Travel, Work and Fun: Bio-Med Conferences

One of the best things about graduate school (in my opinion) is the conferences. I get to travel to different conferences in different locations and present my research to fellow graduate students and faculty. It's a very good way to receive feedback and questions that I haven't thought about yet. Sometimes, as a graduate student, I can get very subjective about my research and going to these conferences helps me regain objectivity. Since it's just me working on it day in day out, I sometimes overlook something crucial like a control group or a treatment group or even a minor error of some sort and by presenting my work to others, they can easily see the things that I might have miss, thereby making my project stronger.

Conference in Phoenix AZ . 2009

 Another reason attending conferences is good is because I get to see other students and colleagues, which reminds me that there are other people out there doing something similar to what I do. Someone using the same methods as you to solve different problems. Or someone asking the same question as you are in a different organ or model organism. Networking is another crucial reason to attend conferences as a graduate student. In fact, I got to know someone (faculty) in the graduate program I am currently in through networking at a conference few years back. The program director of the program I was interested in was at the conference, we met and talked. Turned out he was an alma mater of the undergrad college I was in at the time. Networking puts me in touch with faculty, potential mentors and potential employers in both academe and industry.

At the closing banquet at the 2008 ABRCMS conference in Orlando, Fl

In addition to all these, conferences are typically paid for. Well, so far for me, all my conferences have been either paid for upfront or reimbursed after attendance. Which for me is like icing on a cake. So I've attended different conferences every year since when I started in 2008, except for my entry year into graduate school in 2010.

Going to conferences never feels like work because:

1. I get to travel,
2. I get constructive review of my research and
3. I get to network.

So where am I going off to in the next couple of months:

Newport, RI. The New England Society of Toxicology

Raleigh, NC. Superfund Research Program

San Jose, CA. Annual Biomedical Conference for Minority Students

There are also a couple of conferences coming up next year.

So excited!


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