Tag Archives: conferences

All My Rowdy Friends Go Conferencing With Me

All My Rowdy Friends Go Conferencing With Me {New Faculty}

I knew it! All this time I’d been waiting….attending….observing….being creepy….and now it’s happened. My friends and academia are in a “relationship” and my friends are my conference buddies and vice versa. It was only a matter of time really. The longer you spend in a field, the more people you meet. The more people you meet, the more people you’re bound to run in over and over again until out of sheer force of introvert awkwardness, you start a conversation.

My good friend from undergrad and I took similar yet different paths through life and low and behold, she’s on faculty too. In her first year, her university sent her to the same conference that a lot of my colleagues and I are attending. Instead of riding in the collective van, she and I rode down together to have a fun and networking-laden conference. It was a great time, but let’s not forget, it’s still four solid days of socializing non-stop with each other and all of the folks at the conference. Being the good adults that we are, we made it clear it was ok to be quiet.

Overall, it’s been really  nice seeing and getting to know folks in my profession over the last year. Not only do I have a better handle on what’s going on in our profession, but I have a better idea of some of the players at the table. These things give me a better idea as to what kind of research folks are doing and what kind of research I want to be doing. I haven’t got my mind wrapped around all of the things yet, but as the two major conferences for my field are now wrapped up, it’s time to marinate on some of those things and begin to formulate a plan for my professional road.

Conferences are a great way to connect with old friends, meet new ones, share meals at amazing places you can’t find where you live, and network for days. It’s always cool to run into people from your old alma mater(s) and catch up about what’s happening in and outside of work time. It’s fun for me now to banter with grad students (especially the ones that thing they’re REALLY smart) and you can spot them a mile away, which is sort of adorable in an “aawwww, there’s a baby fawn” kind of way.

One of my undergraduate researchers attended to present her work as well, it was her last hurrah with me and she’s off to grad school in a few weeks. It was really nice to see her, spend some time with her, and stand back and have a “super proud” advising moment as she talked the talk with faculty  about her research. **sniff, sniff**

Conferences can be as good as you make them. The end. Attend the sessions, figure out what interests you, and go forth and conference!

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Conference Submissions: Stop, Collaborate, & Listen

Submission season, it’s like road construction in that it never seems to end! I’ve been working on several deadlines lately, pumping out the writing, contributing to things, being a good colleague and mentor, editing like a maniac, and clicking submit with hours, days, and sometimes minutes to spare. Ah….submissions.

Submission season got me thinking about being a good collaborator on interdiscplinary work and how we can manage it. The academy says “you must/should do this” but it’s not always so smooth looking of a process. It’s more like watching sausage get made in most cases, particarly on long research projects. Submissions are a bit different though.

The clock ticks more rapidly.

You have to decide which data to disseminate, what will catch a reviewers eye.

Be mindful not to double dip on that data.

Who to submit with? Did you forget someone?

What role do you take in all of it?

As a grad student or a younger faculty member, it can be daunting to saddle up your horse and get on with submissions. It can be made easier, albeit more pleasant, of an experience if you look after yourself and openly communicate.

  • Who’s doing what?
  • Who’s responsible for final edits?
  • Who’s submitting? Receiving emails, etc….keeping track of it.
  • What’s the time frame? I was editing a paper for a grad student at 10:30 p.m. for an 11:59 p.m. submission. RUDE. The grad student was not on top of it.
  • Who’s on the author list? What are they contributing? Are you leaving anyone out?

There’s a lot of moving parts when you’re trying to submit on a deadline. The best way: get ahead of it early. But since academics seem to be notoriously bad at that, keeping a checksheet or some type of organizer around isn’t a bad idea.

Stop. Collaborate and Listen.

It’s submission time!

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Knowing All the People

Knowing All the People | New Faculty


Sometimes when I’m talking to my boss or other more seasoned colleagues, I find myself green with envy.

They know ALL the people…..

But, I have to remind myself of one very important thing:

they’re old & they’ve been riding this horse a lot longer than I have!

I don’t mean old like “ancient” or “stone age” but old in the sense that they’ve simply been on this journey for 15+ more years than I have. Rome wasn’t build in a day. Relax…have patience….

I’m an introvert so meeting people can be painful for me. Not “stabbing in the eye” kind of pain, but it’s not on my top 5 list on most days….

As a young faculty member, building your network can seem like a daunting task. Knowing yourself and your personality are the first (and probably most important) things in order to help you build your network without “stabbing” yourself in the eye later.

I attended a LARGEEEE conference last summer. It was thousands of people and if we’re being honest: was painful for me. There were some organized events, but for the most part, it was a free-for-all after the day ended. It was so big that everyone just scattered and set in a large city, which was great for going out and checking out new restaurants, but terrible for networking. I socialized but it was with people who I already knew. No one new. On the networking scale of 1 to 10, it was a -84 for me.

Scaling back my expectations and the size of the crowd, I’ve been invited to several STEM related events over the past few months here at big box U and I’ve done much better. The size of the crowd is key for me because I feel like I can work the room without feeling like it’s working me over. I also know one or two people in the room (generally) so I can say hello to them, which leads to the old, “do you know my colleague……?” This often leads to an introduction and a connection. Much more my style.

As a young faculty member who is balancing every possible expectation, it’s ok to stand back, evaluate the crowd, and decide on a plan of attack. Knowing how we work socially is the most important aspect of the plan so don’t deny yourself before entering the hunger games of networking. You might like the challenge of taking on a room of 200, or you may covet a room of 20, either is fine.

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Want to hear a joke?

What do you get when you get 15 experts in a room?

A room not big enough?

hahahaha….academic humor. Pretty cheesy.  As a new faculty, you’ll be inundated with folks who are like and opposite minded with vast experiences that are simliar to yours or different.  This can make for some great interactions or some super awkward ones.

There’s always one guy….(or girl)…..who can be labeled as “the know it all” though.  Super knowledgeable, well read, a theory base that will baffle you, and just enough confidence to speak up. every. single. time. I found myself in a room with one of these people (who was incidentally male-hence calling him ‘that guy’)

What do you do with that person? Before I go any further, let me say this:  this guy is very smart.  He is very well read. His attention to detail was impressive and his ability to digest information and synthesize was amazing to me.  Meeting him in person was great, sitting on a committee with him was great, but being around him for 36 solid hours was overwhelming….exhausting…..and in the end: humbling.  There’s a reason he’s a young front runner in my field, he knows his stuff.

How to handle him was another situation.  He did get a bit ahead of himself from time to time.  He did demand the floor many times.  He also got shut down a few times and he was speechless at one point too.  The humbling and lesson learned part is this: we know our field, it’s the surprises that we can’t ever know exactly how to respond too.

At one point, another committee member was speaking and even shut the guy down stating, “let me finish first.”  Well done sir.  Point taken.

How do you know it all without acting like you know it all?

There is a fine line of balance. knowing when to speak and when to hold off. Is less more?  Not to some!  As a new faculty you’ll be put in those situations and deciding to find your voice or be a spectator can be a tough call.  I chose to pick my battles.  Not over talk, but also don’t be ignored.  Make sure you’re heard without becoming “that guy…”

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