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Research & Service Leadership Symposium

2021 RSL Symposium
Thursday, May 20
Virtual Day & Evening Event

Attend our workshop series to get ready for May!

Wednesdays & Fridays: January 29–March 17

There is a workshop for you— whether you just want to learn more about the RSL Symposium or you are already developing a project and would like guidance.


Sign up for our next Winter Workshop on Friday, March 5 @ Noon-1 p.m.

Register for Zoom Access

About the Symposium

Plan to participate in this campus and community-wide event!

The Research and Service Leadership Symposium provides students an opportunity to expand their learning beyond the walls of the classroom (or the confines of the screen), to investigate their world through in-depth research projects, to create and participate in worthwhile service learning activities, including original creative arts projects, and to present their newfound knowledge, insights and experiences to the campus community.

Students will gain experience presenting in a professional conference setting on the virtual campus through presentations, performance, displays and discussion.

The Symposium itself is the culminating event of these student projects. The event includes

  • A full day and evening of presentations, peer discussion forums, art galleries, and creative performances.
  • Awards ceremony, keynote speaker and closing celebration.



What Types of Projects Qualify?

Research Projects

Any type of research project from any discipline is welcome.  For example, research that you’ve conducted for a research paper in any of your classes (from History to English, etc.) would qualify, as would any project in which you’ve collected original data (from Sociology to Geology to Physics to Art History, etc.).

Service Leadership Projects

We welcome any type of community service, political activism, or environmental justice project in which you are engaged with a community to solve a problem or to provide community enrichment.  The goal of service leadership projects is to become a leader or an engaged member of a community.


Projects in the Arts — New for 2021

Art in all forms is a vital service for a thriving community. And original, creative work in the arts (from ceramics, to painting, to photography, to poetry, to music, to theater, etc.) are all welcome. These works will be featured in an Arts Gallery, or as performances, with Q&A sessions with the artists!Foothill students and Foothill Faculty and Staff are welcome to apply.  You can apply individually or as a group.

Create (or Develop) a Project

Interested in developing a research, service leadership, or creative art project, but still need to know more? 

Here are some ways to get inspired:

  • Start with a class project or a course topic that you want to explore further.
  • Connect with other classmates on a shared topic.
  • Attend Foothill’s Club Day and join clubs who are engaged in service activities.
  • Look for problems in your community that need to be solved.
  • Attend the Winter Symposium Workshops to hear ideas, meet others and collaborate.
  • Find your voice in art! Use your own creativity to express your views on current social issues.
  • Peruse topics and projects from prior symposiums for ideas!

Apply to Join the Symposium! 

All Foothill students and Foothill Faculty and Staff are welcome to apply.  You can apply individually or as a group.

Presentation Formats

RSLS Meets Zoom!

This year the Symposium will be virtual, held on a Foothill Zoom platform.

Projects and presentations will be submitted electronically. This should not limit the creativity of the projects. Use your imagination!


  • Physical work can be photographed and talks and performances recorded.
  • Presenters can share their work as “live” Zoom talks, as e-posters or slides with voiceover, or as 10-minute recorded presentations.
  • Formats for arts can be image collections, videos and recordings.


More about presentation formats


Judge's Award

Cash prizes of $100 will be awarded to each contributing member of the 5 highest quality/most impactful projects.  Winners will be selected by a committe of faculty, staff and students, based on the submitted application materials and presentation.

Viewer's Choice Award

5 of the most effective presentations/projects will be recognized by the end of the event. Winners will be selected by audience members and participants through a live poll during the Symposium.

Applications Due March 19, 2021



Please contact Allison Herman at or Michael McCusker at, co-coordinators of the RSL Symposium.

RSL Symposium Mission Statement: The mission of this symposium is to catalyze student efforts to engage in scholarly research, service leadership, and the arts. The guiding value of this symposium is that meaningful change in the world can be accomplished through empirical investigation, community engagement, and social, political and environmental activism.

This event is sponsored by the ASFC and the President's Office as part of Foothill's 2020-2021 Strategic Objectives ( E²SG) — Enrollment and Equity, Service Leadership, and Governance.


Videographer credits: Jane Kong, Dora Lohas, Jason Allen


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Please contact us!

Allison Herman & Michael McCusker, RSL Symposium Coordinators


Honors Institute

60 Years of Service

Take a Leadership Class this Winter

Use your unique leadership abilities during uncertain times. Take CNSL 6: EXPLORING LEADERSHIP


Jan. 19–March 26
,  4 Units, UC & CSU Transferable, Tuesdays  11-11:50 AM, Online and Zoom, CRN 31898

Explore leadership theories and models, as well as your own values and beliefs. Develop a personal philosophy of leadership, with an understanding of self, others and community, while putting theories into practice!