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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Conferences

When I was in graduate school, I wanted to go to TONS of conferences, and went to 2, maybe 3 (if I was lucky), per year. And, honestly, it was a lot more about where the conference was and who (of my friends) were going to be there than the content.

Now? I'd be happy to keep it to 1-2 per year. I just don't want to be away from home for any extended period of time. Plus, I'm not going there to party (on the contrary - I get excited about being able to sleep without interruption!), so to make it worth it, a conference needs to have a lot of applicable sessions and/or opportunities to network with other education & outreach people.

The problem is, now that I'm working in an interdisciplinary research area, there are many more conferences to choose from, and many more where having a presence is important (though perhaps not the most useful for me personally). Luckily, we have graduate students and a couple faculty members that are happy to present posters at conferences they are attended for scientific purposes, but I need to put in my time too.

I'm trying to decide whether I should pick 2-3 conferences and go the same ones each year to build up a network (seeing the same people, etc.), or to choose 1-2 constants but change up the other(s) to meet new people. I know I have some time, but I do think I need to set the precedent this year so there are no surprises or unrealistic expectations in the future.

How many conferences do you attend per year? Do you go to the same conferences every year, or try to change it up? How do you decide which conferences to attend?