Let me first briefly introduce myself, my name is Matt Webber and I’m a first year graduate student at The Ohio State University. My first BPS annual meeting was in 2009 in Boston when I was still an undergraduate at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. This was the experience that made me want to go to graduate school. Before then I always enjoyed work that I had done in labs but was never fully entranced by it. But the experience of going to such a large meeting of people, all of whom were very passionate about their corner of science, and thus being able to find my own corner of science, was incredible.
Coming from a physics background I next spent the next 2.5 years in a pure biology lab as a technician but the whole time I had the idea of applying to grad school in the back of my head. I was building my microscopy resume and I knew that the experience was going to be super helpful, and it was; seeing a large lab, before I had only been exposed to smaller labs as an undergraduate, and seeing all the tiny differences that makes was great. Since I got to grad school this past fall I knew that I was going to try to go back to the BPS annual meeting at every possible opportunity.
Once I found out that my friend Julia was going to present a poster this year, and that it was in Philadelphia where another friend of mine is in school, I was determined to make it. I looked in every nook and cranny for money from OSU, found some, and here I am! I am very excited to be blogging while at this conference and sharing with everyone the fantastic things that I am able to see while here (I’ve already had two to three schedule conflicts where there are multiple presentations I want to see at the same time) but today the first thing I want to share is food related. As someone back at OSU told me when I asked what was a must do while in Philadelphia, “It’s all about the food.” This afternoon I made the very short hop over to the Reading Terminal Market just across the street from the convention center and I was blown away. I’ve never been in such an eclectic food environment in my life! I love that not only can you buy almost any kind of food to eat right there with you, but it’s also an actual marketplace with produce and meat and seafood and gourmet olive oils and vinegar and some on tap! When I walked in it made me feel like this is what a old english town market would have looked like. People making all kinds of food and selling everything, the only thing missing was a jousting competition 🙂 This is a must stop for everyone at the conference and I pretty sure you will find me there every day trying a new place for lunch. Happy eating!