Mapping the New Knowledges Graduate Student Research Conference

MNK is hosted by the Faculty of Graduate Studies and the Graduate Students’ Association to provide graduate students with the opportunity to connect with researchers and colleagues across faculties and disciplines in a professional, supportive and welcoming setting.

Thursday, April 12, 2018
8:00am – 5:30pm
Plaza Building & Cairns Family Health and Bioscience Research Complex

All graduate students, at all stages of their studies, are invited to give an oral or poster presentation at the MNK conference. The conference is a day-long event with breakfast and lunch provided, and features an opening keynote address, morning and afternoon concurrent oral and poster sessions, the MNK Awards Ceremony and a wrap-up social by the GSA.

The deadline to submit a proposal is Wednesday, February 21, 2018 at 4:30pm.

Students may choose one of the following two presentation options:
1. Poster Presentation
2. Oral Presentation

Students who submit proposals are required to include a 200-word (maximum) description of research in plain language appropriate for review by a multidisciplinary committee. Once you submit a proposal, consider yourself registered for the conference and be sure to have the conference day reserved on your calendar.

MNK Sessions for fourth-year honours students
The MNK Conference has been expanded to include oral presentations from fourth-year honours students. If you are an undergraduate student and wish to participate, please e-mail Lauryn Carrick at lcarrick@brocku.cawith the following information:

  • Abstract (no more than 250 words in plain language – abstracts should first be reviewed by supervisors)
  • Name of supervisor
  • Program and Faculty

What is Mapping the New Knowledges (MNK)? 
Mapping the New Knowledges is fondly referred to as “the little conference that grew.” The first conference was held in 2005 as an opportunity to showcase the depth and breadth of research and scholarship being pursued by graduate students in Brock’s academic Faculties.

Why Participate?
The are many benefits from participating in the conference:

  • You will gain rewarding professional experience in presenting your research in an enthusiastic and supportive environment – for some, MNK marks the first time they have presented;
  • You will meet, interact and exchange ideas with students from all parts of the university – a truly multidisciplinary experience;
  • You will bolster your CV and strengthen your scholarship applications; and
  • Your MNK experience will earn you credit toward a Vitae Essential Researcher Development Skills Certificate awarded by the Dean of Graduate Studies.

How do you register to present at the conference?
We are now accepting proposals for Oral and Poster presentations. Click here to submit your proposal now.

Students who submit proposals are required to include a 200-word (maximum) description of their research in plain language, appropriate for review by a multidisciplinary committee.

Once you submit a proposal, consider yourself registered for the conference. Make sure to reserve the conference date on your calendar to ensure you are available for either a morning or afternoon session. Presenters are required to remain for the duration of their session in keeping with the spirit of collegial interaction. You also want to plan to have the day open and take the opportunity to sit in on sessions by other students.

When are students notified about the session schedule?
About the second week of March, conference organizers will contact all students who submitted proposals with a detailed schedule of sessions and presenters along with other information about conference day, such as morning registration, keynote speaker and the MNK awards.

What are the MNK Awards?
Each year, the Faculty of Graduate Studies invites graduate students to submit nominations (deadline March 10) for the Michael Plyley Graduate Mentorship Awards and the Marilyn Rose Graduate Leadership Award.

The FGS will celebrate the recipients of these awards, as well as graduate students who receive the Jack M. Miller Excellence in Research Awards, at the MNK Conference.

Can graduate students attend the conference sessions if they are not registered to present at the conference?
By all means, all graduate students are invited to attend whether or not they are presenting. It’s one of the best opportunities all year to connect with students and faculty from other programs and a great way to discover opportunities for collaboration with fellow students. There’s no need to register as a non-presenter. Attendance is free.

Is the conference open to the public?
Yes, members of the public are welcome to attend. Graduate students and program supervisors are encouraged to invite community partners, family, friends and other guests to attend the conference sessions.

The MNK Conference features poster sessions, in the morning and afternoon, held at the third floor walkway of the Cairns Complex at entrance to the plaza building. Each poster session is typically 40-50 minutes.

The conference schedule, including the list of presenters for the morning and afternoon sessions, will be e-mailed to students a few weeks prior to the conference date. The list of presenters if numbered and this number designates the poster board that you will use to display your large-scale printed poster during your session (thumb tacks will be provided to you).

All poster presenters must stand beside their poster during the session to speak with conference attendees. All presenters are required to remain for the duration of the session in keeping with the spirit of collegial interaction. Feel free to invite colleagues, thesis advisors and supervisors and guests to the poster sessions.

Poster presenters are also encouraged to prepare an 8.5″ x 11″ handout to give to conference attendees visiting your poster.

If you have any questions about the poster session, please feel free to contact Kim Gammage,

Poster Dimensions and Preparation 
Each poster will be mounted on a stand that includes a tack board that is: 40 inches wide (102 centimeters) x 36 inches tall (91 centimeters). Your poster must fit on this board.

An effective way to design a large print poster is by using PowerPoint.

Brock’s Printing and Digital Services has developed PowerPoint Poster templates (with Brock logo) that students can download to use in creating their MNK poster:

Either size will fit on the MNK poster boards. The templates are set at half scale, this will make the designing easier for students to layout and view on screen. The final product output will be printed at 200 percent to fit the final finished-size required.

Once students have completed their poster design, the PP slide must be converted to a PDF to embed the graphics and fonts. To covert a PP slide to a PDF, under the tabs in the PP program, click “Acrobat” at far right, click “Create PDF.” Do not use the e-mail or review options as this could lower the resolution.

There is a cost associated with large size printing. You may inquire with your Graduate Program Director about applying for graduate student conference funds to cover the cost of printing the poster.

You can take the PDF file of your poster to the following campus locations for large-scale printing.


What Makes a Good Poster?
When you look at your poster, it should be easy to read, logical to follow and neat. You want to communicate effectively – brief but clear meaning, main points highlighted, enough information to understand the research question and hypothesis.

Use clear fonts (Arial, Times New Roman, Calibri) and high quality graphics, with little “clutter.” White space is your friend!

Poster sections

  1. Title of research proposal, authors and affiliation (i.e. Brock University)
  2. Brief Introduction: literature review that should provide a basic understanding of the topic area for any reader (i.e., what is your topic, why is it important, what is currently known in the literature, what are the key terms/definitions they need to understand). Point out gaps, criticisms or limitations in the current literature. This will set the stage for why your study is important. It should conclude with the purpose (or research question) and hypothesis.
  3. Method: participants (number, age, gender, inclusion/exclusion criteria, how they were recruited and selected), a brief description of materials (e.g. questionnaires, equipment) used and procedures that were followed. Think about all your relevant variables (independent/dependent) and how each is assessed.
  4. Results: here, you will include the results of your study. What data analysis did you conduct? The results will be specific to answer your research question. You may wish to include a table or graph.
  5. Discussion: was your hypothesis supported or not? Why or why not? How do your results compare to existing studies; how will the results of the study be used (applied or theoretical implications), limitations to study, what research should follow next.
  6. References: Optional, but often serve as a means of providing additional information and details to those interested in your work, thereby eliminating the need for you to include too many details on the poster itself.
  7. Acknowledgements: Optional, but serve to acknowledge individuals, funding agencies, etc.
  8. QR Bar Code: Optional, but serve to allow you to guide those interested in your research to the lab website, and your personal website.

Individual presentations will be organized by general themes into concurrent sessions featuring four or five presentations per session.

Each concurrent session will be approximately 100 minutes. However, your individual presentation should be no longer than 15 minutes in length. This will leave time for questions at the end of all the presentations. All presenters are required to remain for the duration of the session in keeping with the spirit of collegial interaction.

Sessions will be held in the classrooms on the 3rd and 4th floor of the Plaza building as well as rooms in the Cairns Complex. Each room is equipped with a computer and projector. You many use a PowerPoint presentation or you may simply talk for your presentation time – this is up to you.

Please bring your presentation on a memory stick and email your presentation to yourself as a backup. Please do not bring your own laptop in order to avoid compatibility issues.

When designing your presentation please remember that most of the audience members will not be from your particular field of study. As such, design your presentation without using jargon and field-specific terms. In general, please keep your audience in mind when preparing your presentation. We recommend that you consult with your thesis advisor when designing your presentation.

Each concurrent session will be assigned to a Session Chair. The Chair will run the session; introducing speakers, keeping time and facilitating questions at the end of all the presentations.

You will be informed of your particular session prior to the conference date. We will also indicate who will serve as the Session Chair.

If you have any questions about your presentation, please feel free to contact Professor Kim Gammage at

  • As Session Chair, your primary role is to introduce speakers, keep time and facilitate questions at the end of the presentations.
  • Please arrive to the session room five to ten minutes prior to the start to help presenters with the computers. In each room, there is a computer and projector – participants may use a PowerPoint presentation if they choose. If they do, we have asked them to bring the presentation on a memory stick and email it to themselves as a back-up. We have also asked them not to bring their own laptops to avoid compatibility issues.
  • At the start of the session, please share a few reminders:
    • presenters are required to stay for the duration of the session
    • guests that need to leave, should exit the room between presentations
  • Presenters have been asked to speak no longer than 15 minutes to ensure time for questions (about 5 minutes per presenter). Chairs may take questions after each presenter, or save them to the end of the session.
  • If their are no audience questions, Chairs should be prepared with a question or two to get things rolling.
  • In situations in which a presenter does not attend, please do not collapse the session as potential audience members will be moving from session to session to hear specific presentation based on the order of session presenters as published in the MNK booklet. We recommend that Chairs extend informal question periods between presenters or give people a chance to replenish coffee.
  • The MNK registration desk opens at 8am on the 4th floor of the plaza building. Please drop by the registration desk when you arrive to pick up your conference program, name tag and conference gift. Breakfast and lunch are provided.
  • To help us increase student engagement, please promote and share the session through social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. Use the hashtag #BrockMNK

Everyone has a role in making MNK a success. Below are some best practices for presenters, as well as others who plan to be part of conference day.

Here’s what to keep in mind when you submit an abstract to present at MNK:

  • In submitting an abstract to the Call for Proposals, you should consider at that point that you have committed to being at the conference. Be sure to block the day off on your calendar. Because MNK is held on the first day of Winter Exams, you will want to check if that will have an impact on your availability. Those who have exam conflicts should contact the MNK co-ordinator, as soon as possible, to see if your presentation can be scheduled around your exam period.
  • Presenters who cancel after submitting abstracts, particularly once the schedule of sessions has been determined, impact the experience for others in their session. It’s very unprofessional to not show up on conference day unless there are extenuating circumstances (e.g., illness, or some unexpected issue) that prevent you from attending. In such cases, contact the MNK co-ordinator to indicate that you cannot attend as soon as possible.
  • Plan to make the most of your conference day by attending the opening address, sitting in on sessions throughout the day, attending the MNK awards celebrations and taking the time to meet others over lunch and informal gatherings. Remember that MNK is an opportunity that you’ll get once a year to meet and connect with other students and faculty from different disciplines, to share research interests and to have a free exchange of ideas. Every conference you attend is an opportunity to build an important network of colleagues.

Here’s what to keep in mind for conference day:

  • Presenters are expected to check-in at the registration desk at the beginning of the day to pick up your nametag, conference program booklet and journal. Guests to the conference can drop by the registration desk to pick up a copy of the conference/abstract program booklet to help plan their day at the conference.
  • It is recommended that presenters dress business casual in keeping with the goal of providing the experience of participating in a professional conference setting.
  • Get to sessions on time. Presenters are expected to arrive before the start of the session. In the spirit of collegiality, and to support your fellow presenters, you should remain for the duration of the session.
  • Sessions, and individual presentations within sessions, are scheduled to begin and end at the same time to facilitate movement between sessions. If you need to come and go from the room once a session is in progress, please enter and exit between presentations.
  • An important part of each session is the Q&A held following each presentation. This is your chance to engage with the presenters in a collegial atmosphere. Base questions on your curiosity as a researcher, for instance, finding out more, or clarifying, the methods and analysis used, alternative conclusions, etc. Also, think about something that you liked or interested you about the research and ask a question that will help the researcher expand on his or her ideas.
  • Stay off cell phones and have them muted when presentations are being made. When it is appropriate, we would encourage you to share you conference experience via MNK social media.

Please be quiet in the halls outside of rooms while sessions are under way.