The Tanner Conference


Established through the generosity of Wellesley College trustee emerita Estelle “Nicki” Newman Tanner ’57, the Tanner Conference celebrates the relationship between the liberal arts classroom and student engagement in the world beyond the Wellesley College campus. In a typical year on the day of the conference, the entire Wellesley community can gather to learn from students about their participation in and learning from internships, civic engagement, study abroad and other opportunities. Presenters have the chance to reflect upon their experiences and share their insights and growth with their peers, while attendees learn about the ways in which such experiences can complement the classroom experience and clarify one’s interests and goals. Many students describe presenting at and attending Tanner as a highlight of their Wellesley experience.



Tanner will be held on November 15, 2022. The schedule will be posted here when it is available in mid-October.


Nicki Tanner ’57
Trustee Emerita
more about Nicki Tanner ’57
Shreya Huilgol
more about Shreya Huilgol
Keertana Anandraj
more about Keertana Anandraj
Lidwien Kapteijns
Professor of History
more about Lidwien Kapteijns
Annabel Springer
more about Annabel Springer


Deadline to apply is TBA

Tanner Application 2021

Eligibility To present at the Tanner Conference is to partake in a special Wellesley tradition. All students who have had interned (remotely or in-person), volunteered, performed off-campus research, studied abroad or otherwise engaged in experiential learning beyond the classroom are welcome to submit an application, whether or not they received Wellesley funding, credit or other support for their experience. Students are allowed to participate on only one Tanner presentation and may apply as an individual or in a panel with a six person maximum.

Tanner Advisors All student applicants to Tanner must have a Wellesley Tanner advisor to review your abstract and help you prepare for your presentation. Who should you choose to serve in this role? The best choice is often someone familiar with your off-campus engagement, your interests and your goals. Ask a faculty or staff member who is aware of your experience and can offer you time and support. Your College Career Mentor and Career Community Advisor, based in Career Education, are also happy and available to serve in this capacity.

Abstract All applicants (individuals or panels) must submit an abstract of up to 150 words that answers the following questions:

  • What was the focus of your off-campus experience?

  • What did this experience teach you about yourself and the world?

  • How does this experience relate to your past or future academic, social and/or professional goals?

  • What do you hope those who attend your presentation will learn?


What makes a great Tanner presentation?

Focus and Substance

The best presentations have a clear focus and an obvious sense of purpose, as well as substantive content.

  • Provide framing. Be sure to begin by briefly orienting your listener to the project and your role in it.

  • Be selective. Focus on one or two points about the work you did and the field you participated in, and illustrate these points with concrete examples and detail. If you are working with a panel of presenters, plan ways to distribute your focus amongst the panel members, and to make connections between the different approaches each of you takes. Consider the following questions to find your focus:

    • What is the most significant aspect of this project that you want to convey?

    • What was the most surprising and unexpected aspect of the work you did?

    • How did your perceptions of the field, work, topic, or people shift as a result of your experience?

    • What did you learn about your field?

    • What did you learn about yourself?

Plan to use your presentation to further your own learning. What do you want to record and remember about this experience? What do you want to be sure you don’t forget? How can you use the fact of presenting at Tanner to build shape around your off-campus learning? What about your own learning will be meaningful to others?

Connections to Work at Wellesley

Consider how this experience connects to your work at Wellesley. How has the experience challenged you to rethink what you learned in your coursework, or shed new light on your earlier coursework? How has it influenced your intellectual interests, your course selection, the way you participate in class or study for class? What implications does this experience have for your future direction and/or career goals? What did you learn about yourself? Your ‘connections’ may infuse the body of your talk—but you may also find it useful to use “connections-to-Wellesley” as a way to conclude the presentation.

  • Attend the public speaking workshop offered by the PLTC for help planning and practicing your presentation.

  • Time your practice session. Each session is 70 minutes in length. If you are part of panel, please time your presentation so that all panelists have equal opportunity to speak.

  • Check out the room beforehand, and give yourself hands-on practice with any A-V equipment you plan to use. Email ahead of time for any special technology needs.

  • Plan ample time to work with your advisor and your fellow panel presenters.

  • Dress for the presenters is business casual.


Tanner advisors support students as they prepare their presentations. Every student applicant to the Tanner Conference is asked to identify a faculty or staff member to perform this role. Advisors review and approve abstracts, help students to plan their presentations, and may ask the student to present a “dress rehearsal” of their Tanner presentation, allowing for feedback and guidance on substance, structure and presentation style. The advisor can provide advice on the content of the presentation and offer suggestions for making the presentation engaging and effective. Students can benefit a great deal from advisor advice on how much material to present; what to focus on; how to make use of visuals and PowerPoint slides; and how to deliver their presentation. Tanner advisors are also important audience members on the day of the Tanner Conference.

Tanner Committee

Rachid Aadnani
Middle Eastern Studies Program
Ama Baafra Abeberese
Department of Economics
Ariane Baker
Career Education
Lorraine Hanley
Career Education
Casey Hurley
Career Education
Eric Jarrard
Department of Religion
Tess Mattern
Career Education
Erich Hatala Matthes
Department of Philosophy and Frost Center for the Environment
Adam Matthews
Department of Biological Sciences
Hayley Meredith McIlvaine
Career Education
Nicole Park
Career Education
Jennifer Pollard
Career Education
Marta Rainer
Theatre Studies
Beth Robichaud
Albright Institute
Cindy Seltzer
Career Education
Andrew Shennan
Office of the Provost
Sally Theran
Department of Psychology
Jennifer Thomas-Starck
Office of International Study
Diane Tutin
Department of Education
Jordan Tynes
Department of Computer Science
Emily Welden
Career Education