Teaching Coyotes to Swim: Academic Conferences and Building Ties

Things on my mind:

1. I leave for China in 26 days

2. I have an issue paper due in two weeks, a presentation due tomorrow, Initiation for my Fraternity this weekend

3. I have to finish registering for my classes next year 

4. Not sure where I’m living for Fall...

Relative to my normal habits, I’ve been traveling a TON recently. It’s almost strange for me to be out of sync with the campus for even a few days and not being around for a weekend can throw you for a loop. I just got back from Reno, Nevada where six other students and I along with Dr. Minear of the Psych Department, attended the Rocky Mountain Psychological Association’s 83rd annual conference. All of us, except one (who was a freshman psych student) were there to present our findings on the research we’d been doing across this year. But it’s not just a chance for us to toot our own horns. Across two days, we’re given free reign to attend talks and poster sessions, both by undergrad/grad students and from established faculty from universities and labs around the north and southwest.

Andrew Moore

This was an amazing experience for me. I’m still trying to gather all the things I’ve learned and discovered after driving through the Nevada deserts. The first thing that really stands out is more of what I was promised as a freshman. As I’ve said before, it’s hard to really describe the magic that surrounds C of I. But it’s things like the opportunity to travel with my professors and peers that really underline what it means to be a student here. I’ve realized that some of the glue that binds each department together in terms of students and professors are trips like these. Having 8 hours to talk and discuss virtually anything with your fellow classmates and professors in a car was surprisingly something that I really enjoyed this year. As for the convention itself, I’d worked this entire year on a project with my lab partner, and being able to share the results of this with peers from around the country was incredible. As an incoming student, I had no idea that these kinds of activities were standard fare for students around the country. To be surrounded by the collective knowledge of fellow members of my discipline, both young and old was really powerful.

It was fascinating watching Gary (who was the freshman with us), soaking all of this in. I think it really gave him a glimpse into the professional side of academics outside the classroom and I feel like it’s something that’s really going to help him grow. I also loved being able to talk to professors from around the country, as well as Graduate students about the process of going to grad school and being prepared after college.In any case, I’m back home in the Sterry basement watching participants and getting some writing done as I can. I’m showing my poster again at the Student Research Conference here on campus this weekend, and I’ll probably have a bit about that for Monday.

I really can’t believe it’s already the middle of April.

-Andrew Moore