Creating a Poster Presentation to Showcase Your Work

When it comes to presenting work done in the classroom to a wider audience, many students feel a lot of confusion and a fair amount of fear. It’s one thing to present something in front of the classmates who know you, and it is quite another to address people you’ve never met before. Also, it can be hard to figure out what to present and where. Not every student does field or lab research, and even if they do, that usually does not happen early in their studies. Even if you are not collecting original data, there are still opportunities to turn class work into some kind of a presentation, usually in a poster format.

What is a poster?

A poster is basically a summary of main ideas or features of a project and is usually a mix of brief text and graphs, tables, photos, or other visuals. At conferences, presenters usually stand by their poster while other conference participants have a chance to view posters presented, engage with their authors, and ask questions.

What are the benefits of presenting a poster?

Working on a poster helps you analyze your project in a detailed way, distill its most important components, and practice valuable skills, from public speaking and communication to graphic design. Presenting a poster is a great way to get feedback on new ideas. Poster sessions provide opportunities to meet people who might be interested in the same topic and may possibly lead to future collaboration.

This year, Student Leadership Conference attendees will have an opportunity to share information about a leadership or service experience in a poster format. If you’re planning to attend, we encourage you to create a poster!

What does presenting a poster entail?

To present a poster, participants will first need to create the poster in PowerPoint, Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, or other software they are familiar with (Penn State students have access to Microsoft Office 365 and Adobe Creative Suite). Instructions and advice on how to create an effective poster are available from Student Affairs upon request. Participants will then have to print it in an appropriate size so that the audience will be able to read and understand it. The suggested size for posters is 36×24 inches. Presenters are advised (though not required) to stand by their posters during the poster showcase session, which is tentatively scheduled for the morning of Tuesday, October 29. This showcase session enables other conference participants to learn more, ask questions, and provide comments on the posters presented.

How do I get my poster accepted?

To get a poster accepted for a presentation, you need to submit an abstract to briefly summarize and describe the leadership or service you want to showcase in your poster. Abstracts should be between 150 and 300 words in length. Abstracts will be accepted on a rolling basis, and you can expect a response from the Student Leadership Conference team about the status of your submission.

How do I get my poster printed?

Assistance with printing utilizing campus resources will be available for those submissions received by Monday, October 14.  Otherwise, participants may choose to print the poster at their own expense and bring the poster to the conference registration table for submission when they arrive.

Abstracts are due Tuesday, October 1, and posters are due for printing Monday, October 14. We encourage you to participate in this new activity at the Student Leadership Conference!

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