The lab went to Tampa, FL, to present at the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology conference from the 3rd to the 7th of January 2019. By the lab I mean me presenting Zoe’s research on the impacts of limb loss and regeneration on crayfish reproductive success (i.e., fitness). The abstract below didn’t end up doing justice to the talk per se since I modified a little bit what I talked about and ended up presenting some of the behavioral data of Stephanie and Makayla as well. Nonetheless, I had a blast at this great conference.
For starters, SICB student support is quite amazing. I was one of the students workers (almost all of the 800 students at the conference were) and they covered my hotel room in exchange of two hours of my time during the conference … pretty sweet deal when you realized the room was at the Embassy suites hotel across the street from the convention center and was $945 for the full stay. We’re talking of $472.5/h pay! I’m not sure I’ll be pay that way before a long time.
Second, the people attending the conference are really sweet. I was able to request a mentor for the conference (it was my first SICB after all) and got an amazing one who introduced me to plenty of people that I needed to talk to for my job search (more on that later). At any rate, thanks a bunch Daniel, we had a great time in Tampa Niko and I in no small part thanks to you!
Bottom line, if you ever go to a conference alone as I did twice already, make sure to find support there in the form of a mentor if available or by talking to plenty of people (tough for introverts I know). One way I reduce the stress beforehand was by prepping the conference ahead of time and planning my schedule before getting to Tampa (see below). On my way there all I needed to do was to transfer the schedule I made on paper to the phone app for convenience (optional) and I was good to go. On the other hand, you might want to consider scouting the attendee/speaker list online and contacting anybody you want to meet ahead of time. You would be surprised how nice people are about meeting you at conferences, that’s why they are going there most of time! They’re looking for undergraduate or graduate students to work in their labs or even post-docs. The job bulletin board was littered with job offer at all levels (not so much at professor level though).
Well, that’s it for this unusual blog post, nothing teaching related … WAIT … as you can see on the schedule I went to two sessions on teaching during the conference! I have to be honest, it was great to see that much enthusiasm for teaching at a major conference like this one. Indeed, I’ve learned a lot about vlogging one’s science summer class, organizing a field only ecology semester long class, the Tiny Earth program, and the CURE design! I’ve got a lot to reflect upon and integrate into my own teaching.
Finally, what to say about the last plenary speaker?! It was the Moore Lecture meant to bring new teaching perspective to SICB (more info here) and this time it was Dr. Kevin Padian from UC Berkeley. He didn’t use any slide and only told us the tale of the Intelligent Design trial … bold move … turn out it was amazing!