Experiential Learning Fair

What is the ELF?

The Experiential Learning Fair (ELF) is where you share with our Honors College community your out of class Honors Experiences and compete for scholarships!. The ELF prepares you to talk about your experiences in meaningful ways, similar to what you will do in a job application or interview. The ELF takes place each Fall (November) and each Spring (April).

Check out winners from past ELF showcases! Note: we went virtual for the ELF during COVID, but as of Fall 2022, we’re back to in person ELFs. At the ELF, you present in a SPICES category that best represents your Experience. In each category, the top three ELF’ers will receive a $500 scholarship, if eligible for financial aid in the semester it is distributed.

Do I need to register for the ELF?

Yes. Registration is required to present at the ELF, and a separate registration is needed for each experience submission. Students are limited to 2 submissions, per ELF. Registration typically takes place in September and February for the respective fall and spring terms.

Is the ELF mandatory?

The Experiential Learning Fair is not required for students to earn experience approval in the Honors College. However, participating in the ELF is highly encouraged and provides major benefits for students such as improved communication skills, the opportunity to share your research or experience with others, professional development preparation for presenting at conferences, and more!

FAQ

Nope! But, it’s great professional experience, a fun social and easy networking experience with other students, a line on your resume, and possibly a scholarship. The Experiential Learning Fair is a way to learn how to talk meaningfully about all the work and activities you do outside of the classroom that make you who you are – and a more competitive graduate school and job applicant.

You definitely should present it again for several reasons:

  • The Experiential Learning Fair focuses on why your activity/research/project matters in ways different than contribution to discipline alone. Think that doesn’t matter so much? Ah, the National Science Foundation, or NSF, is the primary funder of scientific research in the United States. NSF grant reviewers assess your grant application for two things: contribution to the discipline and contribution to society. The latter has to be in plain language. It is often the hardest component of grant writing for academic researchers. In the Experiential Learning Fair, you will both write about the contribution to society in your poster and you will talk about it with the judges.
  • The Experiential Learning Fair is a different venue to document your research. That means your participation goes onto your CV/résumé. And if you win? That goes on your CV/résumé, too.
  • With these scholarship amounts for producing a free poster with a given template and talking about something you love? Why wouldn’t you?

You cannot present the OUR poster as the ELF poster, though. You’ll have to create the ELF poster using the provided template. The poster components are different. You are judged on poster components and your ability to talk about them. The Experiential Learning Fair allows you to reframe your research in a way that makes this a different conference presentation for professional development/CV/résumé. It is perfectly appropriate to present at multiple conferences on different aspects of the same experience. The different focus in the OUR and the Experiential Learning Fair allows you that opportunity.

Yes, students can submit in as many categories as they like. Students can submit two posters per fair.

You can win a prize in each category you submit.

Students can register at the ELF Registration page after registration has opened.

Your abstract can only have 150 words. It should include a brief description of the following:

  • Name, location and timeframe for activity; the goals and mission of your activity; the scope of your responsibilities and activities; specific personal, professional, social and/or intellectual growth you experienced; contribution to society.

Create and submit your poster template by the deadline. Submission details and template are on the ELF Registration page.

Email the Honors College at UTSA at: honors@utsa.edu