What to Do
Conferences rely on three groups of people:
What you do is take on one of those roles, or maybe more than one, and do it well..
How to Do It Well
This video below covers all possible cases: oral and poster presentations, individual and group presentations, and presentation of research at various states of completion. It was created for the IVC/SC Student Research Symposium, but the information will be helpful to all of them.
To become a presenter, you submit an "abstract" of your research. (Writing an abstract is a valuable skill; Honors English Composition and Humanities courses cover it, and many Saddleback courses with research components cover it too, but it's quite likely you haven't encountered the term before. If you want to be sure what writing one entails in this context, visit Abstracts 101.)
Not all conferences are the same, but the flowchart below shows a typical application process:
Some students will be giving oral presentations, and others will be presenting via a poster in a poster session. The three brief videos below (each under three minutes) will give you an idea of how best to do this. Presenters will also have a chance to rehearse their presentations with Saddleback faculty.
Two of our conferences -- the IVC/SC Student Research Symposium and the HTCC Building Bridges Conference -- accept student volunteers. Most volunteers are involved in what is the best experience-building job: "moderating" a breakout session.
"Moderating" doesn't mean you have to keep the peace between competing researchers. It means, at bottom, that you have to "herd the cats": Introduce the presenters, watch the time for them, call on people at Q&A time, and signal other volunteers for help if needed (non-working computer, locked room, etc.) and -- probably most important -- smile reassuringly at nervous presenters.
You get the easiest job, and it's a very enjoyable one. You'll also find it rewarding, although in different ways than volunteering and presenting are.