Artboard 1 apply Artboard 1 copy 2 Mount_Logo_Primary_RGB Mount_Logo_Primary_RGB give Artboard 1 copy 3 info link Mount_Logo_Primary_RGB Artboard 1 Artboard 2 Artboard 1 visit

SPARC Festival Resources

 SPARC is a yearly academic celebration wherein is highlighted some the best work of students at the Mount. A long-standing tradition, the SPARC Festival provides students the opportunity of presenting their work in disciplinary-conference format.

SPARC Details

Participation in the SPARC Festival is often the culmination of months of academic preparations including literature review, primary research, and written reporting, all under the mentoring guidance of faculty and other subject matter experts. As such, the SPARC Festival is not only a highlight in the Mount St. Mary’s University academic year; more importantly, participation in SPARC is often a highlight in the overall academic experience of many Mount St. Mary’s students.


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.

Why Don’t I Feel Like An Adult Yet? – The Science of Emerging Adulthood

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 Times

  • SPARC Festival: April 25-27
  • Academic Awards: April 27, 3:30 p.m.

Lightning Talks

A Lightning Talk is a brief presentation that hits the main points and expresses what matters most. These are roughly 15 minutes. You may choose to pair your talk with a PowerPoint, but this is not required.

Guidelines for Creating a SPARC Festival Lightning Talk

A lightning talk, by its nature, is brief. Hit the main points and express what matters most. Don't read a speech or essay in its entirety.  Be selective, condensing your talk to its essentials.


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. Relax. 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. Students presenting honors theses have worked through many months of research that culminates in an honors thesis, and their findings are presented to the university and greater community during the SPARC Festival.

Panel Presentations

A Panel Presentation is a small group of presenters (3-6) who will 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 presents the result of a project visually. Your poster should be self-explanatory, leaving you free to answer questions on the finer details of your project. Poster sessions are scheduled for two-hour blocks.

Guidelines for Creating a SPARC Festival Poster

A poster presents the result of a project visually, demonstrating the goals, methods, and conclusions. Your poster should be self-explanatory, leaving you free to answer questions on the finer details of your project. Strike a balance between coverage and simplicity.Here are a few example posters:

Location and Time

Poster sessions last two hours and take place in Patriot Hall. Arrive 15 minutes early to set up.


Design a poster that can be tacked onto a 4 foot by 4 foot corkboard. Pushpins will be available.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. Use illustrations, plots, small tables, or other visually-appealing content over text. If your project was initially in narrative form, 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.

Performance Presentations

A Performance Presentation is a discussion of the process by which a performance of music, theater or performance art is prepared and then performed. The 20 minutes combine a discussion of the topic complimented by performed examples. Each session is followed by a Q&A session with attendants.

If you have any questions or comments regarding the SPARC Festival, please contact:
Michael J. Turner, Ph.D
Assistant Professor of Biochemistry
Mary Catherine Kennedy, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Communication