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The 23rd Annual Pi Alpha Xi Photography Contest (Open to All)

Digital Entries must be submitted by June 30, 2019 - Click here to purchase entry ticket or pay when you register for the conference.

Participate in the 2019 Photography Contest sponsored by Pi Alpha Xi. All horticulture-related subjects and commodities are welcome, including fruits, vegetables, flowers, all plant habits, landscapes, production situations, and traditional horticultural settings.  Contestants do not need to be members of PAX to participate. Entries will be on display at the ASHS Annual Conference and winners will be recognized.

Competition Notes

  • Once registration is received, you will receive information on how to upload your photograph(s).
  • Price is $10 per entry with a maximum of 16 entries/person (maximum 2 per category).
  • All entries must have a TITLE and CAPTION or they will not be considered by the judges.
  • In the interest of judging fair comparisons, it is recommended that photos have a minimum resolution of 1024 x 768 and not exceed 2056 x 1532.
  • Judging will be blind and all images will be randomized within the judging sequence.

Prizes will be awarded in each category.

Download Rules and Information about Open Photography Contest

Download the Model Release Form

Download "Creating a Better Image: An Introduction to Selected Rules of Composition"

Register for the competition

Early Career Competition

The Early Career Competition has been developed for new faculty and professionals to communicate the impact of their extension, research, teaching, and other scholarly activities. The purpose of this competition is to provide a platform for new scholars to advance their work and, reputation in addition to helping facilitate peer-reviewed extension, teaching, and/or research from a wide range of horticultural professionals.

This opportunity is available to postdocs, early career faculty (tenure-track assistant professors, non-tenure track faculty within the first 5 years of service at their current position), and industry and governmental professionals (within the first 5 years of service at their current position).

Participants must sign up for this competition when they register for the conference. Each participant will be required to submit an expanded 1000-word abstract detailing and explaining their entire program and how their research, teaching, extension and/or scholarly activities interact.   This is separate from abstracts submitted to the ASHS conference for poster or oral presentation. The participant also needs to provide a biographical summary not to exceed 100 words.

The top four applications will be selected and scheduled for presentations during a 2-hour block at the ASHS Annual Conference.  Each applicant will have 20 minutes to present their program. The applications will be judged by the Member at Large and a volunteer committee based on the following criteria:

  • Applicants must be a member of ASHS
  • Scholarly Content: Professional work is original, relevant and presented clearly.
  • Writing Style: Writing is concise, informative, effectively conveys knowledge, and provides relevant conclusions. The story about the applicant’s impact is clear.
  • Importance to Horticulture: The value and contribution to the horticultural science profession is substantiated.

The competition is scheduled on Wednesday, July 24, 2019.

The first place presenter will be announced during the ASHS annual business meeting and receive a publication fee waiver for the ASHS journal that best fits the audience for their work. This should be a full paper and will be subject to peer review. Their paper must be submitted for publication within one calendar year of the competition in which they won (i.e. the 2018 winner must submit their paper prior to the start of the 2019 Annual Conference).

Application deadline is April 1, 2019. Submit your application here.

For questions, please contact Negar Mahdavian at, 703-836-4606 ext 107.

Scholars Ignite (Three Minute Talk/Lightening Talks Competition)

ASHS will host the annual competition called "Scholars Ignite” for graduate students to share their discoveries and creations to a diverse, non-specialist audience. The Graduate Student Activities Committee hosts the competition to allow graduate students a fun and exciting way to communicate the impact of their research projects and scholarly activities.  This competition will take place on Wednesday, July 24, 2019, 6-9 p.m.

Graduate students make compelling presentations in three minutes using no more than one single PowerPoint slide or visual aid. The purpose of the presentation is to generate awareness, stimulate thought, and inspire attendees to appreciate the breadth and depth of horticultural research and scholarly activities. Graduate students will meet other students and scientists, learn about an array of research topics and other creative and scholarly activities across ASHS, and most importantly have fun!

To hear an excellent example of a Scholars Ignite presentation, Click Here.

The competition is designed similar to other popular three to five minute thesis and research presentation events (e.g. Three minute thesis, ‘Ignite’ or Scholars’ Studio) occurring around the globe, and done especially well in Australia, British Columbia, and the University of Washington.

The goal of this event is to stir up interest and attention amongst the society’s membership around graduate student learning, research, discovery, and creativity. Moreover, the event fosters an opportunity for ASHS members to obtain "stories” to share via "YouTube” and for the web, and to brag about its graduate student membership and their accomplishments. 

Winners will receive a cash award of $500, $250, and $100 for the top three places, respectively.

Students must indicate their interest in the competition at the time of registration for the ASHS conference and submit their slide by the deadline of July 1st. 

Applicants can use only one single Presentation Slide and one introductory Transition Slide (using a template provided) The Transition Slide must follow the format of the template and include Title of Presentation (Arial 44), Student’s Name (Arial 32 bold), Advisor(s) Name (Arial 28) and Institution’s Name (Arial 28). The Presentation Slide must be one single page without any animation. Students may use any color, background or font for their Presentation Slide.

Click here for Scholars Ignite Template.

Submit application.

For questions, please contact Negar Mahdavian at, 703-836-4606 ext 107.


Graduate Student Poster Competition

Graduate students presenting posters at the conference are eligible to participate in the Graduate Student Poster Competition. Students gain experience in concisely presenting their results to interested faculty judges. 

You must enter the competition at the time of your abstract submission and present your poster twice – once during your regularly scheduled presentation time, Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday and once during the competition time, Tuesday, July 23, 2019, 4:30 - 6 p.m. 

The competition is divided between MS and PhD students. Only one poster submission can be entered in the competition by an author. If multiple abstracts are submitted into the competition, the first submission will be the poster that is scheduled into the competition.

All abstract and registration fees must be paid by the appropriate deadlines or your abstract will be removed from the program and the competition. Please note that if you do not present your paper during the regularly scheduled program, your abstract will not be published in the on-line supplement of HortScience.

Competition winners in each graduate level program (MS and PhD) will each receive monetary prizes ($300 first; $200 second; $100 third) and the winners names and abstracts will be posted to the ASHS web site and highlighted in the ASHS Newsletter.


Judging Guidelines and Criteria for Graduate Student Poster Competition

Please be aware that the judges will arrive at your poster sometime during the competition hours. Please remain close to your poster so that you can begin your poster presentation quickly after the committee arrives.

If you are not at your poster, the judges will skip your poster and it will not be judged. There are no exceptions.

Reminder! The poster competition is separate and in addition to the scheduled poster session based on research area or commodity group. 

Abstracts will be judged prior to the convention and these points will be carried through and added to the scores from the judging that takes place during the conference.

A poster should stand on its own merit, but the judges will also be visiting with each student to evaluate the student's enthusiasm for their study and their competence in the subject area.

There may be more than one set of judges, so don’t worry if a group of judges passes by your poster during the competition period.

Once the judges arrive at your poster, you should be prepared to discuss the overall focus of the study, novel methods, results and conclusions. Please allow time for questions from the judges.

Students will be given a total of six minutes to present their poster. We suggest you give a four or five minute presentation and allow one to two minutes for questions. After six minutes, the judges will move to the next poster. 

Only one poster may be submitted to the competition per presenter.

The winners are announced at the ASHS Presidential Address and Annual Business Meeting, during the conference.


Judging Criteria

Abstracts will be judged prior to the convention and these points will be carried through and added to the scores from the judging that takes place during the conference.

A poster should stand on its own merit, but the judges will also be visiting with each student to evaluate the student's enthusiasm for their study and their competence in the subject area.

The judging criteria will be as follows:

Abstract (points awarded prior to the conference)
• Originality/Merit - 15 points
• Quality of writing - 10 points

Poster and presentation (points awarded during judging at the conference)
• Appearance - 20 points
• Organization - 20 points
• Knowledge/Presentation - 35 points


Controlled Environment Oral Competition for Graduate and Undergraduate Students

The ASHS Growth Chambers and Controlled Environments Professional Group is providing a cash award and a certificate for the three best student oral presentations related to controlled environment research. 
If your research takes place in a greenhouse, growth chamber, high tunnel or other type of protected environment, we invite you to be a part of this competition! The competition will take place at the American Society for Horticultural Science Annual Conference, July 22-25, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  

The winning presentations must, to the extent possible, demonstrate the use of environmental reporting guidelines as defined in "Guidelines for Measuring and Reporting Environmental Parameters for Plant Experiments in Controlled Environments”. Abstracts must clearly refer to the controlled environment used. Additional criteria include quality of the abstract, creativity, appropriateness of controlled environment use, and quality of presentation.

To be eligible, you must submit your abstract to the Growth Chambers and Controlled Environments category shown on the ASHS Annual Conference oral abstract submission page, then just click the box saying that you want to be included in the CE oral competition.


Floriculture Oral Competition for Graduate and Undergraduate Students 


The ASHS Floriculture Working Group (FLOR) is holding an oral presentation competition providing cash awards and certificates for the best student oral presentations related to floriculture. This year’s awards are sponsored by the DC Kiplinger Floriculture Endowment at the Ohio State University.

If you research floriculture crops, from propagation to postharvest, we invite you to join the competition and share your work. It must be clear in your abstract that your research focuses on floriculture crops. Judging criteria will include the quality and creativity of the abstract, research, and presentation.

To be eligible, you must submit your abstract to the Floriculture category shown on the ASHS Annual Conference oral abstract submission page and click the box saying that you want to be included in the FLOR oral competition.

Both graduate and undergraduate students are encouraged to participate.


Undergraduate Student Competitions:

Plant Identification Contest & Scavenger Hunt

The 2019 ASHS Conference in Las Vegas, NV will hold an undergraduate Plant Identification Contest, accompanied by a Scavenger Hunt in and around the conference hotel.  The Contest is a re-tooled version of the ID Contest previously held.  This year’s Contest will cover a regionally-specific plant list, allowing students from all over the U.S. and the world to truly engage the beautiful Southwest and its plant palette. 

An Undergraduate Student Introductory session will be held on Monday, July 22nd where students will be introduced to new Contest rules, followed by a plant-walk where students will be instructed on the ID of the plant material on this year’s list.  Students will then compete in a 24 hour Scavenger Hunt on their own, that will test their plant knowledge, and will also encourage their appreciation of the Las Vegas area.  Students’ results from the Scavenger Hunt will be incorporated into their overall Contest score, encouraging full participation throughout the week. Scavenger Hunt must be completed by 4 p.m. on Tuesday, July 23rd. The Plant ID Contest will be on Wednesday, July 24th. 

All undergraduate students are encouraged to participate in the undergraduate Plant ID Competition.  It will introduce students to new plants, new ideas and new friends. 

To plan for the contest, students can study the following:

Flower list

Woody Plant List


Undergraduate Oral and Poster Competitions

By entering an abstract in the online system and indicating that you are an undergraduate student, you will automatically be included in the appropriate undergraduate competition (i.e. abstracts submitted in the oral online submission site will be included in the undergraduate oral competition and abstracts submitted in the poster online system will be included in the undergraduate poster competition). 

Only the author who presents the paper is eligible for the award. You may only enter one competition-Undergraduate Oral Competition or Undergraduate Poster Competition. A competition winner in each category, Oral and Poster, will receive monetary awards ($300 per winner for each category).

Competition times will be announced in late April.




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