Today our six research undergraduates, Kai, Alicia, Libby, Stephanie, Olivia, and Daniela, presented their research on posters at the Fall Undergraduate Poster Session, scheduled to fall on parent’s weekend. We began planning at the beginning of the semester how they were going to do their posters. We dedicated our 1 credit evening class with pizza to these posters. First we made sure they knew each other with a quick informal round robin discussion. then they talked about their big ideas, writing them down on stickies. The next week they gave us a couple of slides that illustrated the heart of their work and presented, one after the other. Two weeks ago they had full drafts of their posters for comments and discussion. They also met a lot with each other and their direct lab mentors. By last week their posters were printed so we invited the whole lab to a poster session as a trial run. So today they were ready.
But I don’t think they realized how fun it would be to explain their research to curious strangers. Each had people stop at their poster and ask interested questions. It was wonderful to see. Our undergrads have some great projects. They work hard. They think about the big picture. We teach them not to use jargon. A lot of learning goes on and culminates in this poster session. I hope they get back to research or writing and make their spring poster session posters even better.
Other years we had not been quite so firm in encouraging them to do posters. Perhaps we thought it was something for the last semester. Not any more. Get out there and share your work! It’s fun.