RPI received a NIH training grant to fund some of its graduate students. Last week the students hosted a retreat show casing talks of their research as well as several professors. Roughly 20 students were asked to present posters during an afternoon poster session. Someone once explained poster sessions to me as "show-and-tell for scientists." This idea led me to believe that poster sessions would be more about sharing something exciting in your work and criticizing the science. Unfortunately, at my very first poster session, I had the experience of having an older gentleman tell me "that seems stupid" when I explained my poster to him. Granted it was a fairly simple set of experiments but I had been a grad student for a grand total of 4 months and was happy to have ANY results to show for it. Ever since then I've been less enthusiastic about the whole show-and-tell thing.
Thankfully, most of the people at the retreat were people I share a lab with or work in the same building so I didn't have to worry about total strangers judging my poster. Of course, none of the science that has been working is from exactly the same project. I was able to put together a decent composite poster of three related projects that told a rough story. I definitely was not in the running for best poster. However, since I was away at Cornell the week before the retreat and had the date wrong for the retreat; I'll take what I can get. Now all I need to do is get a complete story and try a national meeting poster session again.