Summer Research Poster Session

Every fall Reed hosts a Summer Research Poster Session to celebrate the work students accomplished during the summer. Students who completed research over the summer present results and learn about other students’ summer science research.

This year's Summer Research Poster Session will be on:

Friday, Sept 3rd at 4:00 PM
International Plaza,
near the language houses
(or Kaul Auditorium in case of rain, smoke, etc)

The session will feature work from students primarily in the Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Math, Physics, and Psychology Departments. All college-funded Biology summer students are asked to present a poster, and all students who conducted research this summer (including off-campus research) are invited to present a poster (please encourage your friends). Please read the following information carefully, so you’re well prepared for this exciting event.

How to Participate

To participate, please register here by Monday, Aug 23.

Set-Up at the Event

The space will be open for set-up beginning at 3:30pm. Please arrive no later than 3:50pm. All posters should be in place by 4:00pm (regardless of when you are assigned to present). If you are unable to arrive by 3:50pm please contact Kristy Gonyer ( to troubleshoot solutions.

When you arrive you will be provided materials to set up and directed to the section of the venue where you should set-up. You will be provided with an easel, a 30x40in foam board, tape and/or push pins to mount your poster.

Presenting at the Event

Students will be assigned to present during one of two sessions. Session A will take place from 4-4:30pm and Session B will take place from 4:40-5:10pm. During your assigned session, please stand near your poster to explain your research and answer questions. During the alternate session, please leave your poster in place, and spend some time walking around viewing other students posters. The sessions are intended to help minimize crowding, so we ask that you only stand near your poster and present during your assigned session.

Preparing A Reed Poster

Purpose: To showcase the key features of your scientific work so that other scientists can see what you did and why you did it. You will be standing at your poster presenting the work to small groups. The poster should serve as a good visual aid, but it need not include all of the details that would be necessary in a written document. It should have easy-to-follow graphics and/or images. (see below for more detail)

Format: We will provide 30”x40” boards for mounting, which will stand on a tripod. The college will cover the cost of printing either a large format 24” X 36” poster or up to 4 panels of 13” X19” glossy color print. Larger posters should be avoided since they are difficult to display on the provided mounting boards.

Use this .ppt template (that also include advice on designing a poster) to help get you started.

Printing Your Poster

Step One: Proofread Carefully & Save as a .pdf.
1. Be sure to carefully proofread your poster, as you will only be reimbursed to print the poster one time.
2. Have your faculty member proofread and approve your poster before printing.
3. Save your poster first as the normal .pptx format so you can use it later in that format if necessary. THEN SAVE IT AGAIN AS A .PDF.

Step 2a: Printing in Large format printing
The college does not have a large format printer. If you decide to create a poster larger than 13" x 19" with a ¼" margin, you will be responsible for ordering and picking up your own poster, however Reed will cover the costs of the printing at the Woodstock UPS Store.

The UPS Store Woodstock
4207 SE Woodstock Blvd (.3 miles from Reed)
A standard 24" x 36" color poster should cost approximately $28-30

Printing at the UPS Store: leave a minimum of 48 hours to print.
Once you have your final .pdf. document ready for printing, send it as an attachment, no later than Tues, Aug 31 to + CC: and include the following information in the email:

Your Name:
Your Phone Number:
Poster Size: 24x36in
Paper Weight: Double-weight
Date Required: Sept 2

Payment Method: Please charge to the “Reed College Biology” account
Account Password: please contact Kristy Gonyer, B115, for the account password.
Invoice Note: September Poster Session

Or Step 2b: Printing in panel format
If you choose to use the smaller format printing, bring it on a flashdrive to the printing services room in the basement of Elliot by Wednesday, Sept 1st. Ask Joseph Tafoya to print your poster in color on 13" by 19" paper. It should cost $0.60 per page and be billed to the Dean of Faculty’s Office (note: the print shop prefers .pdf files)

Preparing Your Poster

Main Components

  • Title: Short informative title plus list of authors, lab/department/institution
  • Abstract: (optional, but good practice to write one even if it’s not on the poster) the scientific context of your experiment, what you did, how you did it, what you found, your conclusions, the implications of your findings. One paragraph.
  • Introduction/goals of the project/background: often listed with bullet points • Methods/experimental design: Use graphics or flow charts. This is not like the materials and methods section of a paper, rather it should highlight the basic steps you took.
  • Results: Can include bullet points or bold headings but the bulk of the results will be presented as figures, tables, graphs, or photos/drawings. Each figure should have an informative title and a legend clearly explaining what is going on in the figure. All graphs should have their axes clearly labeled.
  • Conclusion(s): brief summary of conclusions you can make from your results.
  • Acknowledgements: explain any support or contributions from other researchers and funding sources.
  • List essential references, if any.

Save your poster as a .pdf file at the desired dimensions. Check the .pdf file for accuracy before printing.

Principles and practical points:

  • Imagine your audience is other experimental biologists, who may or may not already know what you work on—you want to tell them about your work, convince them of the soundness of your results, and the interesting aspects of the experiment.
  • Make it easy to extract information and keep it simple. Use active text that communicates a conclusion. For example:

A overly complicated title: Studies of the effect of compound XYZ on caudal motor behavior in the dog.
A better title: Compound XYZ causes tail-wagging in dogs.

  • Graphics/tables should dominate; use text only to supplement. Text relevant to a figure should go with the figure. Remove non-essential information. Think bullets; this is not a manuscript.
  • What text there is must be large enough to be read at several feet away, minimum 5 mm (24 pt). Headings should be larger—to draw the reader into the parts. Material should be presented in an orderly flow.

Evaluate existing posters:

Wander the halls of the science buildings to see various examples of posters to get an idea of presentation styles, font sizes, etc. Some will strike you as being particularly effective for communicating your research results. Feel free to consult with faculty/students who made these posters to get details on style components. In some cases, they might have Powerpoint/Illustrator/Photoshop files available to use as templates.

Other resources:

There is a chapter on posters in Victoria E. McMillan's Writing papers in the biological sciences, Boston, Bedford/St. Martins, various editions.

The following websites have lots of good advice on basic organization/poster design.