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The CPIA poster competition attracts graduate students in optics and photonics from several prominent Colorado universities, presenting their research on a range of topics. The students might have just begun their research in the past few months or could have just defended their thesis after 5 years of intense study. The judges are sourced from the greater optics industry throughout the region The pool of judges is drawn from the broad optics industry, national labs, and university departments.
The breadth of subjects, presenters and judges makes this competition fundamentally different than a “best paper” competition at a conference, where the quality and significance of the research is the primary criterion. In our case, the breadth of topics would make this judgment extremely difficult. When compounded with the focused expertise of the individual judges and the variable tenure of the students, it becomes impossible.
The theme of this competition, then, is how well the students can present their results to an interested group of people educated or experienced in the broad field of optics. The quality and significance of the research is still important but must be measured by the student’s capability to communicate. Therefore, the judges are not expected to be subject-matter experts – rather it is the presenter’s job to identify the listener and modify the talk appropriately.
There are many posters, and the session is only 75 minutes, thus each poster cannot be visited by each judge. To level the playing field, we have thus provided the judges with a numerical rubric on which to rank posters. These results will be tabulated and the top three posters, measured by numerical scores, will be the winners. There will not be first, second and third prizes – all three posters will simply be “winners” and the cash prizes will be the same. In the unlikely event of a four-or-more way tie, we will use comments from the judges to choose the three best posters and, if that is insufficient, a coin toss.
The student scores are normalized to the average for each judge. That is, if you give the same (high or low) score to every poster you judge, it makes no difference to the final tally. Only the variation within your scores is important.
The evaluation categories are
- Poster clarity and graphical quality: Is the topic of the poster clear from a quick look? Is the visual organization uncluttered and does it follow an obvious sequence to lead the viewer from beginning to end? Are the figures, text, and equations easily readable from 3 or 4 feet? Do the graphics, text, and equations support (as opposed to obscure) the topic? Is the relevant information present to answer the obvious questions? Is irrelevant information omitted?
- Informative: Do the poster & presenter give the appropriate context and background to identify the research question and why the research is important? Do they convey the strategy used to answer the question, the results obtained and the certainty of those results? Is the research put in context of the broad field? Are next steps outlined?
- Engaging speaker: Is the presentation organized? Does the speaker use a clear voice of appropriate speed? Do they make eye contact? Do they have enthusiasm for the subject? Is the speaker able to adjust the presentation and answer questions clearly and tailored to the listener? Do they introduce, present, and summarize the topic such that a non-expert is left with a clear “big picture” of the most important concepts?
At the meeting you will be given an evaluation form for the 3 to 4 posters you are being asked to judge. A sample evaluation form is shown below.
Are You A Student Considering Sharing Your Research Project?
Graduate students from all of our Colorado Universities and beyond are invited to present their photonics research at the annual meeting of the Colorado Photonics Industry Association (CPIA). Register to be a present a poster no later than October 8th. NOTE: There is no charge to participate. No other registration is required.
Each poster will be evaluated by 3-4 judges, during our University Event being held on Thursday, October 19th. Judges will assign points based on the criteria below. The judges, not necessarily experts in your field, will have sufficient time to listen to a short overview of your poster. Your job is to communicate clearly and concisely, ensuring that your presentation is tailored to their unique levels of understanding. Make sure to prepare a short (3-5 min) introductory presentation to get the discussion started.
The poster contest is held every year in the fall at our Annual University Meeting. It’s a great place to make industry connections and show your capabilities. Not only are there cash prizes for the best posters but this is a great opportunity for students to secure job offers from the industry representatives present at the event.
Three “Best Poster” Awardees will receive $350 each
- Poster clarity and graphical quality, logical sequence with readable graphs and text. You will be asked to have your poster available for evaluation by 3:00pm Thursday, October 19th. A set of 10 powerpoint slides can be provided instead of the usual 30” x 40” poster, however, you must inform us of your intention to use a power point so we can ensure proper presentation equipment.
- Informative poster including clear statement of the research question and why it is important.
- Ability to give a clear and concise presentation that introduces, presents and summarizes the topic such that a non-expert is left with a clear “big picture” of the most important concepts.
Presentation Timeline | October 19th
Students are required to attend the open poster viewing and any designated judging sessions. The Open Poster Viewing is open to any interested attendee including all judges and corporate representatives. This viewing will be promoted among those that register for the annual meeting. The tentative schedule will be provided to registrants as we get closer to the event. Students will interact with 3-4 judges during their pre-assigned poster judging session.
So How Will Winners Be Announced?
The top three winners will be notified by the end of the event on Thursday, October 19th. The winners will be presented their Award Certificates and a $350 check at the end of the CPIA Annual University Meeting.
Example Poster Evaluation Form
Below is an example evaluation form that will be provided to the judges, and by which each poster will be evaluated. As you can see, the presenters ability to convey their research accurately, and in a way that makes sense to their respective judge is weighed heavier than the subject matter itself.
Judge’s Name: _____________________
You are being asked to judge 3 or 4 posters, indicated by the Poster # column on the scoring form below. The Poster # will be on, or near, the poster you are to evaluate. Please rate each poster from 1 (lowest) to 5 (highest) in each of the 3 categories described on the first page. Please do not invent your own scoring system. Please rate the three criteria for each poster. If you have any clarifying comments that might help us break ties, please note those in the space provided. Please return this evaluation sheet completed to Shu-Wei Huang or Kevin Keilbach by 5:00 pm.
And thank you for your expert help!