Poster Competition

Calling all undergraduate and graduate student researchers! The Louis Stokes Midwest Regional Center of Excellence (LSMRCE) annual conference competitive poster session is an opportunity to share and learn about the research being done by undergraduate and graduate students across the STEM community.

The in-person poster session will take place on Saturday, October 29, 2022, at the Hyatt Regency Schaumburg. The awards ceremony will take place on Sunday, October 30, at 11:30 AM CT.

Student presenting their research poster at the 2019 LSMRCE Annual Conference
Figure 1. Student presenting their research poster at the 2019 LSMRCE Annual Conference.

Who should participate?

Undergraduates, post-baccalaureates, graduate students, fellows, and post-docs who are conducting research in any of the following areas: biological sciences, computer sciences, data sciences, engineering sciences, environmental sciences, mathematical sciences, physical sciences (Astro, Chemistry, Physics), socio/behavioral sciences, or technology.

What do presenters get?

  • Complimentary conference registration ($75 value)
  • Professional development skill-building (priceless)
  • Opportunities to network with thought leaders in industry and higher education (priceless)

Overall Timeline and Deadlines

What is required to participate?

  1. Submit an Abstract. The first step is to submit your research abstract by Monday, September 12th. Be sure to follow the abstract guidelines!
  2. RSVP your Participation. If your abstract is selected for presentation, you will be notified by email on September 26th. You should follow the instructions in the email to RSVP and confirm your participation.
  3. Submit your Recorded Presentation. All selected presenters must submit their recorded poster presentation and a .pdf of their poster by October 12th. Be sure to follow the guidelines! The judges will use your recorded presentation to determine the award winners.
  4. Optional. If possible, come present your poster live at the Hyatt Regency in Schaumburg, Illinois on October 29th, from 9:30a-11a CT. You do not need present in person to win an award but presenting to a live audience will give you the opportunity to practice your science communication skills and build your network.

Abstract requirement

  • Abstracts must be submitted using the Abstract Submission Form by Monday, September 12, 2022, at 11:59 PM ET.
  • Abstracts must adhere to the Abstract Guidelines to be considered for presentation.
  • Submitted abstracts will be reviewed using the Abstract Rubric. Abstracts that score 24 or greater out of 42 possible points will be accepted for presentation.
  • No co-presenters are allowed. Only one author per abstract may present. Students who have collaborated on a project must submit a separate abstract, written by the author. Abstracts may not be identical. Identical abstracts will be removed from consideration.
  • Here are some examples of excellent abstracts: Example 1 | Example 2 | Example 3
  • If you have any questions about the poster abstract requirements, please reach out to Deb Cole at and put "Poster abstract question" in the subject line.

Abstract Guidelines | Abstract Rubric | Abstract Submission Form

Recorded Presentation Material requirement

  • All presenters must submit their recorded poster presentation and a .pdf file of their poster by October 12th at 11:59p ET. A link to the upload portal with instructions will be added to this page at the end of September. In addition, this information will be provided in the acceptance email on September 26th.
  • Recorded presentations should be between 3-4 minutes in length. 5 minutes is the maximum allowed length.
  • Each presentation will be assigned 3 judges for calibration of scores.
  • Judges will use the Poster Presentation Rubric to score posters and video presentations the week of Oct 15-21. These scores will determine the poster competition winners.
  • Here are some examples of excellent recorded presentations: Example 1 | Example 2 | Example 3
  • If you have any questions about the video presentation requirements, please reach out to Deb Cole at and put "Poster presentation question" in the subject line.

Poster Presentation Rubric

In-person Poster Session (optional opportunity)

The in-person component of the poster competition is a highly-encouraged opportunity for students to practice their face-to-face presentation and science communication skills (live presentation skills, fielding questions, and audience catering).

  • Presenters are encouraged to both field questions about their own research to others and inquire/network with other students/faculty about their research in a live-audience setting.
  • The conference attendees will vote for the "People's Choice" poster winner during this session.
  • On the day of the poster session (Sat., Oct 29th), presenters should be next to their posters by 9:30a CT. The poster session will be 1h 30m in length.
  • Poster boards and pins will be provided.
  • Printed posters must be 4ft x 3ft maximum. Smaller dimensions are acceptable. Just be sure to print it large enough that people can read it from 4 feet away.
  • When you arrive at the hotel, proceed to the conference check-in table. There you will be given instructions on where and when to hang your poster.
  • Here are examples of excellent posters: Example 1 | Example 2 | Example 3
  • Questions? Reach out to Deb Cole at and put "Poster Session question" in the subject line.

Guidelines and Rubrics

How-to Recorded Webinars


LSMRCE would like to acknowledge and thank those who have contributed their abstracts, posters, and recorded presentations to be used as examples on this page.

  • Carol Akpan, Chemical Engineering major at Prairie View A&M University and TAMUS LSAMP Scholar. Carol was recognized for being one of the Top 25 abstract submissions.
  • Reynaldo Bujan, Medical Studies major at Arizona State University and a WAESO LSAMP Scholar. Rey was the 2022 Poster Competition 2nd place winner.
  • Tiffany Rivera, Biochemistry major at the Chaminade University of Honolulu and an IOA LSAMP Scholar. Tiffany was the 1st place winner in the 2022 Poster Competition.
  • Marie Zarate, NOCTRL, A.S. General Science, B.S. Behavioral Neuroscience and her research lab. Maria was the 2022 Poster Competition 4th place winner.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  • Q: Do all presenters submit a recorded presentation?
    A: Yes. The LSMRCE poster session requires that all presenters submit a recorded presentation along with a .pdf of their poster. The in-person portion of the poster session is optional.
  • Q: How is the recorded presentation different from the in-person poster session?
    A: The recorded presentation gives you the flexibility to record yourself multiple times to get the presentation delivery just right. Through this process, you will get comfortable with your material and learn to deliver it in a succinct manner. Whereas the in-person presentation format challenges you to deliver to a live audience who may ask questions about your research. Through this process, you will grow your science communication skills and build on the feedback from others.
  • Q: How does the poster judging work?
    A: Each submitted presentation will be assigned to 3 different judges. Each judge will rate the recorded presentation and poster (.pdf) using the Poster Judging Rubric. The scores from the three judges will be averaged to determine the overall score for the poster. The top three highest-scored posters will receive awards. The People’s Choice award will be determined based on the in-person poster session and voted on by the conference attendees.
  • Q: How long should my recorded presentation be?
    A: Presentations should be between 3-4 minutes. 5 minutes is the maximum allowed length. Videos that exceed 5 minutes will still be allowed, but the overall score will reflect this missed guideline.
  • Q: What should my video presentation include?
    A: First, be sure to follow the video presentation guidelines and view the example presentations. But in general, a good presentation touches on these points: What is the problem that your research is addressing? What is your hypothesis or research question? What did you do? How did you do it? What did you find out? What would be your next steps? Why is this important for future application or research? If you can cover these 6 items in 3-4 minutes, that should successfully tell the story of your research.
  • Q: Does LSMRCE provide travel awards?
    A: Not this year. Due to NSF rules for Centers of Excellence on allowable costs to directly support students, LSMRCE is not able to provide support for travel to the conference. If you are an LSAMP scholar at your institution, we encourage you to reach out to your LSAMP office or representative and ask if they have travel funds for you. Though LSMRCE cannot provide travel, all presenters receive complimentary conference registration ($75 value).
  • Q: How does the in-person poster session work?
    A: Presenters will bring their printed posters to the conference. At the conference check-in table, presenters will be instructed on when and where to hang their posters. Each poster will be assigned a number and presenters will use push pins to secure the poster to the poster board under the assigned number. When the poster session is about to start, presenters will go stand next to their posters. During the poster session, conference attendees will walk around and look at the different posters. Conference attendees will include undergraduate and graduate STEM students, higher education faculty and administrators, STEM researchers, and industry representatives. Attendees may approach presenters and ask about their research. This is the opportunity for presenters to provide a short overview of the research and to answer questions about the research. Conference attendees will vote for the “People’s Choice” Award winner. After the poster session ends, you will be instructed to take down your poster.
  • Q: I can’t attend the in-person poster session on October 29th. Can I still participate in the poster competition?
    A: Yes! One of the reasons we are requiring a recorded presentation is to allow those who cannot be here in person to still participate in the poster competition.