October 2011 Archives

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Dear Del,
I'm planning on presenting a poster at the AMS meeting in New Orleans this year, but I've never done one before. What do I need to do?
Forward Thinking Student

Dear Forward Thinking Student,
This is a great opportunity! Over the next few weeks, I'll blog about the steps you can take to create a powerful poster presentation. This week the topic is "making a schedule."

A scientific poster is used to communicate your research at a scientific meeting or conference. Think of the poster as a condensed version of your research experience. It highlights the most significant parts of your study; therefore, it is a summary of the main points as opposed to a comprehensive paper or report. Although each poster should be designed with your specific audience and purpose in mind, you will find helpful general guidelines on this blog to point you in the right direction of creating a powerful poster.

Make Time

One of the most important considerations is to give yourself enough time to do the job well. For many, it takes at least two weeks of concentrated effort--even after all the parts have been decided upon and written. Here's a typical schedule.


Poster Completion Schedule



Day 1

Read and take notes on guidelines posted by the conference planners. Make a schedule.

Day 2

Read research documents. Identify key points.

Day 3

Plan your message. Pay attention to audience and purpose. Make an outline.

Day 4

Sketch a basic layout that adheres to the conference guidelines.

Day 5

Write conventional components (introduction, methods, results and discussion--IMRaD).

Day 6

Compile the references and acknowledgement sections.

Day 7

Plan graphics. Keep them simple!

Day 8

Create the graphics.

Day 9

Use a software program to build your poster.

Day 10

Print a full-sized draft. Diligently proofread and edit. Recruit readers to give feedback.

Day 11

Make suggested changes. Review carefully. Look for improvements in brevity and clarity.

Day 12

Prepare a three minute verbal explanation to accompany your poster.

Day 13

Review your poster and rehearse your explanation. Prepare a handout if needed.

Day 14

Print your final copy. Edit and proofread again. Prepare to go to the conference.

Notice it takes at least two weeks of concentrated effort! By scheduling enough time to organize, write, edit, proofread, and revise your poster, you're giving your career a boost.

If you create and present a powerful poster, you may learn something valuable to apply to your research, or you may meet someone who may want to hire you. If nothing else, through the process of having to create a poster, you will discover ways to concisely and engagingly display your findings, and you will gain practice orally presenting and defending your research to a knowledgeable audience.


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The WPSU-FM Fall Pledge Drive, taking place through October 22, 2011, got a little extra help from two community-minded Earth and Mineral Science undergraduates: Annie Tamalavage (junior, geoscience) and Zak Khayat (sophomore, material science).

Although new to the idea of public broadcasting, Annie and Zak were quick studies as Pat Smith, associate director of development and membership, gave them a quick walk-through of how to man the phones as donors call in to make pledges. Soon after the phones started to ring, and Annie and Zak got their first experience with fund raising public broadcasting style.

In addition to answering the phones, they had the opportunity to speak with WPSU staff, eat donated goodies, and most of all, see how public radio relies on the generosity of their listeners to offer many of its popular programs, such as StoryCorps, Morning Edition, and This American Life.

At the end of their three hour shift, they had the satisfaction of knowing that the Pledge Drive had gotten closer to its $106,000 goal.

If you want to support public broadcasting like Annie and Zak, there's still time. Call 877-420-9778 or go online to  http://wpsu.org/contribute/ 


Do you need $1,000.00 for spring break? Enter the Grundy Haven Paper Competition, and you might win money and get published on our EMS website!
You don't have to wait until next semester to submit your entry. Right now you can get interested in a topic. Speak with a faculty member to get a sponsor, and then write a short (approximately 1,500 words) entry. You have time to refine and submit your paper (the deadline isn't until 2/15/12). But start today.

If you're graduating this fall, you can enter too. Just make sure to submit your entry by December 17, 2011.

To find out more read past winning entries and the guidelines.

Make an appointment with me and get on your way to winning cool, hard cash.

Don't let that $1000.00 go to someone else!

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