic of interest to you for the purpose of education.

What previous topics have been presented? This is a great question! Below you can find a couple of titles and descriptions that have been submitted for previous symposia.


Impact of a Viable Third-Party in US Politics

The presidential election cycle has begun, with just over six hundred days to go. While the attention will be on presidential candidates, the period leading up to election night also allows the body politic to have discussions about politics in general. That brings me to the topic of a third-party. It has become common today to dismiss third-party candidates in our bifurcated political climate. In my presentation, I explore the history of political parties in the U.S. and the potential to increase the efficacy of our political system by establishing a viable third-party.

The Standard of Testing

Standardized tests are any form of test that is scored in a “standard” or consistent manner, allowing it to compare the relative performance of individual or groups of students. This presentation will discuss the evolution of standardized testing and its impact on our education system. In the past, these tests focused on the ability of the student and how they are able to retain knowledge. As of now, these standards have shifted and established themselves in changing curriculum and intent, causing negative impacts on students (e.g., stress, loss of curiosity, boredom). In short, the standard of testing has taken the love of learning out of the students.

Application of CRISPR/Cas9 for Treatment of Tay-Sach’s Disease

Tay-Sachs Disease (TSD) is a devastating lysosomal storage disease which is typically diagnosed within the first 3-6 months of life. TSD is monogenetic and 93-95% of mutations are cause by an insertion of either 1 or 4 base pairs. This makes it an ideal candidate for the CRISPR/cas9 gene editing technology. CRISPR/cas9 is an innovation of the naturally occurring immune response system in bacterial cells. The use of CRISPR/cas9 would involve lysing out the base pairs in the insertion causing the mutation. Ligase would then rejoin the DNA segments. It is expected that this would produce a functional gene. The use of CRSIPR/cas9 is a potential cure for 93-95% of TSD cases.