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Information for Authors

Poster Session

2017 - Contents


This event is a showcase of undergraduate research in the College of Charleston School of Sciences and Mathematics. At least one author must be an undergraduate student in SSM programs at the College of Charleston during the conduct of the research.  The research itself must be within disciplines under the Sciences and Mathematics program umbrella, including the neuroscience program.


We will present some posters an award, highlighting them in the on-line archive of the Poster Session, and perhaps displaying them at other venues. To be eligible for an award, you must first be selected by your department as their candidate for the big prize.   Candidate posters must be in place by 9:00 am the day of the session, Thursday, 20 April.  Departments may give other awards too, but just one from each department is in the running for the "Best of the Best" prize.

How To Enter

Entry Deadline: Friday, April 14th by 11:59 pm.  Entries must come directly from a student, not from faculty.   In a nutshell here is what an entry needs to contain: title, authors, department, abstract, and contact information for at least one author. All of this must be in the body of a plain text email, NOT as an attachment. As a matter of professional courtesy, please make sure all authors approve the abstract before you submit it.  Alterations to entries after the entry has been submitted will not be accepted.   Late entries may be accepted at the organizer's whim.

Submit your entry in the body of a plain text email message, not as an attachment. The organizer is the judge and editor of stylistic matters. Please do NOT use all caps for titles.  There is a 150 word limit for your abstract. Special text features, such as bold, italic, superscript2, or subscript2, and Greek letters (μ, α, β, τ...) will be added when I format it for the web. Just make a note in your entry that you need some things treated specially and I can probably do it.  Do not put references in the abstract.

In order to put posters in spaces appropriate for their size, we need to know the poster dimensions, so please specify the dimensions in your entry, particularly the width.

Please include a telephone number and an email address with your submission, but not in the abstract proper, so I can contact you if necessary. Put it clearly separated from the abstract itself.

I expect to reply to your email submission within 24 hours of receiving it. When I have posted your entry to the web site I will email you again.

Please also note that we do not have unlimited space for posters. It is possible that we could reach our limit, so get your entries in early.

Research groups should have a production and review process in place that can prevent almost all problems the organizer sees.  Here is a simple checklist for before you submit your abstract.  There should be a similar, thorough review process for the poster itself.

  1. Make sure all authors see it before you submit it.
  2. Make sure all authors are listed, including the faculty mentor(s).
  3. Make sure all affiliations are unambiguously listed.
  4. Use names consistently.  Same author, different posters, different names: e.g. Jon Smith, Jonathan Smith, Jonathan R. Smith.  Are they the same person, or not?  Authors should use a consistent professional name in publications.
  5. Indicate special typographic needs (italics, Greek letters, special symbols...)
  6. Please use dumb quotes.
  7. Is it formatted like the example?

Sample Entry

( plain text email to John Chadwick )

Below is our abstract for the poster session.
NOTE: please italicize "Where's My Planet" and "Stats-R-Us," use the Greek letter for the word "alpha," and make X^2 into X-squared with a superscript 2.

 Our poster will be 36 inches wide by 42 inches tall.  

phone: 900-555-1212


The Effect of Saturn's Position on Birth Weight 

Ferd Berwick, Edwin Moses and Leroy Brown, Department of Geology and Astrology

The position of the planet Saturn was determined for 253 births recorded at St. Luigi's Hospital during the year 2014. The time of birth listed on the birth certificate was used in conjunction with the planetary motion program Where's My Planet to ascertain the relative positions of the infant and the planet Saturn. A correlation analysis of the birth weights and the position of Saturn was performed using the statistical program Stats-R-Us to determine the alpha-parameter and X^2. The results of the analysis indicate that birth weight is unrelated to the position of Saturn.

Making a Poster

Posters to be printed by the Physics and Astronomy or Geology Department printers must be in the print queue no later than noon, Monday, 17 April. Authors submitting after this time will be referred to the Library or Kinko's and will have to pay for their own printing.

Authors are expected to maintain high professional standards, to take this event seriously, and produce a high quality product for display in this public event. Colin Purrington has some excellent tips and templates as well as views on logo placement that are worth reading. Speaking of logos, do you have the proper one(s) on your poster?  I often see outdated logos being used.  An excellent commentary with examples of graphs is The Craft of Scientific Illustration. During your research you may find valuable help from our Science Librarian, Dongmei Cao, and some other resources -

Poster size

There is no one optimum size, and there are valid reasons for choosing among a wide variety of sizes and orientations.  For the printers we have there are some particularly convenient (recommended) sizes to choose, and there are maximum sizes.

Geology Printer

  • Recommended size (in inches): Landscape 48 x 40, Portrait 40 x 48
  • Maximum size:  54 x 40

Physics Printer

  • Recommended size (in inches): Landscape 42 x 36, Portrait 36 x 42
  • Maximum size:  56 x 36

For the Poster Session it is convenient if a substantial fraction of entries are printed in portrait (tall and narrow) versus landscape (short and wide) to allow us to put many posters in narrow places in the core area of the event space.   Having encouraged posters narrower than 100 cm (40 inches), I will not force anyone to do so.  In any case, I cannot accommodate posters wider than 60 inches (150 cm).

Requirements for printing

Please realize that Physics and Geology department personnel cannot possibly dedicate time to de-bugging problem posters, and the cost of printing is significant, so repeating print jobs costs someone a lot of time and money.

Posters to be printed by the Physics and Astronomy or Geology Department printers must be in the print queue no later than noon, Monday, 17 April. Authors submitting after this time may be referred to the Library or Kinko's and will have to pay for their own printing.  Please submit, together as attachments to one email, from a student author:

Posters take about 20 minutes to print. The amount of time it takes for your poster to come out of the printer depends greatly on how many people are ahead of you and other workload issues.

QR Codes

We encourage posters to include a QR Code, an example of which is given below. It is a 2-D barcode, that is readable by many portable devices. Information you might include in the code is corresponding author name, email, a url for the research group, a pdf file of the poster or paper, etc.

QR Code example

Information on QR Codes — and some on-Line QR Code generators
My preferred app to read QR codes is "Qrafter" for my iPhone, but there are many others. By the way, the image above is readable both from my computer screen, and a printed page.

Event Day Details

The session runs from 11:30 pm to 1:30 pm on Thursday, 20 April, in the SSM Building.  You will have access to the event venue no later than 8:30 am on event day. It may be possible to mount many posters the previous afternoon or evening.  Posters that have been put forth by their departments for judging must be posted by 9:00 am, as judging may begin by then. Others, please post no later than 11:30am. We hope you can be present a significant portion of the session time (11:30 - 1:30) to answer questions from viewers, although we realize that you have classes, and it may not be possible.

Presenters at the Poster Session are allocated a space, usually either one side of a free-standing poster board, or wall space. We expect a significant number of posters may be allocated to a relatively tall and narrow space, such that the optimal poster may be no more than 1 meter (40 inches) wide, which is fine for what is usually called "portrait" orientation.  For those positions, plan on having roughly a 5 foot tall by 3 foot wide space, but presenters will often not use that much space. Many locations, on a poster board or many wall spaces, will be "landscape" orientation, for which you can plan a roughly 3 foot tall by 5 foot wide space.  Determine your poster location by finding your poster number on the Poster Location Map (which will be available a week or so before the event). We will provide pins or special blue tape to secure your poster in place.  If your poster is to be held by pins, it is a good idea to put some tape on the back of your poster at the corners, and the center-top to provide some reinforcement for the pins.  

A couple of final tips for poster presentation — Be ready to talk about it. Have an "elevator speech" ready.  Given the diverse audience, maybe have two speeches, one for someone conversant in the field, and one for the curious, but uninformed.   Finally, read this very helpful page of presentation tips.

A Word of Warning

The organizer and the School of Sciences and Mathematics are not responsible for your poster. Please take steps to secure it promptly after the session is over. The building must be returned to good order by the end of the day, so posters left up are subject to disposal or mysterious disappearance.

Send comments, suggestions, corrections, or additions to: John Chadwick

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