FYRE! The First Year Research Experience

The Undergraduate Research Program invites all students who wish to present first-year academic work to participate in The First-Year Research Experience (FYRE).

FYRE offers opportunities for students to showcase their best inquiry or research-based projects completed in any 1000-level course: RHET 1010, RHET 1020, Pathways 1, Pathways 2, Scientific Thinking, Philosophical Thinking, Seminar 1023, Seminar 1099, Seminar 1110, or any other 1000-level course.

Research and other forms of project work that demonstrate critical analysis and sound argument will be considered, on a competitive basis, for the FYRE activities below:

  • FYRE Panels for oral presentation or FYRE research posters presented in the annual EURECA conference. For guidelines, refer to EURECA 
  • FYRE Corner for papers completed in first-year courses and submitted for publication in the undergraduate research journal. For guidelines, refer to URJe
  • FYRE Wall poster competition is held at the end of each semester. The winners have their posters mounted on the walls of the Core Curriculum hallway and the Rhetoric and Composition Department and win a financial award of EGP 1,000.

For guidelines, refer to the section below:

FYRE Wall Poster Competition Guidelines and Application Form

To participate in the FYRE Wall Poster competition, fill out this application form.

  • An academic poster is a visual presentation of your project. Posters are a common medium of project display in the academic community.  

    An Effective Poster

    • Presents the project in a logically-organized way, reading from the top-left to the bottom-right corner of the poster
    • Utilizes the white space well so that it is not over-crowded nor underutilized
    • Employs both text and graphics (figures, pictures, graphs, and photos) to present the message in a balanced and visually-appealing manner
    • Uses large enough font-size to be read easily at a distance
    • Presents the information concisely, employing bullet points and selecting only the key pieces of information
    • Is complete and self-explanatory so that a viewer would understand the poster, even in the absence of a presenter
  • Fall semester: December 31
    Spring semester: May 31

  • Content

    • A well-articulated, interesting topic that addresses a complex issue (not a cliché topic)
    • Key background literature/theory that contextualizes and grounds the topic within the current state of knowledge on the topic
    • Appropriateness of method to investigate the topic
    • Persuasive, logically-organized argument
    • Logical, numerical, or illustrative support, checked for accuracy, currency, and relevance
    • A sound conclusion that offers original insight or contribution to the field (not one already known or based on author assumptions)
    • Citation of sources - ideas, graphics, and photos - both in-text and in a list of references (may insert a QR code for References mentioned in-text on the poster)


    The organization/sections of the poster may vary depending on the disciplinary area. The following are suggested sub-sections for the poster, classified by the writing genre. Feel free to re-label or modify the sections, as appropriate to your message.

    A poster on science or social science research may be, but not limited to, organized into:

    • Research question
    • Key studies in the literature (3-4 point summary)
    • Theoretical background
    • Method
    • Results
    • Analysis and discussion 
    • Conclusion/contribution, implications, future directions
    • References

    A poster on humanities research may be, but not limited to, organized into:

    • Research question/thesis
    • Key studies in the literature (3-4 point summary)
    • The conceptual or theoretical framework
    • Approach 
    • Main points of logical argument
    • Conclusion/contribution, significance, future directions
    • References

    A poster presenting other forms of writing may align the poster subheadings with the main ideas of the message.

    Layout and Format

    • Divide the material into clear text boxes on the poster
    • Use at least 18-point type in the body of your poster, and at least 40-point for the title
    • Size the poster for a 1-meter by the 1-meter display board
    • Spell out acronyms if used; replace technical jargon that is not defined
    • Check accuracy of spelling, capitalization, punctuation, and citation
    • Label and accompany tables or charts with bullets explaining major findings
    • Use visuals only to support your argument, not for cosmetic effect
    • Use high-quality visuals that are not blurred, skewed, or stretched
    • Avoid watermark backgrounds and use complementary colors so that your text is clear
    • Balance the white space and text so that the reader is comfortable

    Oral Presentation

    • A concise presentation focusing on the main points
    • Clear articulation and voice modulation
    • Logical sequencing and coherence of ideas
    • Reference to sources used
    • Engaged interaction with the audience
    • Well-supported responses to questions
  • Use the following PowerPoint Poster Poster templates with the Academy of Liberal Arts (ALA) logo and border for your posterFeel free to change the text box sizes and headings, as appropriate to your presentation.

    You may re-size, reposition or re-label the text boxes, but you have to use the template border and The American University in Cairo (AUC) and Academy of Liberal Arts nameplates.

  • You can create a poster easily using PowerPoint. Here are the instructions: 

    1. Set the dimensions for your PowerPoint poster in the following way:
      1. Go to the design
      2. Select slide size
      3. Select custom slide size, then insert the width and height dimensions (in inches) for your poster (1 meter = 39.37 inches)
      4. Keep the number of slides as one
    2. Add text and visual content to your poster, using the guidelines above
    3. Save your poster (save as PDF if you are printing)

    Useful Resources

    • Here is a Youtube video that teaches you how to create a poster in PowerPoint: (The templates above make the design process easier for you because the size is already adjusted and the logo and border inserted)
    • Forbes presents an alternative layout for the Research Poster competition in this video
      • Video reference: Morrison, M. (2019). How to create a better research poster in less time. In Eva Amson (2019). A Graphic Design Revolution For Scientific Conference Posters. Forbes Media LLC. Retrieved on October 20, 2019
    • Here is another video tutorial on how to record and insert an audio presentation into PowerPoint
  • Students who win the competition will print their finished posters at their own expense and submit it to the department for mounting on the walls.

    • Posters are evaluated using the criteria above
    • Only posters submitted on the application form will be evaluated
    • Posters are evaluated by a minimum of two faculty members from the Freshman Program.
    • Faculty members whose students are competing cannot serve on the evaluation committee
    • Winning candidates are announced only during the end-of-semester poster presentation and awards event if held on campus. If the competition is held online, winners will be notified and invited to the ALA Honors Award Ceremony during spring semester.
    • If the competition is held on campus, candidates who do not attend the end-of-semester poster presentation and awards event cannot be awarded
    • Students who participate in the poster presentation event may document the competition on the co-curricular transcript
  • Each semester, it will be announced whether the competition will be held on campus or virtually.

    If held on campus, all students competing for the FYRE Wall Competition are expected to present their posters at the end-of-semester Poster Presentation and Awards Event. Students display and present their posters to a walking public audience, repeating the presentation as necessary. Students should time their presentation for a maximum of three minutes. Students who do not present their work cannot be awarded.

    In the event that a campus event cannot be held, the poster event will be organized as a digital exhibition, using an online platform, such as Eventtus.  The student will insert an ‘audio’ presentation on the poster, using the PowerPoint ‘insert audio’ feature, as in the Youtube tutorial above.

    The end-of-semester poster presentation and awards event is co-organized by the Undergraduate Research Program and the Department of Rhetoric and Composition.

Contact Information

Susanne Rizzo
Undergraduate Research Program