General Goals and Audience:
Undergraduate Research Day, sponsored by the URECA Center, is an annual venue that provides students the opportunity to present their research and scholarly works to members of the entire Wake Forest University community, including faculty, other students, and family members. Research Day is held on Family Weekend. This means that your presentation, whether poster or oral, must be appropriate for a general audience.
Any student who wishes to present scholarly work pursued under the guidance of a faculty member is welcome to do so. All students who received Wake Forest Research Fellowships or Richter Scholarships are required to present the fall after they complete their project, if they are enrolled on campus. Students who are studying abroad must submit an abstract but are not expected to return for Research Day.
Research Day consists of one large poster session and a small number of oral presentations. Students should plan on presenting posters unless they have a compelling reason that an oral presentation would be more appropriate for their subject material.
A poster in and of itself is not a presentation. The poster should facilitate your discussion of the scholarly work that you pursued. The presentation is made by you, the student. People will stop by your poster and ask you to explain what you did and what you discovered. You should have a brief 2-minute overview prepared for when this happens! You should also be prepared to answer any questions that your audience asks. In many ways, a poster presentation is more like a facilitated discussion than a formal oration.
Typically, posters for Research Day are 36 x 36 inches. They may be up to 42” vertically, but they may NOT be more than 36 inches wide due to space constraints. Though the presentation of ideas may be fluid, most posters include title and authors, an introduction, a presentation of the method and results, and a conclusion section. If this type of format is not appropriate for your work, you should feel free to change it to suit your presentation. Bear in mind that your faculty mentor, if s/he regularly builds posters for presentation at conferences, will be of great help in guiding the development of your poster.
There are a number of on-line websites that offer advice on how to build posters for presentation. A particularly good one can be found at colinpurrington.com.
A limited number of oral presentations are given annually at Research Day by those students who feel that their presentation would be otherwise limited by the poster format. For instance, a presentation in Art History may benefit from the projection of works of art on a larger scale than can be printed on a poster (Projectors will be available for PowerPoint slides to be utilized). Organization of talks can vary widely depending upon the nature of a project. The oral presentation format is more formal than a poster presentation, and it is expected that students will have rehearsed their talks and be certain that they will not exceed the 10-minute period allotted for their presentation and any follow-up questions that may be asked.
Arrive at least 15 minutes early to allow time to hang your poster or upload your oral presentation to a computer.
Dress professionally. You are representing your work, your laboratory, and Wake Forest University.
Stay the entire time (3-5 p.m.). If you are not busy at your poster, consider talking with another presenter near your poster.
At the close of Research Day, prepare to help by removing your poster and collecting the poster board and easel for pick-up.
One final note: The goal of Research Day is to highlight the scholarship that you accomplished on your own or with your faculty mentor. Your presentation should not be an essay on how you spent your summer!