The Junior Scholar Symposium

The JSS is a special opportunity for graduate students and junior scholars. Each JSS session brings together approximately 16 junior scholar projects with four senior discussants from among ISA’s leading scholars. Following a broad introduction to the session, the symposium divides into four small thematic groups wherein, using posters, participants will present and discuss their work in this small group setting. Each presenter will spend 20 minutes presenting and discussing their paper together with their small group and discussant.

This format provides a fantastic opportunity for junior scholars to meet and connect with senior scholars in their field. The sessions will be held in normal panel sessions but will take place early in the convention cycle (the 1st and 2nd days of the convention). This way, participants will have met and worked closely with some senior scholars - most of whom play an active role in ISA's current leadership - and have a friendly connection through the remainder of the conference. It is also a great chance to meet similar junior scholars from other universities.

About JSS Submissions and Presentations

What makes JSS panels unique is the degree to which presenters are fully active participants. Presenters have only a few moments to present their papers, then the discussion begins immediately. As part of this, presenters send out their papers at least a month in advance of the convention so that everyone has sufficient time to prepare (see the current convention for the exact date). It can be almost as hard to write a good paper as it can be to ask a good question; treat this as a real opportunity to analyze work.

The Junior Scholar Symposium follows a distinctly different format from ISA's traditional panels. The JSS panels are designed to provide participants with the opportunity to maximize networking and feedback on projects from ISA's leading scholars.

Setup (10 minutes before the session)
Participants find their tables and setup their posters.

Session Opening (10 minutes)
Chair calls the session to order by welcoming the group, explaining the session, and giving an overview of both the process and the topic.

Small Group Introductions (5 minutes)
Large group breaks up and moves into smaller sub-groups. Small group meets each other and prepares for presentations.

Presentations (90 minutes)
Each sub-group moves, together, through each of their four posters. The small groups should spend about 20 minutes at each poster. The presenters have 2-5 minutes to introduce their paper - the rest of the time is spent on questions and discussion.

Wrapup (final 5 minutes)
The sub-groups can break up or continue talking as warranted. Participants are encouraged to move around the hall and view other posters.

The Presentation

This is not a traditional presentation; you will have a few moments to introduce your paper and get the discussion started. Don’t worry - you'll have a 20 minute block that will be an ongoing discussion of your paper, so you don’t need to explain everything right away. Your group will all have read your paper as well so you should be able to get a good discussion going right away.

When other members of your group are presenting, remember that you are an active part of the symposium. Be sure to ask questions and engage with the presenters. If you have any thoughts that you think would help the presenter then speak up and talk about them as a group. It can be almost as hard to write a good paper as it can be to ask a good question; treat this as a real opportunity to analyze work.

The Poster

ISA will have poster display boards (8 feet long x 4 feet tall) and pushpins ready for you. Your job is to make a great poster and be ready to give and receive feedback! We've put together a great video to help you as you get ready to craft your poster. Check it out here!



Clearly Identify the Poster.
Include/highlight title of paper, author(s) and institutional affiliation(s)

Use Headings.
Traditionally these include the abstract, methodology, data, results and conclusions

Be Concise.
Save elaborative points for discussion/interaction with viewers - using headings and bullet points assists in minimal text but maximum information transmission

Use Visuals.
Graphs, charts and/or tables transmit a large amount of information in less space and increase the readability of posters



DO NOT mount the text of your paper as the poster!
Have copies of your paper for viewers to take if you wish.

Use a Large Font.
Headings and Title lettering should be at least 1 inch tall, body text about 16 point font or larger - ideally the text should be visible and readable from 5 feet.

Use Neutral Background & High Contrast Text.
Neutral backgrounds and black text increase the readability of posters - a splash of color here and there, perhaps highlighting central finding(s) or provocative results, will make your poster "stand out" from the crowd.

Use Readable Text.
Avoid fonts that are script or difficult to read. If hand lettering is required, use a black felt-tip pen (e.g., Sharpie).


Examples from the 2013 JSS Sessions:

Good abstracts will provide a clear statement of a project's intent and will specify the project's methodology, or how exactly you plan to test/examine your hypothesis(es).

We are looking for work in progress and early conceptual research. This might include a masters’ or dissertation prospectus or a chapter from a thesis or dissertation. It might also include more polished research that is almost ready for publication review by a journal.


Have questions or want to volunteer to chair or discuss? Let our Programming Team know.

Submit a 2022 JSS Proposal

We're excited to continue the JSS program next year in Nashville. If you have a great project you think fits with the JSS program, submit your proposal as a paper in the standard submission process, and be sure to mark it as being considered for JSS. (Note: If you participated in the 2019 JSS, you are ineligible to participate in the 2020 JSS.)

Submit a JSS Proposal