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Frequently Asked Questions about Virtual Poster Showcase

FAQs for Faculty

When are the showcases?
There are several showcases scheduled throughout the year. See the timelines for our annual showcases dates.

Do my students have to be AGU members?
Students are not required to be members; they must only be students who are conducting research.

I had a student work with me on a research project over the summer. Is it too late for them to participate?
Check to see the showcase timelines. You can also sign up for email alerts about upcoming showcases or print our flyer and post it in your office.

I’m working with only grad students. Are they eligible?
Yes. As long as they are active students who are conducting research, they can participate in the Graduate Student Showcase. The graduate student must be the lead author on the abstract.

I work with only undergraduate students. Can they submit an abstract?
Yes. If they have conducted research, they are eligible to submit an abstract. The undergraduate student must be the lead author on the abstract.

I work with high school students. Can they submit an abstract?
Select high school students are able to participate in the Virtual Poster Showcase (VPS) if your students perform original research.  To be eligible, the lead author must be a high school student.  Educators (teachers or project advisors) cannot be listed as the lead author. Please contact AGU to see if VPS can work with your curriculum.

I did not work with individual students doing research, but students in a summer course were involved in a class project. Can they submit an abstract?
Yes, as long as one student is the lead author, the work is eligible for VPS.

Can more than one person author a poster?
Yes. Your entire class could coauthor a poster, if desired, but there must be one lead author.

Can I be listed as a coauthor?
Yes. As a faculty member/researcher, you can be listed as a coauthor. However, the lead author must be a student.

How can I use this for my capstone course that I’m teaching this semester?
Encourage your students to participate individually, or have them submit a group abstract with one student as the lead author. You can always contact AGU.

My student(s) won’t be able to pay for the abstract. Can I cover this cost for them?
Yes. Please email us so we can arrange a special coupon code, which will allow your student(s) to submit the abstract, but you will be invoiced once the submission has closed.

My student has presented this research in class, as well as at our campus-wide symposium. Can they still submit a poster?
Yes. Research that has been presented in class and on campus is fair game, but presentations given to other organizations should not be repeated verbatim.

What should I tell my students about how long the abstract should be?
Titles are limited to 300 characters, and the body is limited to 2000. Note that this includes spaces and punctuation marks. You can also point them toward our Guide to Writing an AGU Abstract for more help.

Do my students need to use any special equipment to record their video?
You do not need to use any special film equipment. If they wish, students can use a smartphone and upload their video to YouTube. Further details about making a video can be found on our tutorial.

How do my students create and submit a poster?
Students can use a Mac or PC to create a poster with PowerPoint, Adobe Illustrator, Canvas, or any other program they like. The file size may not exceed 25 MB, and the physical poster may not exceed 48 inches wide or 36 inches tall. The file must be saved as a PDF. We offer guidance on organizing a poster.

What should I tell my students to ensure they create a professional-looking poster?
To ensure your student’s poster is easy to read and understand, it’s best to check that their design doesn’t overshadow their content, the visuals are relevant and easy to see, all text is legible, and the layout is consistent throughout.

I have an undergraduate research student that just graduated. Can he or she still submit his or her research to VPS?
Yes, so long as they conducted the research as undergraduate students, graduates may participate in VPS.


FAQs for students

Is there a way for me to present my research if I am unable to attend Fall Meeting?
Yes! Our Virtual Poster Showcase (VPS) allows students to present their research right from campus. There’s no need for travel—in four easy steps, you can present your research and participate in the Virtual Poster Showcase.

Who can participate in the Virtual Poster Showcase?
Undergraduate students (pursuing a bachelor’s, bachelor’s honors, or associate’s degree) may participate in both the Fall and Spring Showcases, and the Fall Showcase is open to graduate students (pursuing a master’s or Ph.D.). Select high school students are also able to participate.

Do I need to be an AGU member or have membership in another professional organization?
No. AGU membership is not required. You do not need to belong to any professional organization to participate in the Virtual Poster Showcase.

What are the abstract requirements?
Abstracts must be submitted electronically, and they must be written in English. Titles are limited to 300 characters, and the body is limited to 2000. Please note that character counts include punctuation and spaces. See our guide to writing an AGU abstract for more help.

How do I create and submit my poster?
You can use a Mac or PC to create your poster with PowerPoint, Adobe Illustrator, Canvas, or any other program you like. The file size may not exceed 25 MB, and the physical poster may not exceed 48 inches wide or 36 inches tall. Your file must be saved as a PDF.

What should my poster look like?
Your poster’s design can make or break your presentation. To ensure that you don’t lose your message, it’s best to check that your design doesn’t overshadow the content, the visuals are relevant and easy to see, all text is legible, and the layout is consistent. Review past winners’ posters and our information on how to organize your poster.

How do I make my video look professional?
Your video must show you explaining your poster in no more than 5 minutes. When filming, ensure that your camera is adjusted so that the field of view and lighting show both the student and the poster. You can use a smartphone or camera and upload the video to YouTube. You will then add the YouTube link to the VPS platform when you upload your poster PDF. Review our video tutorial for more information. Note: when uploading your video to YouTube, please adhere to the following title and description:

AGU Virtual Poster Showcase (season) (year) – Full name

Description: Title of your submission, full abstract, and the following blurb: “The Virtual Poster Showcase (VPS) is an online poster presentation opportunity hosted by the American Geophysical Union that allows students at the undergraduate and graduate levels to share their research without having to travel to a conference. Students are guided through the essential steps of an in-person scientific conference but in an online and asynchronous environment: abstract submission, poster preparation and presentation, and the peer-review process, during which they learn to evaluate each other’s research. To learn more about how you can participate in Virtual Poster Showcase as a student, faculty member or judge, visit”

If I make a mistake on my poster or video, can I resubmit it before the deadline?
Yes, you can upload an updated version of your poster or video if it is before the upload deadlines.

How do I benefit from VPS?
Each student will receive a certificate of participation after completion of the entire VPS process. Your abstract will become available in our database, which is still under construction, and you will have an official citation for your work as a result of your participation. Please note that participating includes peer reviewing three peer posters and responding to judges’ feedback if appropriate. The top-ranked students in each division will receive a free year of AGU membership for their achievement, and the grand prize winner will receive funding toward lodging and airfare as well as a complimentary registration for the 2017 Fall Meeting.

Can I see past winners’ presentations?
Yes, past winners' presentations are available. 

Will I still get a certificate if I do not advance past the peer review phases of judging?

To receive a certificate, you must successfully submit a poster and participate in the peer review phase by judging the posters you have been assigned.

If I want to come to Fall Meeting but I’m not sure if I’ll have the funding, can I also submit my abstract to VPS?
You cannot submit the same abstract to two programs simultaneously. If you are unable to attend Fall Meeting, there will still be time to withdraw your abstract from Fall Meeting and submit it to VPS. Contact us to withdraw your Fall Meeting abstract.

I have presented my research at another conference or meeting; can I still submit it to VPS?
Students may not submit the same research to VPS as they have to another conference or meeting. You may use a piece of your previously-presented work, but you may not submit an entire project that has already been presented off campus.

Will submitting my research to VPS affect my ability to publish the same research in a journal?
Submitting research to VPS should not affect your ability to get the same research published in an scientific journal, however you should reach out to the editorial staff to be sure. For more information, we encourage you to contact: AGU journal contacts, GSA journal editors, or review the AMS journal frequently asked questions.

How can I access my peer reviews?
Peer reviews can be found within the Virtual Poster Showcase platform, under the Judging tab.

Do my ratings of my peers affect my own ratings?
No. Students who review your work will not be judged by you.

How should I judge my peers’ posters?
The criteria by which to judge posters is outlined in the Virtual Poster Showcase rubric. You may use that as a guide as you review and judge the posters assigned to you.

I’ve already completed my bachelor’s degree and recently started graduate school. Can I submit research that I did during my undergraduate studies?
If you recently entered graduate school but would like to submit research you completed as an undergraduate student, you are eligible to submit it to the Undergraduate Showcase of VPS.

Is there a fee waiver option for international students?
Yes, VPS participation is free to citizens of countries designated by the World Bank as “low” or “lower-middle” income (a list of qualifying countries can be found beneath the charts of each page). During registration, after you populate the ‘Country’ field with your qualifying country, the fee will automatically adjust to $0.