Student Paper/Poster Competition Instructions

I. Submissions

Students wishing to submit a paper (oral presentation) and/or poster for the LAS Student Paper (Oral Presentation) and Poster Competition must submit an abstract using the "Submit an abstract" link found on the LAS website (http://www.laacademy.org/meeting.html). The first author of the abstract MUST be a student and that student MUST present the oral presentation or poster. Faculty and other students are allowed as second authors, but they cannot present the oral presentation or poster, or win an award. Students enter the competition by clicking the "Yes" button after “Enter in student paper competition?” on the electronic abstract form. (There are separate competitions for Graduate and Undergraduate Students for the Paper (Oral Presentation) and Poster Competitions – click either the “Student (Undergraduate)” or “Student (Graduate)” button when submitting abstracts.)

In addition, students entering the competition must submit a longer, 1-page abstract to the chair of the relevant section. (See list below.) Title, authors, affiliation, project description and references should be included. The name of the student competing should be underlined. The abstract should include besides introduction and methodology, a brief description of results. Figures, diagrams, schemes, etc., are allowed and encouraged, all within the 1 page limit.

Section Chair list for student paper competition

Agriculture, Forestry, and WildlifeBogdan Strimbustrimbu@latech.edu
BotanyAlex LasseigneAlex.Lasseigne@nicholls.edu
ChemistryAugust Gallogallo@louisiana.edu
Computer ScienceYenumula Reddyybreddy@gram.edu
Earth SciencesAnne Case Hankscasehanks@ulm.edu
Environmental SciencesFrank Phillipsfphillips@mcneese.edu
Higher EducationSusan Sullivanssullivan@lsua.edu
K-12 EducationSusan Sullivanssullivan@lsua.edu
Materials Science and EngineeringNaidu Seetalanaidusv@gram.edu
Math & StatisticsBassidy Dembeledembeleb@gram.edu
Microbiology Jameel Al-Dujailijdujaili@lsue.edu
Molecular and Biomedical BiologyAnn Findleyafindley@ulm.edu
PhysicsPedro Derosaderosap@gram.edu
Science and HumanitiesJohn DoucetJohn.Doucet@nicholls.edu
Social SciencesAlma Thorntonalma_thornton@subr.edu
Zoology Jonathan Akinjonathana@nsula.edu

II. Selection

The screening committee for paper and poster competition will consist of the Section Chairs or their designee from the Divisions of LAS (Agriculture, Forestry and Wildlife; Biological Sciences; Physical Sciences; Social Sciences; Sciences and Humanities; and Science Education) to which the presentation is submitted plus the LAS Student Competitions Coordinators. The Screening Committee will evaluate the abstracts and select finalists for the competition.

  1. For the Paper (Oral Presentation) Competition, the committee will select up to four (4) undergraduate and four (4) graduate finalists from each Award Division. (See Award Divisions below.) No two (2) will be selected from the same institution unless warranted.
  2. For the Poster Competition, there is no limit to the number of students to be selected for the poster competition. The only requirement is for the abstract to meet the criteria specified above.
  3. Entrants will be notified by the Section Chair or designee whether an entry was selected as a finalist in the competition, in which case special instructions apply (see Sections III and IV below), or was not selected, in which case the presentation will be scheduled as a regular contributed oral or poster presentation.

Award Divisions include:

  1. “Best in Botany, Environmental Sciences and Zoology”
  2. “Best in Molecular and Biomedical Biology, and Microbiology”
  3. “Best in Computer Science, Math and Statistics, and Material Sciences and Engineering”
  4. “Best in Chemistry, Physics, and Earth Sciences”
  5. “Best in Agriculture, Forestry and Wildlife”
  6. “Best in Science Education”
  7. “Best in Social Sciences”
  8. “Best in Sciences and Humanities”

A single “Best in” award for each Award Division will be given to one (1) undergraduate and one (1) graduate student.  Judges reserve the right not to give an award in one or more divisions if warranted. 

III. Best Student Oral Presentations

Oral Presentations: All Oral Presentations in the Best Student Paper Competition will be presented during special Award Division Competition sessions. Each presentation is strictly limited to 10 minutes. Timers will be used. After the presentation, five (5) minutes will be allowed for questions (it is very important to allow time for questions as “Answering Questions” is one of the criteria for judging, see below). After the Division Competition sessions are over, each session moderator will give the results to the LAS Student Competitions Coordinators. The results must be provided to the Competitions Coordinators no later than 2:00 PM.

Judging: Select Division/Section Professionals and the Session Moderators (time permitting for these individuals) will judge the presentations. Judging sheets will be handed out before the session. After the session is over, Division/Section Professionals will meet briefly to compare notes and decide on the winner for their Award Division.

The Judging Criteria are as follows:

  1. Originality - to what extent does the work presented add to the existing body of knowledge?
  2. Purpose - is the purpose clearly stated and is its importance discussed?
  3. Methods - are the methods and statistical analyses sound?
  4. Conclusions - do the conclusions follow from the results presented?
  5. Presentation - did the presenter speak clearly and effectively? Were the multimedia aids of high quality?
  6. Answering Questions - how well did the presenter answer questions from the audience?

Each criterion will be given a designation of Excellent, Good, Fair, or Poor.  The student with the most points will be designated as the “Best” in that Award Division. 

IV. Best Student Poster

Each student entering the poster competition will be asked to describe his/her poster in a special section. The competitor will have 2 minutes to do so and can present 1 or 2 slides. The 2 minutes limit will be strictly enforced. The competitors are asked to load their slides before the section starts, all delays caused by a competitor will be counted out of the 2 minutes.

In addition, posters must be set up for viewing as indicated in the Annual Meeting program. Dimensions for posters MUST be 3’ high and 4’ wide (36”x48” maximum). Posters WILL BE DISQUALIFIED if they exceed the maximum dimensions. Posters must be left up until 2:00 PM.

Judging: The judging panel for the Best Student Poster competition will be appointed by the LAS Student Competitions Coordinators and consist of members from each Award Division. The judges will review each poster in their Awards Division any time before 2:00 PM and evaluate them according to the criteria below. By 2:00 PM, all judging sheets will be returned to the LAS Student Competitions Coordinators. Students will not be required to be by their posters for judging; therefore, information on the posters must be of high enough quality to stand alone.

The Judging Criteria are as follows:

  1. Originality - to what extent does the work presented add to the existing body of knowledge?
  2. Purpose - is the purpose clearly stated and is its importance discussed?
  3. Methods - are the methods and statistical analyses sound?
  4. Conclusions - do the conclusions follow from the results presented?
  5. Presentation - is the poster clear and well-executed?

Each criterion will be given a designation of Excellent, Good, Fair, or Poor.  The student with the most points will be designated as the “Best” in that Award Division. 

V. Awards

Later in the afternoon (exact time to be announced in the Annual Meeting program), the “BEST IN DIVISION AWARDS” for Paper and Poster Presentations for that year’s meeting will be announced and a monetary award will be provided to each of the winners. If only one student enters in a division, the judges reserve the right to give an award in that division.

NOTICE: If the winner is not present during the award ceremony, the diploma will be mailed to the student’s institution but the monetary award will be forfeited.

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