Tag Archives: Convention

APAGS Poster Session at the 2015 APA Convention in Toronto.

Research Posters 101

So you’re presenting a poster at convention – congrats! Now what? If you’re new to research posters here are some handy tips about poster design and printing to get you started:

APAGS Poster Session at the 2015 APA Convention in Toronto.

APAGS Poster Session at the 2015 APA Convention in Toronto.

Poster Design

Size & Design – The first task will be to figure out how big you want your poster to be and what program you’ll be using to design it. The acceptance letter will tell you the size of board you have to put your poster up on – I would recommend choosing a size that is slightly smaller than this. For example, if the letter states 4ft x 6ft, you might want to print 3ft x 5ft. Poster design websites (e.g., posterpresentations.com) will have downloadable templates in standard sizes that will get you started. If you want to design your poster sans template, people typically use Microsoft Powerpoint and design their poster on a single slide. The important part here is to adjust the size of the slide to the size you want to print (Design > Page Set Up > Custom – this may vary depending on your version of the program).

Keep it simple – The next step is figuring out what to put on your poster. Less is more! Think about your research question and take-home message and design your poster around this. Many people will be passing through quickly and the goal is to present your findings at a glance. I know it’s hard to cut out detail, but remember that you’ll be there to answer any questions about methods, measures and minutiae that come up!

Be creative, but keep it thematic. If you can adapt your findings or present your materials in a visual format – go for it! Just be sure to label everything clearly and include only the information that is crucial to your message. You don’t want the visual elements to distract from or undermine the message.

Poster Printing

After you design your poster, it’s time to get it printed! Many universities and colleges have in-house printing services, and most college towns will have print shops with competitive prices on research posters. There are also several websites that specialize in printing research posters. These have the added bonus that you can have your poster delivered right to your hotel at convention. While I’ve never had issues with this before, I would be wary of this method if I was presenting near the beginning of convention (to give you time to re-order if it didn’t arrive).

Another thing to consider is if you want to print a paper poster, which is traditional, or go with a fabric or digital poster. I haven’t seen many digital posters, but think this option could be beneficial if you want a cheap and interactive display. If you are interested in going digital, first check that it’s an option that will be available to you, and second, make a contingency plan in the case of technical glitches (e.g., have extra printed copies of the poster, have the contact information for A/V support on site, etc.). Fabric posters can be more expensive, but they’ve been coming down in price. These can be great if you’re traveling a long distance and want the convenience of putting your poster in your suitcase or convention bag. With this option, you may need to iron your poster to take out any creases due to the folding.

Other Considerations

Print letter-sized copies of your poster for people to take with them, or at the very least, have a place for people to leave their contact information for you to send digital copies (or have a QR code for people to scan).

Also, think about how you’ll transport your poster to convention. If you’re printing a paper poster, will you need a poster tube? If you’re flying and bringing a tube as a carry-on, consider sharing the tube (and any luggage fees) with a friend. Also, think about the logistics of carrying your poster tube plus whatever else you’re bringing to convention (e.g., briefcase, shoulder bag) to ensure its manageable.

Lastly, posters are one of the areas where academics get to show off their creative side. Have fun with it!


National Die-In Recap

Fellow Advocates for Social Justice,

First, I want to apologize for the interval between the National Die-In and this post. I had two weeks of finals immediately after our Die-In and was focused on that. It is the challenge of being both a student and an advocate for social justice, something I know may of you are familiar with. I also needed some time and distance to reflect on what was a very powerful experience.


That said, the National Die-In was a great success! Our event in Chicago had approximately 50 participants, mostly students and faculty from schools throughout the Chicago region, who attended despite frigid temperatures and snow. The fact that so many attended despite the weather was inspiring. We lay on the pavement in front of City Hall for 16 minutes, representing the 16 bullets shot at Laquan McDonald, while a student read 16 key points from the APA’s Resolution Against Racism and Racial Discrimination. Folks who just happened to be walking by lay down next to us on the cold pavement in support of our cause. One of these individuals, a high school senior, even helped us carry signs back to the school afterward. Others were not as supportive, with one passerby expressing his opinion that we should leave the United States and form our own country. We were also filmed by two local news crews, and I hope to be able to retrieve the footage so that we can share it on social media. Please check out pictures from the Chicago Die-In on our Facebook event page.

Die1 - Chicago

Students participating in the Die-In in front of City Hall in Chicago.

D1 - ChicagoThis has been an inspiring journey for me and I thank you all for your collective efforts in making this happen. We staged a coordinated event at 20 schools, across 12 states, with hundreds of student and faculty participants. You should all be proud of your efforts! Of course, this is just the first step in the #psychologists4blacklives movement and I hope that together we can keep the momentum going. We are planning to be at the APA Convention in August. An even bigger event next year would be awesome. There are so many possibilities. We just need to connect those willing and able to do the hard work that it takes to stage events, with those with the courage to attend them.

Die-In, U of Denver

Students at University of Denver, participating in the Die-In in their school library.

Die In, U of DenverSchools throughout the country uploaded their pictures as well! Die-In participants at Virginia Commonwealth University, Boston College, University of Denver, and the University of North Texas also uploaded their pictures, and these schools were joined by Auburn University with multiple tweets about their Die-Ins. I also received pictures from the University of Oregon’s Die-In. I thought we had it rough with the weather but compared to Boston College we had it easy. The BC Die-In took place on what looked to be at least 6 inches of snow. Thank you so much for those who have already used social media to disseminate news about their events. For those of you who haven’t yet, please upload your pictures to our Facebook event page, Twitter, and any other sites that you use so that we can get maximum exposure for our #psychologists4blacklives Die-Ins. Also, please share this information with your school and local news sources.

Die In, Boston College

Students at Boston College, braving the snow to support the Die-In.

Boston College Die InParticipating Schools:

  • Illinois School of Profession Psychology at Argosy, Chicago
  • Pritzker School of Medicine, University of Chicago
  • University of North Texas
  • The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, Chicago Campus
  • The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, Washington, DC Campus
  • Chicago Art Institute
  • University of Illinois School of Social Work
  • Adler University
  • Boston College
  • Auburn University
  • Adelphi University
  • Howard University
  • Roosevelt University
  • University of New Haven
  • The New School for Social Research
  • Georgetown University
  • University of Denver
  • University of Hartford
  • University of Oregon
  • National Louis University

In Solidarity,



Planes, Trains, and Hotels – Oh My!

Getting to APA Convention in Denver, CO & Where to Stay Once You’ve Arrived


So you’ve decided to attend the 2016 APA Convention in Denver, Colorado – that’s great! The next steps in your journey are deciding how to get to Convention and where to stay once you arrive.

How do I get there?

  • Fly – For those traveling from farther away, flying may be your best option. Denver International Airport (DIA) is the major airport serving Denver. From here you can take a taxi or shuttle, take local transit, or rent a car to get to your accommodations. Use travel search engines, such as flighthub.com or kayak.com, to compare flight options.
  • Ride a BusGreyhound and other private bus lines travel to Denver and arrive at the Bus Terminal (1055 19th St), which is close to the RTD’s Market Street Station (local transit).
  • Take a Train – Trains will arrive at Denver’s Union Station, where you can get transit schedules, passes and maps. Amtrak has routes that travel to Denver from many locations across the US, but depending on where you’re coming from, these routes can take a significant amount of time – so plan accordingly!
  • Drive – If you opt to drive to Convention, APA members and affiliates have discounted rates with the rental car agencies Alamo, Budget, Avis and Hertz. Plus, carpooling is a great way to save money if you’re traveling in a group. If you do plan to drive, don’t forget to factor in the cost of parking for the duration of your stay.

Where should I stay?

For those of you wishing to stay where the action is – the Hyatt Regency Denver at Colorado Convention Center Hotel and the Sheraton Denver are both convention facilities and will be hosting a variety of APA, APAGS and Division events. Keep in mind that these options may be more expensive, so you may wish to find a roommate or two to make the convenience more affordable!

There are many other accommodations within minutes of the Convention Center in downtown Denver. These can be searched using Google Maps. Some of the closest options are:

If you’re looking for lower cost alternatives, you might consider renting a condo with friends instead of staying at a hotel. Some options are AirBnB, Vacation Rentals by Owner (VRBO), and Vacation Rentals. Again, Google Maps is a good way to figure out if an accommodation is within walking distance (or transiting) distance to the Convention Center.

Check out our post earlier this month A Comprehensive List of Student Travel Awards to Attend APA’s 2016 Convention for more info about potential ways to offset the cost.

Lastly, remember to check the APA website closer to April 15th for more detailed information regarding travel and accommodations.


Reasons to Attend Convention 2016 (Denver, CO)

Going to APA Convention is an important graduate school experience (and not just to add another line or two to your CV!).  We all know the drill with presenting our research and beefing up our CVs, but Convention has much more to offer! Here are some of my top reasons to attend Convention.

  1. Permission to Dabble!

Graduate school is an odd combination of being indoctrinated by your advisor and learning to critically evaluate everything you think you know (or are told).  Sometimes our focus becomes pretty limited by our long-days and late-nights working on our own research – for me White racial identity development among academicians in psychology.  Convention provides opportunities to branch out and see what the rest of psychology is up to!  My Convention guilty-pleasures (i.e., not related to my own research) are sessions on mental health disparities, feminist roundtables, and racial injustice advocacy.  I encourage you to find your own guilty-pleasures and indulge!

  1. Networking

An APAGS Member met Dr. Philip Zimbardo at an APAGS Food for Thought Breakfast.

Really, networking could be reasons 1- 5.  Regardless of where you are in your program, networking is crucial. As a second-year doctoral student, I met my future internship training director at Convention. I’m not saying that I matched solely because of this happenstance meeting, but I’m pretty sure I left a favorable impression! Now as I am transitioning to my first job-search as a psychologist, having THOUSANDS of potentials psychologists in one place feels like a dream! I am also always on the lookout for a celebrity psychologist sighting, so that I can have a fan-girl moment…

  1. Any Excuse to Get Out of [INSERT COLLEGE TOWN HERE]

Graduate students who have the luxury of going to school in New York City, Southern California, or Miami may not feel my pain, but I can always use an excuse to get out of Lexington, KY.  While the Horse Capital of the World boasts a cheap cost of living and mild winters, I find myself needing a break from the college town milieu.   Convention is a great way to double dip – professional development and mini-vacation!  Denver has a lot to offer budget-minded graduate students, such as several microbreweries, Colorado Rockies games, and several day-hikes right outside of the city.  Don’t forget to take some time for self-care and enjoy Denver!

  1. Sessions for Students, by Students

Faculty always say that they vividly remember the plight of graduate school… right before they give you a 48-hour deadline of reworking a manuscript and then go home for the evening at 5pm… However, faculty can forget all too soon that graduate students have unique struggles and concerns.  The APAGS Convention Committee provides student-focused programming in response to student feedback and needs.  In Denver, APAGS has prepared programs for stats-phobic students (Stats Phobia: Learn How to Learn Stats [and Work past Beginners Anxiety]), students who moonlight as parents (or maybe the other way around; Two P’s in a Pod: Balancing Parenthood with Psychology Training and Careers), and students from a variety of diverse identities and backgrounds (Connecting with our queerness: Four contemporary takes on being an LGBTQ(A) psychologist & Conducting Research on Marginalized Identities: When Research is “Me-Search”).  For the full APAGS Convention schedule, be on the lookout for the APAGS Convention Booklet that will be released closer to Convention or visit the APAGS Convention website!

This guy knows to save their critical remarks about the presenter’s outfit until they get back to their lab next week.

Professionalism at Convention, as Told by Animals

Editor’s note: Here are a few simple tips from APAGS Convention Committee member, Stephanie Winklejohn Black to help students keep it professional at Convention.

 1. Mind Your Drinking

Socials are often where connections are made for jobs, post docs, and research collaborations. They can be a lot of fun and really stressful. You may imbibe a bit more than you should because you just really like Pinot Noir (especially when it’s free) or because you’re nervous about Networking (Big N). Either way, becoming tipsy among your current and future colleagues can be nothing short of disastrous.

Less adorable when the dog is a graduate student on or nearing the job market.

Less adorable when the dog is a graduate student on or nearing the job market.

Tips to Reduce the Risk:

  • Some socials give out drink tickets to each guest, which helps to limit access to free alcohol. Leave your cash at home to avoid spending – and drinking – more at a cash bar.
  • Eat before you head to a social. Budgets are tight for students at conventions, so I usually pack granola bars, trail mix, and apples in my suitcase that I can snack on throughout.
  • Less is more. Listen. You might be a tank when it comes to drinking at home with friends. But keep in mind convention is busy and you’ll be tired, stressed, and at a high altitude. All of these impact how you’ll tolerate alcohol

2. Mind Your (and Others’) Time

I will own that I tend to be old-fashioned (LOVE Downton Abbey), so this may not be important to everyone. But there’s something to be said for arriving to talks – especially small, panel-based discussions – on time. If you do enter a talk late, stand toward the back to avoid climbing over folks who are already seated. Be remembered for your insightful questions at a talk, instead of tripping over someone’s leg and book bag on your way to an empty seat in the middle of a row!

You just know this guy is going to ask a question during the Q&A that was totally covered in the presentation!

You just know this guy is going to ask a question during the Q&A that was totally covered in the presentation!

This one is especially hard for me – but resist the urge to use your phone during a presentation. Presenters work hard on their materials, and looking out to a sea of blue lights can be disheartening.

3. Mind Your Surroundings

Convention is huge, which is awesome! It also means that attendees will scatter throughout the city for convention week. When you are out on the town, be aware of what you’re discussing and how you’re discussing it. Professionals from your division, or an employee at that postdoc you want, could be sitting at the table next to you.

This guy knows to save their critical remarks about the presenter’s outfit until they get back to their lab next week.

This guy knows to save their critical remarks about the presenter’s outfit until they get back to their lab next week.

I want to end by saying that being professional at convention doesn’t mean you have to be a robot, or can’t be authentic or funny. If you enter spaces at and/or near the convention with consideration for yourself and others you’ll be good to go!