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SPARC Festival

The SPARC Festival is the Mount's yearly academic celebration of scholarship, performance, art, research and creativity, where you'll have the opportunity present some of your best research or creative projects in disciplinary-conference format. You'll find that the energy on campus is electric as you support the academic accomplishments of your peers and professors through three days of stimulating discussion and reflection.

Contact us:
Michael J. Turner, Ph.D. at 301-447-5446
Mary Catherine Kennedy, Ph.D. at 301-447-5686

SPARC Festival

Join us April 24-26, 2019 for the SPARC Festival!

Festival Formats

As as student, you have the opportunity to present your work through a variety of formats, and chances are you've been preparing something exciting for months! Take a look at these options to see which one works best with your course of study.


Keynote Speaker – Tamika Tremaglio, C'92

Tamika, a 1992 graduate of the Mount, is the Greater Washington managing principal at Deloitte Touche and is responsible for overseeing more than 10,000 audit, tax, advisory, and consulting professionals in the region. She helps to drive client and business growth and further enhance Deloitte’s strategic positioning in the Greater Washington market. In addition to Tamika's leadership responsibilities, she also continues to work with clients in the forensics and investigations space.

Tamika has led numerous large U.S. and multinational client relationships for the Advisory practice across the life sciences and health care and consumer and industrial products industries in forensic and dispute services. Additionally, she also serves as corporate secretary on the Deloitte Transactions and Business Analytics LLP board.

She is a member of the National Bar Association, Women in Power and Influence in the Law Superstars and the Women of Excellence Network. Tamika serves her community as the vice chairman and audit committee chair of the National Aquarium in Baltimore, Advisory Board of the National Bar Association’s Commercial Law Section, president of the Women’s National Basketball Players Association Foundation, and is on the boards of the United Way, Greater Washington Board of Trade, Tuskegee University and Girls Empowerment Mission.

Tamika holds an MBA and a JD and has been a frequent lecturer on corporate governance and global anti-corruption investigations and compliance issues. In 2017, the Washington Business Journal honored Tamika as Women Who Mean Business and the Washingtonian magazine recognized her as one of the Top 100 Most Powerful Women in Washington, DC. She is a recipient of the National Bar Association’s Cora T. Walker Legacy Award and the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law Black Law Student Association’s 2014 Alumna of the Year Award. Tamika has also been recognized as one of the Top 40 under 40 by both the National Bar Association and Business Forward and most recently she was featured in Essence magazine’s Power & Money List 2014 in which she was recognized as a “Game Changer” with the likes of Queen Latifah.

Honored Faculty Speaker – Caitlin Faas, Ph.D.


In recent decades, many 20-year-old college students feel distinct from 15-year-old adolescents and 30-year-old adults. They can especially feel different from past generations, who achieved life milestones at earlier ages. Studying these changes, Arnett (2000) proposed the theory of emerging adulthood, which covers the span of 18-29 year olds and includes both feelings and achievement of adulthood. This talk will examine how we scientifically study the milestones of education, marriage, children, career paths, and more.


Dr. Faas is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology. She received her B.A. (2008) in Psychology from Kent State University. She earned both her M.S. (2010) and Ph.D. (2013) in Human Development from Virginia Tech. Dr. Faas specializes in emerging adulthood research, particularly educational attainment pathways. Finishing up her fifth year at The Mount, Dr. Faas has taught a wide range of courses including Lifespan Development, Experimental Cognition with Lab, Research Preparation, Foundations of Psychology, Cross-Cultural Psychology, and Developmental Disabilities.

Dates and Timeline

  • February 18-March 1: SPARC submission period (review period during Spring Break)
  • March 13-18: Resubmission period
  • March 27: Finalized schedule determined
  • April 25-27: SPARC Festival
  • April 27, 3:30 p.m.: Academic Awards

Lightning Talks

A Lightning Talk is where you give a brief presentation to hit on the main points of an idea and express what matters most. Don't plan to read a speech or essay in its entirety. Be selective, condensing your talk to its essentials.

Lightning Talk Guidelines


When you submitted your proposal, you indicated your preferences for a one-hour time slot. About a week prior to the festival, you will be notified of your presentation time (15 minute window in that hour). Please arrive 5 minutes prior to your presentation time.


PowerPoint slides or other computer files can be projected on a laptop computer that will be set up prior to your presentation. PowerPoint is not required. Bring your computer and bring the file with you on a flash drive or email it to yourself.


Each presenter has 15 minutes, including time for questions & answers. Plan to speak no longer than 10 minutes. Please honor your time constraints in order to facilitate the presentations that precede or follow yours.


The most successful lightning talks show evidence of preparation, organization, enthusiasm, and confidence. Avoid speaking too rapidly or too quietly. Remember to relax and breathe. For best results, practice your talk and ask a friend to time you.

Honors Presentations

An Honors Presentation is the final capstone presentation of an honors thesis, as per the requirements of the University Honors Program. If you're presenting your honors thesis, chances are you've already worked through many months of research and the SPARC Festival is when your findings are presented to the university and greater community.

Panel Presentations

A Panel Presentation is where you may be part of a small group of presenters (3-6) who talk about various angles on a specific theme. Panels are scheduled for 60-75 minutes and panelists usually speak for roughly 10 minutes each. If you have a panel idea, talk with one of your professors!

Poster Presentations

A poster is a way to presents the result of your project visually, demonstrating your goals, methods, and conclusions. Your poster should be self-explanatory, leaving you free to answer questions on the finer details of the project. Poster sessions are scheduled for two-hour blocks.

Guidelines for Creating a SPARC Festival Poster

Location and Time

Poster sessions last two hours and take place in Patriot Hall. You'll need to arrive 15 minutes early to set up.


Design your poster so that it can be tacked onto a 4 foot by 4 foot corkboard. Pushpins will be available. You may use PowerPoint to design a 4 x 4 poster that can be printed in the Center for Instructional Technology and tacked onto the mounting board, or design a series of slides (letter-sized or smaller) that can be individually printed and tacked onto the mounting board. You may supplement your poster with a laptop presentation, though access to electric outlets will be limited. If you include audio, keep the volume to a reasonable level.


Present sufficient evidence to support your conclusions, and use illustrations, plots, small tables, or other visually-appealing content over text. If your project was initially in narrative form, then select representative excerpts. Limit yourself to four or five pages of text in a large font legible from a four-foot distance.


Provide background on your goals, methods, and conclusions. What is the underlying question, why is it important, what is the timeline, who were the participants, what activities went into the research, what conclusion did you reach? Share enough information to allow observers to respond with informed questions.


Sequence items on your poster in an intuitive way that allows observers to readily understand your project. Use left-to -right, top-to-bottom organization and include letters or arrows if necessary. Feature major points, leaving other findings for informal conversations with SPARC attendees. Provide clear labels for each section of your presentation. Use color to enhance comprehension.

Title and names

Choose a descriptive, catchy title. Include the names of the presenters.


Simplicity is key. Don't try to cover too much material. Say a lot about a little rather than a little about a lot. Rehearse a brief summary of your project. Before you make your poster, create a list of the visuals you would include if you were describing your project with only the visuals. Write the text after you have created the list of visuals.


For examples of poster sessions from previous SPARC festivals, visit our Facebook page.

Performance Presentations

A Performance Presentation is where you will present a discussion of the process by which a performance of music, theater or performance art is prepared and then perform it. This 20-minute presentation session is followed by a Q&A session with attendants.