April SPSPotlight: Grad Hack

Grad Hack: Convention Tension

By Benjamin Johnson, GSC Member-at-Large

Find conventions overwhelming? Here are some tips to making the most of research conferences.

  1. Networking is key, both with fellow grad students and especially with more senior researchers in your area. Most conventions have a fancy banquet for conference-goers; try attending and sitting at a table with people you want to get to know.  Even if the food isn’t spectacular, it will usually be worth the added registration fee!
  2. Always try to present something.  Whip up a poster from some old data lying around; chat with other SPSP members about collaborating on a symposium. Research presentations look great on your CV, are good ways to get recognized in your area, and even open doors for travel funding and other awards!
  3. Volunteering can help defray convention costs.  Often you can get your registration fee reduced or even waived!
  4. Another way to cut costs and boost your networking skills is to stay in the conference hotel with a group of other graduate students.  Staying at the host venue can lead to chance meetings in elevators with the big shots, and if you get enough people together to split a room, it can be quite affordable.
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