Conference prep: Making a list, checking it.... obsessively

Conference prep: Making a list, checking it.... obsessively

Jan. 24, 2014

Jackie Hulina was a master's student in the Michigan State University's Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability. 

As the countdown begins, the preparation heats up.  Destination: Kansas City, MO.

After several hours of checking travel confirmation emails and schedules, I’ve officially finished making an exceptionally detailed travel itinerary for the 75th Annual Midwest Fish and Wildlife Conference.  Admittedly, I’m a bit anal retentive about details, but a good place to start when you are new to something is to be prepared. 

On Jan. 29, I’ll be giving a presentation entitled “Conserving Migratory Species: Telecoupling and Kirtland’s Warblers” as part of the session on bird conservation and management.

I’ve never been one to worry about public speaking.  I am, however, worried about how I’m possibly going to choose which activities to do the rest of the time. There’s presentations, poster sessions, multiple categories of symposia, career fairs, social events…. See for yourself – here’s a screenshot of a slice ofConference schedule the choices just for presentations!

This can easily become overwhelming, so it’s important to keep in mind: what’s my purpose in going?

First, I’m sharing information about the idea of telecoupling with people who may use it.  Imagine my blog in PowerPoint form. 

Second, this is a great opportunity to connect with wildlife professionals who may become future employers.  It’s a time to explore potential career options, whether that means practicing an interview or asking people about the pros/cons of their jobs.

Since this will be my first conference, I have a lot of questions.  What presentations will be the most relevant to my research? How should I introduce myself to others?  What kind of food will they have (I’m Italian)?

While I’ve been sorting through abstracts to make a detailed plan for each day, refining my presentation, and practicing my 30-second introduction, it’s still important to be open to a bit of spontaneity.  After all, you never know who you’re going to meet and what opportunities may be in store.

See you in a week!



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