Poster Competition


About the 2020 Plant Sciences Symposium Poster Session

Part of the mission of The Ohio State University Plant Sciences Symposium is to promote the participation of undergraduate and graduate students in the discipline of Plant Science by providing an opportunity to showcase their research in a public forum. One of the forums to accomplish this goal is the Poster Session. 

Last year, during the 2019 Plant Sciences Symposium Poster Session, there were more than 50 posters showcased. Of these, 13% were undergraduate students and 66% were graduate students presenting their work. 


What is the format of the Poster Session?

The 2020 Plant Sciences Symposium Poster Session will be divided into two 50-minute sessions, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. During each session, only half of the presenters will be at their posters. This format will allow the poster presenters to participate in one of the sessions as part of the audience.

There will be four categories: 

  • Undergraduate Poster. Must be an undergraduate at an academic institution
  • Graduate Poster. Must be an M.S. or Ph.D. student at an academic institution
  • Postdoc/Staff Poster. Post-docs and staff at academic, government and industry institutions are eligible
  • Non-Competitive Poster. Available for people who wish to present a poster but are not eligible or do not wish to enter the poster competition

Every competitive presenter, at the time of their session, will have at least one judge evaluate their poster using a judging rubric.

At the end of the 2020 Plant Sciences Symposium, the Poster Competition winners in the Undergraduate, Graduate, and Postdoc/Staff categories will be announced. Winners will receive cash prizes!


How do I apply to present a poster?

To present a poster, you will have to register and submit an abstract (through the registration portal here). The deadline for abstract submission for the Poster Session is on January 17th, 2020. 

The text of the abstract should be no more than 250 words. The document submitted should also contain the title of your poster and the authors along with their affiliation (like the heading of a scientific article). See example abstract here.


Instructions for Poster Session Participants During the Event

  1. Poster presenters should put up their posters before the morning session starts. 
  2. Make sure you are at your poster for your session. 
  3. Feel free to take down your poster after the second session in the afternoon. 

Any posters left up after the end of the symposium will be taken down and discarded. The maximum dimensions of the poster will be disclosed on this page on a date closer to the event.


What will the judges be looking for in the Poster Competition?

The judges will evaluate you on different categories. Below are tips on how to excel in each category.

Oral Presentation

  • Project confidence, be professional, and establish appropriate eye contact.
  • Convey your topic clearly for a general audience. Do not assume what your audience knows. Take the time to explain the terms and concepts your audience needs to know in order to understand your research, and more importantly, why you are doing your research.
  • Answer questions well. Make sure you answer to the best of your abilities and if the opportunity arises, engage in conversation about other hypotheses, possible ways to interpret the data, future work, etc.
  • Discuss in terms that are appropriate to your audience. Remember that during a poster presentation, you can gauge the knowledge of a person on your subject and tailor your presentation to them.

Poster Content

  • Posters should contain relevant information, objectives, methods, results, and conclusions. You can include other parts like future work, alternative hypotheses, etc. You can be creative as to how you present your work, but it should be easy to follow.
  • Tables and figures should be clear and appropriate. This is achieved by proper labeling and having the figures and text big enough.
  • Clearly show the development of your research. The order in which you show your experiments and data matters. Make sure it has a logical flow.
  • Methods should be presented in a way that makes it clear that they will help answer your question and/or test your hypothesis.
  • Include the implications of your conclusions or possible impacts of your results. This does not have to be a big part, but it will serve as a primer for a conversation about the importance of your research.
  • We encourage OSU students to use OSU poster templates. You can download them here.

Project Merit

  • Convey in a clear way how the project come about.
  • Explain how the findings will advance research in the area of study and how they are relevant to this year’s theme of “Advancing Plant Health Through Collaboration”.

Poster Appearance or Clarity

  • Take your time. Do not leave the poster-making task for one or two days before the conference. The first draft is never excellent and you will need to make changes.
  • Make sure your fonts are legible, you have no typos, and you are consistent with your sizes and font throughout the poster.
  • Include as many diagrams, pictures, and figures as you can. If you can illustrate an important point using text or a figure, if you have space, use the figure.
  • Keep in mind that your poster should be visually appealing so as to grab the attention of the reader. 
  • Here are some online resources:

Research Accessibility or Flow

  • Tailor the contents of your poster to your audience. Plant science is a broad term that encompasses research in plants from a lot of different backgrounds. With this in mind, you can’t go wrong by explaining something in your poster because you can always gauge the knowledge of your audience before starting your presentation.
  • Explain technical words adequately, which includes spelling out acronyms the first time you mention it (per section).
  • The content of your poster should tell one unified story, from a research problem to a solution or current work. Avoid telling multiple unrelated stories.



If you have questions or comments about the Poster Session, please e-mail Sub-Committee Chair Priscila M. Rodriguez Garcia at, or Sub-Committee Co-Chair Brian Hodge at