I feel like I’m in a bit of an awkward position here at the BPS meeting. I’m a 5th year PhD, hoping to graduate soon, but haven’t been to a conference before. It’s a weird junction of looking towards what’s next, while still being a newcomer on to the scene. Do you know how strange it is to have absolutely no idea how you should have planned for this meeting, yet know you’re one of the senior students there?
Now, I think normally people towards the end of a phase are looking for scientific ideas for the next step, and so they’re swamped with technical talks and exciting new science. I will admit, I missed a lot of really cool science this weekend. I came to BPS16 with the intentions of taking advantage of the Career Center and nontechnical talks to the best of my ability. I’m looking to jump in to the science writing/communications world and so these events where most tantalizing to me. I am going to hit up the time-resolved crystallography tomorrow morning though, I’ll probably do some reporting on that.
I didn’t get to see everything I wanted (anyone check out the GMO panel??), but did see quite a bit. Here’s some of it:
I’ve learned a lot about how to network with people you have little connection with, and everyone makes it sound so easy! To sum it up though, don’t be afraid to cold call and use whatever small connection you have, even if it’s just your alma mater. Most people will give you 10 minutes of their time. Also, LinkedIn seems to be the place where recruiters look the most, so for all of you slacker grad students–myself included–get on it! LinkedIn is quickly becoming a necessary complement to your resume.
I’ve had a ducky time tweeting with people from the conference! It’s helped me feel connected to the people around me, and has reminded me to not miss a few important events. On twitter, I’ve made some connections with editors from journals I’d never heard of. I live tweeted a presentation from the spitfire Alaina G. Levine, who has been a star at the Career Center this weekend. Another live tweeting session from the Reproducibility and Transparency panel that our blogger reba covered here. One of my posters even got a bird on it! (If you haven’t see @Letsputabirdonit, you should check them out). The #bps16 tag has been full of pictures from people’s posters, balloons, and notifications of notable technical talks. Overall, I’m so happy I have been participating in the twitterverse of #bps16.
Tonight I went to a casual “networking for nerds event”, and met some really fantastic students and post docs. It seems that students are thinking about science communications much more than I expected. The group I was talking with was asking me for info on how I managed to become a blogger here! Honestly, it was the tiny check box at registration. I checked it. I don’t know. But, I’m very excited to follow up with these new colleagues and see if we can’t help each other with experience and insight in to this spin on science. Maybe someone is interested in collaborating on a blog?