Each year, AOS and SCO-SOC confer several prestigious Student Presentation Awards to students (undergraduate, masters, and doctoral) who present an outstanding poster or oral paper at each of the society’s annual meetings. For AOS, each award consists of a US$500 honorarium, for SCO-SOC, each award consists of a CA$300 honorarium. For the 2021 conference, these awards are administered by the joint Student Presentation Awards Committee. 

Students can only compete for awards from one Society and must choose. Students competing for AOS awards must be current members of AOS, and students competing for SCO-SOC awards must be current members of SCO-SOC.

Individuals wishing to be considered for a Student Presentation Award must indicate their interest after submitting their abstract for the general scientific sessions. Following abstract submission, students can submit an additional questionnaire using the abstract portal in order to register to be eligible for the presentation competition. While answering the required questions, students must choose whether they wish to compete for the competition as part of AOS or as part of SCO-SOC.  More society-specific information on presentation awards can be found here for AOS and here for SCO-SOC

Eligibility and Selection

AOS and SCO-SOC broadly follow the same rules for eligibility and selection.

Following NAOC 2020, AOS re-evaluated its selection process for participants in the Student Presentation Award Competition. The AOS committee met with representatives from the Student Affairs and Diversity and Inclusion committees and discussed several options for revising our current process. After these conversations, the committee designed a survey and polled AOS student membership. Based on the survey results and the aforementioned conversations, the Student Presentation Award Committee has adjusted the process for selecting participants in the Student Presentation Award Competition.

As always, Presentation Award participants are limited by the stated eligibility guidelines. Basic guidelines for both societies are as follows.

To participate in the presentation award competition, a student must be:

  • A current member of their respective society (i.e., AOS membership for the AOS competition, SCO-SOC membership for the SCO-SOC competition).
  • The sole presenting author of a poster or oral paper presentation. Students giving 15-minute talks as part of a symposium are eligible, but those giving longer talks in a symposium are not eligible.
  • A full-time or recently graduated student (including undergraduates). Students graduating the semester prior to the meeting are also eligible for presentation awards.

As much as we would like to allow all students meeting these guidelines to participate in the Presentation Award competition, there simply is too much demand, requiring us to limit participation. In consultation with the Student Affairs and Diversity and Inclusion committees, the AOS Student Presentation Award Committee is additionally limiting participants using two mechanisms: self-selection and lifetime participation caps. This process starts with a competition cap: all students can participate in 3 student presentation award competitions over the lifetime of their career and students can’t participate more than two years in a row (i.e., there must be a minimum 1-year gap if a student has participated in two consecutive years). The lifetime cap extends to all stages of education (e.g., undergrad to Ph.D.) and is irrespective of long temporal breaks between educational stages. Note that the cap is on participation in the competition, not necessarily winning an award. Students can only win one presentation award from AOS in their lifetime. 

In addition, the Student Presentation Awards Committee is including two self-selection questions that require students to opt-in to the competition via confirmation that their research is competitive for an award. These two questions, added as check boxes on the abstract portal, are: (1) Do you confirm that the material you will present, as described in your submitted abstract, represents a project that has been completed? And (2), based on the completeness of your research and your awareness of the lifetime participation cap in the presentation awards competition, do you confirm that you would like to participate in the presentation award competition at this conference? Examples of completed projects include undergraduate honors theses or projects, graduate dissertation chapters, or other completed projects that may be submitted for publication. The goal of these two questions is to give students an opportunity to evaluate their career stage/research completeness and self-select to participate at a time when their research is most competitive for a student presentation award. 

The Student Presentation Award Committee may still need to reduce the number of applicants after this self-selection process, due to judge availability and scheduling logistics. Based on feedback from our student membership, if the Student Presentation Award Committee needs to reduce the number of applicants, we will do so based on experience within each degree stage – i.e., late stage Master’s or Ph.D. students will be chosen over first and second year students in Master’s or Ph.D. programs, respectively. We hope that this approach will ensure that students nearing completion of their degree will be prioritized for the opportunity to participate.

Students will be informed of the outcome of the selection process prior to the beginning of the 2021 conference. Students should not assume that they are participating in the Presentation Award Competition simply having filled out the application.


The Student Presentation Award Committee attempts to make the judging of students presentations equitable, objective, and ultimately helpful to students. In 2021, AOS and SCO-SOC will use a single, combined judging system. Judges are recruited from a large pool of conference participants. We will do our best to recruit judges in a way that will allow us to accommodate presentations given in English, French, Spanish, and Portuguese. Each student presentation is anonymously evaluated by approximately 3 judges. Judges are required to declare conflicts of interest so that students can be judged fairly and impartially. Judges rate and rank each student presentation according to the following criteria:

  • Originality
  • Scientific Merit
  • Presentation Quality
  • Student Knowledge

After judging, all scores are compiled and organized, and judges along with the Student Presentation Award Committee decide on award winners and runners up. 

Regardless of award status, all students participating in the Student Presentation Awards Competition will receive via email a compilation of constructive written feedback from the judges that evaluated their presentation. Year after year, many students claim that this feedback is the greatest reward for participating in the competition.


If there are any questions about any of these processes, students are encouraged to reach out to the AOS Student Presentation Award Committee.

Matt Carling (AOS)

Morgan Tingley (AOS)

Jen Walsh (AOS)

Dorothy Hill (SCO-SOC)

Instructions for Applying

Students wishing to compete in the Student Presentation Award competition must first submit an abstract before they submit the presentation award competition application form. When filling out the presentation award competition application form, you will be required to enter the Presentation ID# from your submitted abstract. This ID number will be prominently displayed to you in your confirmation email upon submitting your abstract.

Apply for Student Presentation Award