“Call for Papers” can be three of the most intimidating, yet exciting, words for a student to read … especially when it comes to a national conference, like the ASHA Convention. At the beginning of each year, ASHA opens their call for submissions of proposed presentations for that year’s Convention. Proposals by students, researchers, educators, and other allied professionals about various topics are all considered.
One of the professional goals I had set for myself as an undergraduate was to one day present at ASHA. If you told me back then that I’d meet this goal as a student, I would have laughed! I always imagined it’d happen after I was a seasoned professional. But, as I prepare to graduate this May from my graduate program, I can proudly say I’ve presented at the ASHA Convention three times:
- As an undergraduate on a literature review of aerobic exercise as an adjuvant to speech-language therapy
- As a graduate student on the topic of online students’ perceived feelings of community
- As a National NSSLHA Executive Council member on the topic of student leadership
5 Tips for Submitting a Call for Papers
The first time I submitted my proposal as an undergrad, I never thought my little project held enough importance or merit to be considered for such a prestigious stage. But my advisor had faith in me and encouraged me to submit. I was lucky to have her by my side because I had no clue what I was doing! She quickly calmed my fears and answered all of my questions. I’d like to do the same for you now.
If you’re thinking about submitting a proposal for the 2020 ASHA Call for Papers, here are 5 tips to help you through the process:
- Start early. The submission period is now open and the deadline is April 7, 2020. Mark this date on your calendar and highlight it!
- Talk to your advisor. There’s a good chance they’ve gone through this process before and may be able to help you through it. You’ll also need their permission to add their name to the submission, so stay in regular contact with them.
- Thoroughly read the submission criteria. Have a clear understanding of what the 2020 guidelines are asking for and address them in your submission.
- Understand your research doesn’t need to be complete. If you’re in the middle of a research project and not ready to present at the time of the Call for Papers, that’s okay! A brief description of the research you’ll want to present, and an abstract/summary of your project is all that’s needed. The final product will be requested closer to Convention.
- Pick your presentation format. Think about what presentation format will work best for your project. Are poster presentations more your speed? Or do you want to do an oral seminar? Each option has different requirements, so do your research!
Presenting at the ASHA Convention has been a highlight of my educational career. It built confidence in my ability to discuss my topics of interest with other professionals; and allowed me to grow, not only as a student, but as a researcher. All because one person believed in me and pushed me to step outside of my comfort zone.
So, consider this my personal push to you … reach for your dreams and answer ASHA’s 2020 Call for Papers. Hopefully I’ll see you in sunny San Diego, California, in November!