Gemstone Honors Program
junior posters

Team Milestones

We want to ensure that our students succeed. To help them through their Gemstone research process, there is a major event each year of their research, culminating in the Thesis Conference. These milestones mark their progress through their research and the Gemstone Honors Program, and can help students get experience presenting their research before Thesis Conference.

Timeline for Team Success | Sophomore Thesis Proposal | Junior Colloquia | Undergraduate Research Day | Thesis Conference

Timeline for Team Success

The Timeline for Team Success shows the courses students should be taking, each year's major milestone, and the expectations of the team for each semester. It should be used as a resources for keeping students on track througout their research process.

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Sophomore Thesis Proposal

In the spring of the sophomore year, teams will write and present a thesis proposal to a committee made up of their mentor, the Gemstone Program Director, the Gemstone Associate Director, their librarian, and at least one expert who will hopefully later serve as a discussant for the team. The proposal must include the following:

  • Overview of the research problem using supporting literature
  • Purpose and rationale of proposed study including potential significance of the findings and supporting literature
  • Research question(s)
  • Methodological design (including description of sample, subjects, etc.)
  • Limitations
  • Project timeline
  • Budget

This proposal will be due to the team's committee at least five business days prior to their proposal defense. The team is responsible for setting up a one hour meeting with their committee mid to late February (no later). During this meeting, the team will present a brief synopsis of the proposal (15 minutes) to the committee, including the research questions and research plan. They will respond to questions from the committee. The committee members will share their feedback, comments, and suggested changes. The proposal meeting will be video recorded.

Junior Colloquia

Junior teams are required to present their research and progress at the Colloquia as part of the Gemstone experience during the fall semester.  Freshmen are required to attend the Colloquia and mentors, librarians and other members of the Gemstone community are encouraged to attend.

The Colloquia serve as a “status check” for the junior teams.  The Gemstone staff, mentors, librarians, and other students in attendance will evaluate each team according to the objectives listed on the Timeline for Team Success to determine whether the team appears to be on track or not.  Additionally, the Colloquia are a wonderful way for the junior teams to practice presenting their research in a professional way as they progress towards their end goal – presenting and defending their thesis and final project to a panel of experts (their discussants) at the Team Thesis Conference in the spring semester of their senior year. One other benefit of the Colloquia is that Gemstone freshmen can see the wide range of topics that are currently being studied by Gemstone junior teams and they can learn how different teams work together and what makes the teams successful in various ways. 

For more information about Junior Colloqia, and to view the schedule, click here.

Undergraduate Research Day

Undergraduate Research Day is hosted by the Maryland Center for Undergraduate Research and each year our Gemstone Junior teams participate as a way to practice giving poster presentations in a conference setting and to demonstrate their progress toward completion of the Gemstone Honors Thesis. Not only that, but teams expand awareness of the Gemstone Honors Program among the university community. Your team’s participation is also mandatory for your GEMS 397 grade.

To download the poster template click here.

For more detailed information click here.

Thesis Conference

The Thesis Conference is held annually for senior teams to present and defend their research. The event is coordinated by the Gemstone staff. Teams are responsible for inviting and confirming 3-5 discussants that will provide feedback on the team thesis and presentation. Each team presents for 25 minutes with 20 minutes for questions from the discussants and the audience. Following the formal presentation, each team will have one hour of private feedback time with their discussants.

For all of the information regarding Thesis Conference, including the schedule, click here.