Submitting the Paper

  • Submit a .pdf copy of your comps (written report instructions) by the last day of classes during winter term. We’ll distribute directions during winter term.
  • Submit two final, archival paper copies of your comps to the Geology administrative assistant two weeks after your talk. They will be bound and put in the Gould Library and the College Archives.
  • The archival paper copies have a few special requirements:
    • pages of text and line drawings need to be printed using the above guidelines on good quality, acid-free bond paper; see Jonathon for paper.
    • Images or figures with color must be laser printed. They may need to be printed onto special image-quality paper because image-quality paper is usually smoother or glossier and makes the images more legible.
    • Pages with pictures must be printed so that the picture is clear and has good color; either color laser printing or color Xeroxing is acceptable for the pages with color. Some images may need to be laser-printed or Xeroxed onto glossy or special photo-quality paper to make them legible. If you have any questions about your paper, please speak with Jonathon.
  • Submit a completed copyright form with your paper copies to Tami.
  • At the same time you submit the archival paper copies, send an updated .pdf file to Tami. If you have an Endnote library file, please turn it in along with your .pdf file using a similar naming convention. We use these files to track library usage.

Poster Advertising Your Talk

One week before your talk you will put up a poster. You can prepare your poster in Adobe Illustrator or PowerPoint and print it on campus through Print Services. See Jonathon for department code which you will need to print. Like your paper, your poster should have sections with titles, e.g. "results", "discussion", etc. Posters on display will give you a range of ideas. Posters convey most information visually; thus, include the maps, diagrams, and graphs that effectively show your project location and results. Text associated with these illustrations should be limited to captions. Your poster should also include:

  • Title of your comps
  • Your name and and that of your advisor(s); in most cases your advisor is not a co-author
  • Abstract (optional)
  • Location map if appropriate
  • Two or three important figures, maps, or other illustrations showing your results
  • Conclusions

The poster should be 24 by 32 inches, landscape style. A white background is perfectly appropriate.  It does not need to be elaborate, but it should help publicize and encourage attendance at your talk. Posters remain on display thru graduation, alumni reunion and until they are replaced by the next years' posters. Parents, alumni and prospective students enjoy reading about geology comps projects. Jonathon will help you display it in one of the cases in the ground-floor corridor.

Painted Canyon 2008

The Talk

Comps talks are given on the Saturday of second week during spring term in Olin 149. A good place to practice your talk is in M&D LL35.

Guidelines for PowerPoint Presentations

PowerPoint is a terrific tool for presenting your comps results in a talk, but there are some things to watch out for. To get started on the basics of assembling a PowerPoint presentation, go to this page by Sean Fox about getting started with PowerPoint.

Things to be careful of in PowerPoint presentations in Olin 149:

  • The text needs to be a simple, clear font like Arial or Helvetica, and large enough so it can be read from the back of the room. The rule of thumb is the smallest text should be 3% the height of the total height of the viewing area on the screen.
  • Don't try to cram two photos or graphs into the same screen - they get too small for the people in the back of the room to see the detail.
  • Be careful with the background colors - if the color darkness of the text is too close to that of the background, people will be trying to figure out what it says rather than listening to what you're saying. Use light on dark or dark on light, never dark on dark or light on light.
  • Special effects are acceptable - to a point. Use sparingly the gimmicks such as text sliding on and off the screen and fancy dissolving screens. No one would miss them if you didn't use them at all.
  • The picture files should be smaller than 1 megabyte in size. PowerPoint loads your whole show at the outset and keeps it in memory, so the total bulk of your slides must be less than the memory allocation for the PowerPoint program (usually around 20 megs). Resetting the memory allocation for PowerPoint can increase this limit, but demanding more memory than is available on the computer is a sure way to cause crashes. It's best to have the slides (including pictures) smaller than 200K. Using jpeg format facilitates this.

The refreshments for the talks are provided by the people who gave their talks the previous week. If you serve messy food (apple crisp, for example) remember to bring paper plates and plastic spoons too.

Final Steps

Most students will want to have their comps .pdf file available for download from the Geology Department web site after they graduate along with the papers placed in a book at Gould Library. The files are useful when applying for jobs and grad schools and for access by collaborators.

Your project includes the proper disposition of lab materials:

  • Clean your equipment and lab space.
  • Samples should be properly saved or removed from the labs.
  • Delete comps files from department computer hard disks.
  • Some of the thin sections, rocks, fossils, and other materials used for your project now belong to the Geology Department. You should discuss with your advisor which materials to leave. Jonathon will help you to find an appropriate way to label and store them in our collections. You must complete this process by the time you turn in the final copies of your report.

Presenting at Professional Meetings

Many students who have completed research in geology can and should present their results at professional meetings of the Geological Society of America (both annual and sectional meeting), the American Geophysical Union, and other organizations. We strongly encourage students to present their work. Any faculty member can help provide information on abstract deadlines and registration procedures.

In addition to presenting a paper, these meetings have great value to hear recent research results, to make contacts with potential graduate schools, to meet prominent scientists, and to learn about employment opportunities. These opportunities must be balanced against obligations on campus for class work and extracurricular activities. Your academic adviser is a person who can help you sort out these conflicting values.

See the Geology Department's Guidelines for Student Support for Professional Meetings.