General | Students | Faculty


What is SSA?

SSA (Science, Society, and the Arts) is a W&L sponsored research conference where students present their research and creative work to the W&L community. The 10th SSA conference will be held on Friday evening, March 17, 2023 and all day Saturday, March 18, 2023. Students may participate in the conference by presenting their own work, joining a book or film colloquia session, or simply attending the conference.

What type of work is appropriate for the SSA conference?

Research or creative work in any discipline is acceptable for presentation at SSA. Any project (paper, performance, etc.) that you are proud of and want to share with others is likely appropriate. Most junior and senior theses or capstone projects are ideal for SSA, but some projects and papers you have completed as part of coursework are also equally appropriate. Independent research done over the summer of 2022 are welcome. Group projects or co-authored projects which demonstrate independence and hard work of group members are eligible for presentation as well.

Your work does not need to be perfect if it is thoughtful and carefully executed. What is important is that the work demonstrates independent thinking and serious effort to do quality work. Conferences are designed to give scholars a chance to share work that is not yet in its most complete form, and to benefit from exchanging ideas with others who have the courage to share their own less-than-perfect work.

Who is the Keynote Speaker this year?

Our Keynote Speaker is noted Irish musician and activist Brendan Begley.  See more information under the Kenote Speaker page.  


How can I get involved in SSA?

  1. Submit your own original work.

    • Please see above for what work is eligible and appropriate for SSA.

    • Work can be presented in a poster, oral presentation, art show, or performance format. Regardless of the format, the SSA committee will schedule your work appropriately by theme and presentation type.

    • Original work can be submitted at this site when the submission form opens.

  2. Participate in a book or film colloquium.

    • Instead of, or in addition to, presenting your own work, you can get involved in SSA by joining a book or film discussion group. The colloquia operate like a club that meets one time to discuss an assigned reading or viewing. After signing up for a particular colloquium you will either be given the book for free or given access to view the film that is the subject of your colloquia. You will get this before winter break so that you can read or view it before SSA. You will be able to sign up for colloquia online and choose a discussion that you would like to be involved in.

    • The list of colloquia will be announced in early Winter.

  3. Attend the SSA conference and support your friends and peers.

    • Even if you don't present at SSA, please plan on attending. SSA provides excellent opportunities to see what your peers are working on in and out of class, and exchange ideas with them in a creative and constructive setting.

Why should I present at SSA?

 There are many reasons to present your work at SSA.

  1. It's a great opportunity to share with others the kinds of things that you have been working on and thinking about.
  2. You will likely get some helpful ideas from others about your own work.
  3. It's a resume-builder - just ask Career Services! Presenting at a conference tells future employers and educational institutions that you take learning seriously and have begun to master a particular domain.
  4. It's fun!

Is my summer work appropriate for the SSA conference?

Yes. As long as you played a significant part in planning and/or conducting the summer research, your Summer Research Scholars or independent research project would likely make a great SSA poster or paper presentation.

Can I present more than one project?

Yes. We will work hard to accommodate those who submit more than on project. Due to scheduling conflicts during the conference, two papers or posters and a book colloquium group is probably the maximum that any one person should try to do.

Can law students participate?

Absolutely! This is a campus wide event. We are encouraging law school participation and hope that we will have good law school representation.


How can I encourage student participation in SSA?

There are several ways to encourage participation:

  1. For high quality, original work add a "Save this work for SSA" post-it to submitted work that you think is appropriate for SSA or write a comment on papers or projects that are of high quality and appropriate for SSA. Remember that the conference isn't aimed only at thesis or capstone research. Post-its will be distributed for your use.

  2. Encourage students to attend SSA on the evening of Friday, March 17, 2023 and Saturday, March 18, 2023. Remind the students that the conference is a great place to learn about what their peers are doing. Before the conference, you could access the conference program and direct students towards sessions related to your class, their major, or research interests. Finally, you could even encourage written assignments related to SSA for extra credit in your class.

  3. Plan on attending at least some portion of SSA. It means a lot to our students when they see faculty taking an interest in their work and it's a way to encourage and invest in the intellectual climate on our campus.

How can I help out with the conference?

Volunteer to moderate a session. Moderators at SSA help structure session time, introduce speakers, and encourage interaction at the conference. No work ahead of time is required. Please contact Chris Dobbins if you have any questions.

Can I sponsor a SSA symposium session?

Absolutely! Contact Chris Dobbins to set this up and then invite students to participate. This is a great way to develop interdisciplinary relationships and would likely lead to some fascinating and productive sessions.