Friday, April 11, 2014

Conference Opportunities

by Brittany G., Panther Blogger

As I am continuing my work through the science department on entomology research, I was given the opportunity to be a part of an Entomology Regional Meeting in Williamsburg, VA.  This was a chance to be included in four days of meetings, lectures, Ph.D. and Masters research presentations, games, food, and hundreds of other people studying and researching the same things I have been working with this past year. Most of those who read this may automatically think:  Geek!  Well, there is no such thing as a Geek status when it has given me the chance to be within a community that is interested in learning the techniques and results that others in the same field have been studying.

I had the pleasure of sitting through the Masters and Ph.D. presentations which provided me the chance to ask questions and connect to other students who are conducting their research and still attending class.  I met several students from the University of Pennsylvania, Cornell, Rutgers, and Virginia Tech.  After their talks, I went to an arthropod lecture where I connected with several professors from other schools about how we can understand these creatures in our world.  These lectures had one thing in common:  they want to figure out why some insects are the way they are and how to control pests when many do not like them in their homes or around the plants.

After all of the major sessions were done and there was some down time, there was plenty of food offered, as well as fun and games.  This is where many of my personal sit-down meetings with professors and other students happened. I met one student from Pennsylvania and he was interested in veterinarian sciences, but he ended up studying entomology through his school.  This just proves that along with myself, many students change their minds about jobs or graduate programs even as late as their very last year in college!  The best part of this weekend meeting was gaining these connections with other schools and professors.

Before I left the conference, I walked away having met several more people and I have kept in touch with many since then. The professors who were there were very knowledgeable and so friendly that they would literally walk up to you and start a conversation to learn everyone's interests in that type of field.  I am proud to say that I have met a lovely crew at Virginia Tech and have been in contact with them to continue my education through their Master's Program in Entomology. So before anyone turns down an opportunity, at least try it once!  I had no idea this would be the outcome of such a conference, and I have gained so much experience by talking to other entomologists in the field.

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