Attending the IJAS Science Symposium
and the IAS Annual Meeting

What to Expect

To put it simply, a science symposium is a conference where researchers get together to present and discuss their work. Scientists communicate their research findings to fellow scientists. Even in today's world of multimedia presentations available over the internet, through email, social media, and video conferencing, personal contact is very important. The Iowa Academy of Science provides personal contact for Iowa scientists to interact face to face within and across many scientific disciplines.  The back and forth instant discussion and feedback is important for healthy scientific discourse. 

The IJAS Science Symposium provides the opportunity for face to face discourse between Iowa middle and high school students, their teachers, and Iowa scientists. It also brings Iowa students together with the professional science community and professional scientists together with students. It is a friendly atmosphere important for students exploring science and wanting to experience a professional science experience close to home.

Students arrive at the IAS registration desk bright and early on Friday morning of the conference. They meet other students as they set up their posters and locate the room for their oral presentations. They are divided into small presentation groups made up of other students, teachers, and scientists. The morning is devoted to poster and oral presentations.

Poster  and Oral Presentations

The high school student posters are stand alone; they are judged without students being present. The students focus on their oral presentations. Middle school students are present at their posters during judging. However, many middle school students also choose the option to make an oral presentation. Students making oral presentations are not required to be at their posters. Each student receives recognition by having their name, school, and presentation title published in the IAS Proceedings, the official record of the conference. 

Opening IAS General Session

Once judging of the posters and oral presentations is complete it is time for a short break before the students attend the Iowa Academy of Science first general session. This is the official opening of the IAS Annual Meeting. An important part of the IJAS meeting is the students experiencing a professional conference. In recent years the first general session has included presentations on space exploration, earth science, health science, biological science by national speakers. Anyone who has attended will tell you that the sessions have been educational and entertaining. Science is exciting! For example, imagine hearing a Mars Rover driver talking about the experience of driving a robot across the Martian terrain while gathering scientific data.

Awards Luncheon

At Noon everyone convenes at the IJAS Awards Luncheon where all students are recognized for their work and prizes and awards are presented. Certificates, scholarships, and an all expenses paid trip for two students to the American Junior Academy of Science are awarded. The luncheon is attended by students, teachers, parents, and scientists. It is a great time to meet and converse with other attendees. 


After Lunch

The afternoon brings several opportunities. A special IJAS event is held by the host institution or students attend a presentation by scientists speaking at the IAS Annual Meeting. At 2:30 IAS symposiums begin. All IJAS attendees are eligible to sample a symposium or attend a portion of all three sessions. Each symposium is a smaller break out session where professional and student attendees choose a topic that interests them. You are allowed to ask questions!

Time to Go Home - Or Stay for More!

The IJAS conference comes to a close during the afternoon as students head home. While many students must get back to other obligations students wanting to experience the activities of the IAS Annual Meeting are welcome to stay through Saturday. There is much more to take in!

Read the Advance Program Guide online and the printed Annual Meeting Proceedings at the event to see what activities are available both days. A schedule of activities for both the IJAS and IAS meetings are available online prior to the conference.

The IJAS Science Symposium and the IAS Annual Meeting are excellent opportunities for students to experience a professional science conference. Students experience science by doing science. Watching how professionals interact while meeting Iowa and national scientists are important ways to help students decide on a future career. Students never know who they will meet and how they will be impacted by the conference. 


Suggested Attire for Presenters

It is recommended that presenters pick from one of the two options below; dressy casual or business casual.

Dressy Casual


  • Dress
  • Skirt and dressy top
  • Dressy pants outfit
  • Nice jeans and dressy top


  • Seasonal sport coat or blazer, and slacks
  • Dress shirt, casual button-down shirt, open-collar or polo shirt
  • Optional tie

Business Casual


  • Skirt, khakis, or pants
  • Open-collar shirt, knit shirt or sweater (no spaghetti straps or décolleté)
  • Dress


  • Seasonal sport coat or blazer with slacks or khakis
  • Dress shirt, casual button-down shirt, open-collar or polo shirt
  • Optional tie
  • Loafers or loafer-style shoes, and socks

Suggested Attire for Student Observers

It is recommended student observers follow either the casual dress suggestions below or the recommendations for the presenters above. 



  • Sundress
  • Long or short skirt
  • Khakis or nice jeans
  • Plain T-shirt (no slogans), polo shirt, turtleneck
  • Casual button-down blouse


  • Khakis or good jeans (clean, no holes)
  • Plain T-shirt (no slogans), polo shirt, turtleneck
  • Casual button-down shirt and/or sweater
  • Loafers, sneakers, sandals


The following prizes are awarded:

12th Grade: 
Two $500.00 College Scholarships. Open to graduating seniors only.

9th-11th grade Level:
Based on the competition, two representatives are chosen to represent Iowa at the American Junior Academy of Science Conference with all expenses paid by the Iowa Academy of Science and Iowa Space Grant Consortium. First and second alternates are also selected. The alternates may make the trip if one or both of the representatives are unable to attend.  IAS/IJAS may select additional delegates who may attend at their own expense with their attending parent or teacher. Read past delegate stories here.

Middle School Level:
1-2 Most Promising Young Scientist Certificates and IJAS T-shirts awarded

If you have questions please contact the IAS office at 319-273-2021 or email You may also contact the IAS Executive Director at 319-273-2581.