The sooner you get used to presenting your work, the better. It is so important to be able to talk about your work outside your research group. Why did you do this? Why is it important? Just because your adviser loves your project, does not mean it is a good one. But the only way you will learn this is to start thinking for yourself. Nothing spurs people to think for themselves like a direct, in person challenge to their work.
So sign up for the poster session even if you have only a few findings so far, even if you plan to do a lot more work. There are two poster symposia a year at Wash U for undergrads. I would like to see you at both of them! OK, if you go to the fall symposium and present, you should only go to the spring one if you have some new data, or new problems.
Registration is now open for the fall session on Saturday 26 October 2013, here. Go ahead and sign up if you have done a semester or more of research. It will give you a great chance to present your work. At the Wash U undergrad research office, you can even print your poster, I believe.
The hard thing about research is that each step gets harder to complete. It is great to begin a new stage of discovery. It is fun to gather data. It is also really fun to see what the data all mean by compiling and analyzing them. But then comes the synthesis. How does what you did relate to what others have done? How does your work change the big picture? You need to put it together which requires a lot of work long after you think you know what the data tell you. You may want to go on and collect more data to figure out the next step, but first you must share your findings with others. You must join the great river of science, and the only way to do this is to communicate.
Publications are the ultimate forever communication, but in the meantime talks and posters are great ways to learn and present. So sign up for that undergraduate research symposium now!