February 7, 2017

Virtual Poster Showcase: Share Your Research Globally—Without the Travel

Posted by AGU Career Center

Update: The 2017 Spring Virtual Poster Showcase is now open.  The deadline to register and submit your abstract is 13 March.

12-16 December 2016.

You had it marked on your calendar all year long.  You told yourself, “This is it! This is the year that I present at Fall Meeting!”  But then one thing led to another and before you knew it, the deadline for abstract submissions had come and gone.  Begrudgingly, you brought out your 2017 calendar and wrote “New Orleans—Fall Meeting 2017” across the week of December 11.  What more could you do?

Skill-Building Beyond the Classroom

In an upcoming Eos article, David Harwell and I will briefly touch upon the topic of skills, in particular the difference between technical and non-technical skills.  While your future employer will undoubtedly care about your technical skills, they will also be looking to see that you have those skills that you don’t find in a textbook.

While a classroom environment can certainly give you a chance to practice your communication and presentation skills, it can also be a little constricting.  You’ll become familiar with your classmates and your professor so communication comes more easily with them, but how will that translate with science communities outside of your classroom?

One good way to get your research (and your name) out there is to present your work at a conference, but we all know how difficult that can be, especially when you’re just getting your career started and you aren’t in close distance to conferences.  How then can you develop these non-technical skills that will be essential to your career?

Enter Virtual Poster Showcase

Virtual Poster Showcase (VPS) takes the elements of poster sessions at physical conferences and translates that experience into a digital environment.  You will submit an abstract, prepare and present your research, and respond to feedback from your peers and judges from the geoscience professions.

16 February marks the start of the Spring 2017 Showcase.  Each showcase is comprised of four separate phases:

  • Abstract Submission (16 February – 13 March): During this phase, eligible students will be able to submit their abstracts.

Are you an eligible student? In order to be eligible, you must be a student actively pursuing a degree.  For undergraduate students, this could be a bachelor’s, a bachelor’s honors, or an associate’s degree.  For graduate students, you must be pursuing a master’s or Ph.D.  AGU membership is not a requirement.

You will be submit your abstract electronically through the Virtual Poster Showcase platform.  Specific submission requirements can be found on the Virtual Poster Showcase webpage.

Please note: this opportunity does come with a cost.  There is a $35 USD submission fee for all abstracts.  Because VPS was created in an effort to remove barriers of entry, participation is free to citizens of countries designated by the World Bank as “low” or “lower-middle” income.

  • Poster & Video Upload (14 – 30 March): After abstracts have been accepted, participants will be invited to upload their posters as well as a video of themselves presenting their poster.

You will find resources on the Virtual Poster Showcase webpage to help you with your poster creation and video presentation.  An upcoming On the Job article will further expand on this topic to help aid you in the process.

  • Peer Judging (31 March – 13 April)
  • Expert Judging (14 – 28 April)

Virtual Poster Showcase has two judging phases: in the first phase, VPS participants will critique their fellow participants’ posters and presentations; those who advance to the second round of judging will be evaluated by a group of geoscience professionals.  In early April, On the Job will explore how to effectively communicate your work with other scientists (and how to return the favor).

What’s next?

If Virtual Poster Showcase sounds like a good fit for you, then take a minute to sign up for VPS Email Alerts.  We’ll send out an email once the system is open to submissions.

Later this month, On the Job will examine the art of the abstract.  Even if you aren’t planning on participating in Virtual Poster Showcase, we hope that you will be able to put this advice to good use, along with the rest of our series directed towards VPS participants.

Nathaniel Janick is the Career Services Coordinator at the American Geophysical Union.