Black Doctoral Network Western Regional Conference
“Breakthrough to Excellence”
Los Angeles, California
April 4, 2020

The Black Doctoral Network Western Regional Conference Committee is inviting abstract submissions for the 2020 conference themed “Breakthrough to Excellence.” This conference highlights academic and professional topics that encourage and foster excellence through self-awareness and empowerment. The turbulence of contemporary political and social times calls for an increased ability to tap into one’s own personal power. This year’s conference will highlight topics such as emotional intelligence, embodied power, resilience, mentoring, civic engagement, and interpersonal communication. Key issues addressed at this conference will include the rise in divisive political rhetoric, hate crimes, and economic and social inequities. New problems require new solutions and it is essential for scholars and leaders to raise the bar by providing competencies and skills that push boundaries by challenging structural and societal norms. The 2020 theme encourages attendees to lead and inspire others to Breakthrough to Excellence. The BDN Western Regional Conference is an interdisciplinary event that brings together academics and professionals from the social sciences, STEM, and humanities to address way to positively impact and inform each other’s work and engage our communities. Submission of abstracts from graduate and doctoral students, recent Ph.D. graduates, and academic professionals across disciplines are welcome.


The theme of the annual meeting asks: What competencies and skills are needed to increase emotional intelligence in order to succeed in turbulent times? What opportunities exist for developing personal power in advancing collective and professional goals? What skills are needed to achieve goals while having the biggest impact possible? Papers that will reflect on this theme are especially encouraged, but we consider submissions on any related topic. 


The purpose of the workshops is to provide opportunities for professional development through hands-on training, as well as to engage in focused discussions that offer new knowledge, resources, and set of skills to the attendees. We welcome proposals that address the theme of the conference: how to empower ourselves and others and develop stronger resilience within individuals and communities, mechanisms for overcoming social, political, and economic hardship, steps to using our intellectual capital to foster equity and engender social change and strategies for developing skills and competencies that foster excellence. 

Priority Deadline: Sunday, January 19, 2020 at 11:59PM EST.

Rolling admission starts Monday, January 20, 2020 and ends Sunday, March 1, 2020



We accept abstracts from (1) individuals who wish to present on a panel and from (2) groups who want to create their own panel. Abstracts should be no more than 300 words typed, double spaced, using a 12pt font. Your presentation should describe the purpose, methods and conclusions of your research. Submissions should be anonymous – please do not include your name or the name of your institution on the document. Include the title of your abstract and note whether it is an individual or a group submission. Individual presenters will be assigned to a panel and will have 15 minutes to deliver their presentations. Group presentations will be given 45 minutes to deliver their presentations and requires at least three presenters. You may not submit or take part in more than one panel presentation; presenters may give one and only one paper at the conference. However, you are welcome to make a workshop submission.


Workshop proposals should be in the form of abstracts no more than 300 words in length. In your proposal be sure to include the title of your workshop, describe the purpose of the workshop, its format (including the kinds of educational materials you might use), what participants can expect to gain from it, state your intended audience (faculty, professionals, undergraduate students, anyone, etc.), and describe your experience and qualifications in the subject area. Submissions must be from advanced graduate students, doctoral degree holders, or seasoned professionals. A CV/résumé is required as part of the application. Workshop sessions will last 45-60 minutes.



Submitting author will receive a confirmation message upon submitting the abstract.

Priority Deadline Submissions: Acceptance announcements will be sent via email in early-February to the submitting author. Accepted presenters and co-presenters must register for the conference and confirm their acceptance by February 28, 2020. Failure to register and confirm acceptance by February 28th will result in rescinding acceptance. 

Rolling Deadline Submissions: Acceptance announcements will be sent via email starting late-February to the submitting author. Accepted presenters and co-presenters must register for the conference and confirm their acceptance within 21 days from their acceptance notification. Failure to register and confirm acceptance will result in rescinding acceptance.

For questions regarding the Call for Papers & Workshops please contact:

Deandra Taylor      

Black Doctoral Network Western Regional Conference
“Breakthrough to Excellence”
Los Angeles, California
April 4, 2020

The Black Doctoral Network welcomes undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students to participate in our Western Regional Conference, themed “Breakthrough to Excellence." If you have a research project, thesis or dissertation work you would like to present as a poster at a professional conference, the poster session is a good opportunity for you to showcase your academic work and receive constructive feedback from scholars in a friendly and engaging environment.

 Why Should You Participate?

  • Gain experience in presenting scientific papers
  • Gain exposure and feedback for your work
  • Develop skills in effective communication for an academic audience  
  • Meet students and faculty from graduate programs across the country

 Abstract Details
Abstracts may be submitted by current undergraduate, master's and doctoral students from all racial backgrounds and on any topic. Previous accepted abstracts came from the fields of education, environmental sciences, biology, business, sociology, and health to name a few. 

The abstract must be no more than 300 words in length. Include the title of the poster, issues you address in your work, your methods and theories, and results/conclusions of your research (if available). 

We will send decision notifications starting February 3 and on a weekly basis thereafter. Only one poster may be submitted to the competition per presenter and one presenter per poster. All presenters must be 18 years or older. Poster presentations will take place on Saturday, April 4 around noon. Winners will be announced during the Closing Ceremony at 6:00pm.

Undergraduate Research Poster Competition

All undergraduate poster presenters will take part in a poster competition. First place winner will be awarded $150 Visa gift card. Second place winner will be awarded $100 Visa gift card. Third place winner will be awarded $50 Visa gift card.  Winners’ will be announced at Closing Ceremony.   

Decision Notifications

We will send decision notifications on a weekly basis starting February 3. Only one poster may be submitted to the poser session per presenter and one presenter per poster. All presenters must be 18 years or older. 

Priority Submission Deadline: January 31, 2020 at 11:59PM EST.
Final Submission Deadline: March 8, 2020 at 11:59PM EST.
Registration Deadline: March 15, 2020

Registration Information
Conference registration for graduate and doctoral students is based on membership status (member vs non-member). Member registration is $120/per person. Non-member registration is $150/per person. Groups of 3 or more can register using the group rate of $100/per person. Undergraduate students have a special discounted rate of $75. By registering you will have full access to the conference sessions. No refunds will be granted after March 1, 2020.

 Presentation Details
Easels and foam boards (40” x 60”) will be provided to display your work. Posters must be 36” high, 48” wide. The Black Doctoral Network Conference Committee provides both easels and poster boards (40” x 60”). The poster competition will run for one hour in length. Set up time will be 11:45am. Students should bring their posters to the conference. The BDN Conference committee will not be responsible for storing or keeping posters. Presenters must include, but are not limited to, these sections on their poster.

  • Title: project title
  • Authors: your name, faculty advisor's name, university name
  • Purpose (or Objectives or Introduction)
  • Theories & Methods
  • Results or Findings
  • Summary/conclusions  

 Judging Procedure

A judge will evaluate undergraduate posters. During the poster session, judges will walk around and will notify you if they are judging your poster.  Students should give a ten to fifteen minute presentation to their judge. We suggest you give a nine or ten minute presentation and allow up to five minutes for questions. Please remain close to your poster during the competition so that you can begin your poster presentation quickly after the judges arrive. Once the judges arrive at your poster, you should be prepared to discuss the overall focus of the study, methodology, results and conclusions. Please allow time for questions from the judges. The last 10 minutes of the competition will be open for students to walk around the floor to view each others work.     

Judging Criteria
Abstract (points awarded prior to the conference)   

  • Originality/Merit - 15 points  
  • Quality of writing - 10 points 

 Poster and presentation (points awarded during judging at the conference)    

  • Appearance - 20 points  
  • Organization - 20 points  
  • Knowledge/Presentation - 35 points

For questions regarding the Poster Competition please contact:
Deandra Taylor      

Black Doctoral Network Inc.