The AACC student poster contest has been part of the Annual Meeting since the early 1990s and serves as a way to showcase AACC's fine young scientists. The competition evolved more than 10 years before the Society for Young Clinical Laboratorians (SYCL) initiative and in the early years was managed by the AACC Education Committee. Over time, responsibility for the contest has changed, but the basic structure remains the same. Bob Dufour, who served as chair of the Education Committee in 1994 and supervised the poster contest, recently said “For almost a quarter century, AACC has been encouraging the presentation skills and recognizing the efforts of young laboratory professionals. This is a great opportunity to meet and get feedback on your work from some of your future colleagues.”
Any trainee with an abstract accepted for presentation at the AACC Annual Meeting is eligible to compete in the contest by checking a box at the time of abstract submission and providing verification of their status. Doctoral candidates, postdoctoral fellows, and residents are included in the competition.
The abstracts undergo a first round of review (prejudging) before the AACC Annual Meeting. Scores are assigned based on scientific merit, originality, and quality of writing. The trainees who receive the four highest scores in this phase are asked to present their work in the very prestigious oral contest on Monday afternoon at the AACC Annual Meeting. During the oral competition, a panel of 4 judges rates the talks on the basis of scientific content, originality/novelty, and presentation (including slide appearance, verbal presentation, style, and clarity). Four awards are given: a $1000 first place award, a $500 second place award, and 2 $400 honorable mention awards.
The remaining abstracts are presented as posters in a competition that follows the oral presentations. Three judges evaluate each poster individually in timed judging rounds. Trainee presenters are evaluated on their ability to convey their work concisely and are scored on scientific merit and the oral and visual presentation of the poster. The prejudging scores account for 50% of the final score, and the onsite score counts toward the remaining 50% of the final score. Awards for first place ($300), second place ($200), and two honorable mentions ($100 each) are given for the top 4 posters. The oral and poster awards are presented at a reception on Monday evening, generously hosted by the American Board of Clinical Chemistry (ABCC) and the Society for Young Clinical Laboratorians.
This year we had an outstanding selection of oral presentations on a broad range of topics, including (a) “A Novel LC-MS/MS Method for the Quantification of Abiraterone Metabolites in Patients with Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer: Innovation of Separation of Diastereoisomers without Using a Chiral Column” by M. Alyamani of Cleveland State University; (b) “Smartphones Can Monitor Medical Center Pneumatic Tube System Parameters” by G.R. Mullins of the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA; (c) “Clinical Utility of Aldosterone, Renin Mass, and the Aldosterone/Renin Mass Ratio for the Work Up of Suspected Primary Aldosteronism” by J.R. Wiencek of Vanderbilt University School of Medicine; and (d) “Drug Monitoring of Methotrexate in Breast Milk: Understanding Transport from Cells to Humans” by S.R. Delaney of the University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada.
Elizabeth Frank and I have been overseeing the poster competition for many years and view it as one of the most rewarding activities that comes with being involved with AACC. A new interactive feature has been added to the student poster contest. This year, the oral competition will also have a “People's Choice Award” that will be given to the student voted as having the best presentation using an audience participation electronic voting system. This is the first year for this award, and we hope it will be a fun way to involve attendees.
If you have participated in the student poster contest in years past, we know you'll be back again. If you or your trainees haven't engaged in this exciting, energetic event, mark your calendars for Monday, August 1, 2016, from 1 PM to 3:15 PM, and join us. Your AACC meeting experience will be enriched by both the science presented and the chance to productively interact with future colleagues.
Authors' Disclosures or Potential Conflicts of Interest: No authors declared any potential conflicts of interest.
- Received May 31, 2016.
- Accepted June 2, 2016.
- © 2016 by American Association for Clinical Chemistry