The Tanner Conference

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. Each 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.


The Tanner Summit panels will take place as live, virtual webinars and live streamed to the Wellesley College community at the following times:

Monday, October 19, 2020 at 3:00-4:00 PM

Tuesday, October 20, 2020 at 11:00 AM until 12:00 Noon

Wednesday, October 21, 2020 at 11:00 AM until 12:00 Noon

Thursday, October 22, 2020 at 11:00 AM until 12:00 Noon



Guidebook app


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


Application deadline is October 5, 2020 by noon

Tanner Summit Application form

It is the 20th Anniversary of the Tanner Conference. To celebrate such a momentous event, Wellesley College will hold the Tanner Summit during the term break, the week of October 19-22. Over the past 20 years, the Tanner Conference has given students the opportunity to pause and reflect about their personal experiential learning - in internships, study abroad, civic engagement, research and fellowships.

This year's Tanner Conference provides us with an opportunity to reflect on each of our experiences of this extraordinary historical moment, recognizing four thematic areas in which we have all engaged in experiential learning this year - a pandemic, a critical election, environmental change, and the fight for racial justice. In addition to a partnership with StoryCorps where we hope all members of our community will participate, we will hold a Tanner Summit - four panels featuring students in conversation with a faculty facilitator on these four themes. The panels will create an opportunity for students to share the powerful ways in which they have shaped - and been shaped by - these experiences in diverse and significant ways.



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.


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.

What are the characteristics of a great Tanner presentation? Watch the 4 Tips for Tanner video. 

Tanner Committee

Rachid Aadnani
Middle Eastern Studies Program
Ama Baafra Abeberese
Department of Economics
Frances Adjorlolo
Career Education
Destiny Barletta
Career Education
Dayna De La Cruz
Class of 2021
Rebecca Gordan '01
Albright Institute for Global Affairs
Julide Iye
Annual Giving
Pinar Keskin
Department of Economics
Elizabeth Mandeville '04
Career Education
Jaclyn Matthes
Department of Biological Sciences
Adam Matthews
Department of Biological Sciences
Kimberly O'Donnell
Department of Biological Sciences
Marta Rainer
Theatre Studies
Elizabeth Robichaud
Albright Institute for Global Affairs
Katy Ryan
Career Education
Andrew Shennan
Office of the Provost
Sally Theran
Psychology Department
Jennifer Thomas-Starck
Office of International Study
Diane Tutin
Department of Education
Jordan Tynes
Technology Support Services