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SV Selection Process

Last Revised: 2018/11/12


Applicants must be enrolled as full- or part-time undergraduate or graduate students AT THE TIME OF VIS 2018 (October 21 - 26). We may request proof of enrollment be provided. Post-Docs will not be considered.

Selection Statistics

From 2017, we provide selection statistics for each year.

Selection Guidelines

Every year the conference receives many more student volunteer applications than can be accommodated as the number of positions available is limited. Our aims are to build a volunteer cohort that will be reliable, courteous and hard-working, to represent the broad institutions of the VIS community, and to provide additional support to student presenters. We score each application using a points system:

Presenter at (highest one of following):

  • IEEE VIS conferences (main tracks, TVCG, CG&A): 5 points
  • IEEE VIS short papers, challenges, poster sessions, art show, doctoral colloquium, and workshops: 3 points
  • Intent to present a submission under review if accepted: 2 points

Additional points will be granted for:

  • Reliable student volunteer at a previous IEEE VIS: 3 points
  • Student volunteer supervisor or other superlative service at previous IEEE VIS: 3 points
  • Masters/Ph.D. Student: 2 points

Additionally, to ensure broad participation, we limit volunteers to no more than 3 per institution and 2 per advisor. We limit individuals to no more than three years of volunteering without transitioning into a supervisory position. Previous volunteers who proved unreliable (e.g., not performing task duties, gaming the task system, inaccurate application materials, etc) will not be selected.

We select the top-scoring applicants representing 75% of the slots each while maintaining our institutional/research group limits. Ties are broken first to promote broader representation of countries, institutions, and conference tracks and then by lottery.

The remaining 25% of slots are filled by weighted lottery of applicants who have not volunteered before. We aim for at least 20% of all volunteers total to be early in their graduate programs and for wide representation. We define early graduate students as either Masters students, 1st year Ph.D. students in Masters-required systems, and 1st and 2nd year Ph.D. students in Masters-not-required systems. First we draw from a pool of students from countries not yet represented, then from early graduate students. Then we draw from the wider pool with 2 additional points for institutions not yet represented. Applicants not selected will be automatically placed on a waiting list.

If we require more volunteers closer to the event due to volunteer cancellations or other unforeseen circumstances, we may bypass previous scores and limits to select based on hotel room availability and the likelihood to be able to attend the event on short notice.

We reserve the right to reject any volunteer application for any reason. This right has not been exercised often in the past.

Reliable Student Volunteers

To obtain the 3 point bonus, SVs must be reliable. Reliable volunteers:

  • Follow task instructions
  • Check-in before task begins
  • Are courteous to all attendees, community members, and venue staff
  • Are honest (e.g., on application, at conference)
  • Wear vest while on duty
  • Do not wander off during tasks


There are the following exceptions to bypass the selection process.

  • The 3 SV chairs do not go through the selection process.
  • 1 SV winner of the T-shirt design contest.

Daily Supervisor ("Day Captain") Selection

Each day of the conference and for the entirety of that day, one non-chair student volunteer supervises the others, ensuring tasks are covered and records are kept. Prior to the conference, the SV chairs determine which volunteers will perform these duties on which days. Once the conference schedule is available, SV chairs will solicit availability from a subset of selected student volunteers with prior IEEE VIS SV experience and construct the supervisor list. The SV chairs choose experienced volunteers who have demonstrated reliabilty and responsibility in their role.

SV Chair Selection

Each year, one current chair will resign and one future chair will be selected, barring extenuating circumstances. The current chairs will select the future chair while keeping these criteria in mind:

  • Ideally the future chair will commit to a three-year term.
  • Preference to students with more years remaining in student status during that term.
  • Ideally one chair with a research focus for each of the three main conference tracks.
  • Preference to students from institutions not yet represented by SV chairs.
  • Preference to students with experience in the daily supervisor task.
  • Conscientious, reliable, committed volunteer experience

A fourth chair, local to the conference venue, may be selected for one year at the discretion of the conference committee.


For more information, please contact the IEEE VIS 2018 Student Volunteers Chairs:

Thomas Torsney-Weir, University of Vienna
John Wenskovitch, Virginia Tech
Tim Luciani, University of Illinois at Chicago
Fumeng Yang, Brown University
Tim Gerrits, University of Magdeburg