Presentation Guidelines

Undergraduate students can participate in the Winchell Undergraduate Research Symposium with a paper or oral presentation.

What Constitutes Undergraduate Research?

The Winchell Undergraduate Research Symposium is designed to provide a venue for students to present research, which we define as “an inquiry or investigation conducted by an undergraduate that makes an original intellectual or creative contribution to the discipline.” To make an original contribution, research needs to create new knowledge.


Students may enter their projects into one of the following categories; some categories may be consolidated depending on the number of students presenting in each discipline.
Cellular and Molecular Biology
Chemistry and Biochemistry
Earth Science
Ecology and Environmental Science
Economics and Business
Math & Computer Science
Organismal and Physiological Sciences
Social Science
Nursing Research


Abstract Guidelines

Students must submit abstracts for both poster and oral presentations. Abstracts should be submitted online as part of registration. Please follow the guidelines below for abstracts.

Length, Spacing, and Fonts

Abstracts should be a maximum of 250 words.

Abstracts should be single-spaced and left-justified with no indentation.

Use Times New Roman or Arial size 12 font for abstracts and titles.

Titles should be in ALL CAPS, except for Latin names.

Latin names should be italicized and lowercase except for the first letter of the genus, which is capitalized.

Use Oxford commas for all lists, including authors (i.e. “a, b, and c” not “a, b and c”).

Authors and Institutions

Authors’ names should take the form First M.I. Last.

Authors should be separated by a comma and the last author should be preceded by the word ‘and’.

Advisors should be listed as an author and be followed by the word “Advisor” in parentheses.

If authors represent different institutions, identify the different institutions with a superscript numeral as shown in the example below.

The list of authors should include the department of the author and advisor.

For team projects, each person must register separately though you will have the same project title, authors and abstract.

If you need help deciding what information to include in your abstract, we recommend How to write a good abstract for a scientific paper or conference presentation by Chittaranjan Andrade.

Download an example of a properly formatted abstract.


Poster Guidelines

Posters must not exceed the size of the backer boards that will be provided:  4 ft. by 3 ft

Check with your research advisor to see if your college or university has branding guidelines to follow for your poster design or templates to follow. Your advisor may also know where you can get your poster printed on campus or nearby.

If you need help getting started with your poster design, “Creating an Effective Scientific Poster Presentation” is a site created by Rogene Schnell, an Instructional Designer at the University of Minnesota College of Biological Sciences. It gives a complete overview of the poster preparation process from planning to design to assessment.

We also recommend “Do’s and Don’ts of Poster Presentation” by Steven M. Block, Princeton University, published in the Biophysical Journal.


Oral Presentation Guidelines

Each presenter will be allotted 10 minutes for their presentation and no more than 3 minutes for questions.

Laptops and projectors will be available in every room. Students should bring their presentation on a jump drive or CD and load the presentation onto the laptops provided prior to their oral presentation session beginning. There will be ample time to load student presentations and check for errors prior to the start of each session. Students are strongly encouraged to format their presentation as either a PowerPoint or PDF that is compatible with a PC.

For tips about preparing your presentation structure and content, we recommend “Oral Presentation Structure” from Scitable. If you need help with the design of your presentation, the University of Northwestern CLIMB program put together a video on how to design slides for a scientific presentation.