Community Science Symposium

About the Program

Annual Salish Sea Student Science Symposium

newly expanded and hosted by the Seattle Aquarium is now

Community Science Symposium

Future dates TBD

The Community Science Symposium brings together student scientists, teachers, and scientists, and resource professionals to share, explore and discuss research on local watersheds as well as the marine waters of the Salish Sea.

  • This is a forum for individual students or any group of students to share their investigations and/or projects from the school year.
  • Participants from Salish programs are invited to use this event to share the science results of their projects from the school year.
  • For educators, it’s an opportunity to learn and share new approaches to facilitating inquiry-based science education.
  • Community members are invited to celebrate learning and inquiry by the youth who will become tomorrow’s scientists and innovators.

Interested in presenting? (click “Submit Student Presentation” to the upper right—>)

Check out photos from the 2018 event here, and a video presentation by one of our school groups here.

Event Schedule

After brief introductions, we will launch into the morning’s main event featuring student presentations from a variety of schools throughout the Salish Sea region. All student presenters will be sharing their original research, either in an oral presentation or poster format. All research is focused on the Salish Sea and its connected waterways. There will also be several partner organizations present to share future opportunities for students to engage further in science, engineering and technology. The event concludes at 1:00pm.

Click here for more schedule details. 

Presenter’s Guide

Presentation Guidelines

The Symposium is open to 5th – 12th grade students interested in presenting the results of their research project from the school year.  Even though the event has been designed around schools participating in Salish programs, we also invite groups that have not participated in Salish programs during the school year.


Presentations can include either a 5-10 minute PowerPoint presentation, or a poster or tri-board display. Salish will offer a template for presentation content which includes the experimental design, methods, field locations, results, conclusion and evaluation. Presenters should also prepare a brief summary of lessons learned, ideas for the future, reflections on the fieldwork experience, and relevance to the Salish Sea ecosystem and/or community. Presenters are requested to also send a brief (up to 500 words) summary of research to the Salish organizing staff. This abstract is then printed in the Science Symposium program.

Podium Presenter Guidelines

Click to print. Here are some helpful tips and tricks to assist you as you are developing your presentations Ignite Style Podium Presentations

  • Practice, Practice, Practice!!!
  • Each podium presentation will have 5 minutes to present. This usually breaks down to 20 slides for 15 seconds each. Of course, you can do fewer slides with more time, but we strongly discourage doing more slides.
  • Make sure to practice using a timer. Be aware that somebody will be giving you times during your presentation to help you pace yourself and stick to 5 minutes.
  • Remember to speak slowly, pronounce your words and speak into the microphone.
  • Please use Powerpoint and keep it simple.
  • Be familiar with your content. It will help make you more comfortable when presenting.
  • Warm up. To help your audience hear your message, warm up using tongue twisters

She sells seashells by the seashore,

The shells she sells are seashells, I’m sure.

So if she sells seashells on the seashore,

Then I’m sure she sells seashore shells

Click here for more.

All final presentations are to be submitted to your teacher no later than May 22. Your teacher will then upload the presentation into the Dropbox shared folder here. Please note, we will have limited space for podium presentations. We will have the option for students to present at the podium, or in the exhibit space alongside the poster presentations.

Poster Presenter Guidelines

Click to print. Here are some helpful tips and tricks to assist you as you are developing your presentations. Poster presentations allow the audience more time to digest complex information and promote discussion between presenters and their audience. Posters typically reach a wider audience than short talks because they are on display longer.

  • Poster Presentations that are accepted must be prepared to display in the Life on the Edge Exhibit area by 10:00 am on Wednesday, May 29th.
  • Posters must have the presenters name, and their teachers name on the back of the poster.
  • Posters must be removed and picked up by students by 1pm.
  • Poster Presenters are expected to:
    • Be the original authors of the poster
    • Know the scheduled time of your poster presentation and stand by the poster during their designated poster session.
    • Be prepared to provide expanded description of the poster during the poster receptions.
    • Be knowledgeable of the content covered in the poster.
    • Dress professionally: no offensive logos, or inappropriate imagery will be permitted.
    • Have fun and Enjoy! Good news: being nervous does not hurt your credibility or authority.
    • Use provided clipboard and sheet to track how many people interact with you and your poster. Note any conversations that stand out and why.
    • Interact with your neighbors.
  • Poster Format Requirements
    • The poster should be a display board no larger than 36” x 48”.
    • Posters will be placed on a table and/or affixed to a tripod stand.
    • A title that is visible.
    • The poster should clearly and concisely detail the project’s: topics, scope, methodology, results (evidence) and conclusions (thesis, interpretations, inferences).
    • You are encouraged to work drafts of the poster through your teacher.
    • The poster should be able to sit on the tripod stand without extra support.

If you have any questions about the symposium or if you are interested in mentor support for your presentation, please feel free to email If you are interested, we can coordinate an Aquarium staff person to spend up to 4 hours assisting you in the development of your podium presentation.

Sample Student Podium Presentation A

Sample Student Podium Presentation B

Sample Student Poster Presentation

Questions? Contact our Education Director at


What is Salish Sea Expeditions?

Salish Sea Expeditions is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization established to provide an opportunity for students to design and conduct real scientific research from the decks of a sailing vessel on the Salish Sea.

What is the Community Science Symposium?

The Symposium is capstone event that celebrates the work of student scientists! It provides an opportunity for students from around the Salish Sea region to convene and share the results of their student designed research to peers, professional scientists, policy makers and the community.  The event hosts oral and poster presentations as well as hands on learning sessions from professional scientists.  Each year there is a keynote speaker with a demonstrated passion for science research and education.

Who can participate?

Students starting in 4th grade and beyond who have designed their own science research or field work utilizing the scientific method.

What is the maximum/minimum number of participants?

Student groups or individuals are welcome.  Teachers can bring the entire grade level, their class, or a delegate of students.  For presentations we ask that no more than six student scientists present.

Why should I participate?

  • To share what you learned using PowerPoint or a poster.
  • To meet other presenters.
  • To support young student scientists.
  • To talk to professional scientists who are working in fields related to your research.
  • To add to your resume of academic achievements.

What will happen during the day?

Presenting students and teachers will arrive before other guests to set up. Salish Staff will be assigned to help your group prepare and practice. Student presentations will follow throughout the day, with breaks for lunch, professional scientists’ presentations, and time to review the work of other students and local organizations in our exhibition hall. Additionally, several workshops, addressing a range of topics particular to the Salish Sea region and facilitated by regional scientists and environmental stewards will be available for students up to 12th grade to attend.

Does my project need to be about a certain topic?

No. Any original research question or field science project is welcome at the Symposium.

What type of presentations?

There are two categories for presentations, oral and poster.  Oral presentations can be in the format of a PowerPoint, Prezi, storybook, etc. and are not to exceed 10 minutes in length.  Poster presentations are on trifolds, poster board or large scientific poster.

When and Where?

Every year the date changes to accommodate schools and groups participating in the Salish SOUND programs.  Typically the event is held during the first week of June.  Please check our website for location and date.

Who will be there?

Students, teachers, professional scientists and interested members of the public will be there to hear presentations. For students, this will be the culmination of their research projects, giving them the opportunity to share their findings and receive feedback from both professionals and peers. For teachers, it will be an opportunity to learn and share new approaches to facilitating inquiry-based science education. And for the community, it will serve as an opportunity to celebrate learning and inquiry by the youth who will become tomorrow’s scientists and innovators.

Are there scholarships or mini grants available?

There is a possibility that there may be funding for transportation fees and or substitute fees.  If these funds are available, it is on a reimbursement basis. If you have questions at any time, please contact our Education Director at (206) 780 7848 or email

Thank You to Our Annual Sponsors

Featured Sponsors - Homepage

Program Details

Date & Time: Future dates TBD
Seattle Aquarium, 1483 Alaskan Way, Seattle, WA 98101

Registration Deadline for Presenters: Future date TBD
Registration is open to all students interested in sharing original marine science research focused on the Salish Sea ecosystem.

All Salish Sea Expeditions participants are welcome to attend this free, educational event as an audience member; community seating is limited, so pre-registration is encouraged.

RSVP for participating schools & youth groups: Future date TBD

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