In the Loop
Student Stories : Nov 13, 2014

Ph.D. student wins competition with poster featuring humanities research

By Jessie Ward

The 2014 Graduate Student Research Day (GSRD), an annual event organized and run by the Graduate Student Advisory Council (GSAC), features research from graduate students in all disciplines with posters from hundreds of students, panel discussions and professional development workshops. The poster competition was open to all UF graduate students and this year’s event had 200 submissions, mostly from Science, Technology, Engineering and  Mathematics (STEM) research. Second-year Ph.D. student Leslie Todd left as a winner with one of the only humanities posters in the competition.

“The idea of the poster is to put your project's argument, methods, conclusions, and general contribution to the field on a poster in a visually appealing way that conveys the information successfully and succinctly,” said Todd.  

Todd’s poster was based on a paper she wrote last semester for Maya Stanfield-Mazzi's Moche seminar. “It was fun to have the opportunity to teach people a little about Moche society who had no previous knowledge of its existence,” said Todd.  “It was nice to engage with people about a paper I'm proud of.”

The general approach to Todd’s design was to state her argument, coming from an art historical approach, in as few words as possible and in an accessible manner for a general audience while balancing an emphasis on images. “I wanted to make sure the visual quality of my poster was pleasing so I tried to make my background colors reflect the colors in the shell vessel that I used as my case study in the center of the poster.”

There were two poster sessions, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, and each poster participant had to stand at their poster during one of these sessions. “When we stood with our posters, it was pretty exhilarating to have the opportunity to teach a complete stranger about our topic.”

As a member of GSAC, first-year Ph.D. student Maura Gleeson participated for the first time in organizing this year’s event, serving as a member of the marketing subcommittee and poster subcommittee. She designed the flyer that advertised GSRD as well as the stationery that went out to all faculty and local participants.

“I have to say that it was a great experience meeting and working with other grad students to put together the day,” Glesson said. “Its success was a result of our collaboration and shared vision of making an exciting environment for students from all fields to share their research.”

The GSAC’s next big project is the 3 Minute Thesis competition, which takes place in the spring. This event challenges grad students to communicate their research and its significance to a non-specialist audience in three minutes. For more information, check out GSAC’s website here.