Attending Scientific Meetings
Did you know that scientists from all over the world gather at regional, national, and international conferences every one to two years? These meetings are a unique opportunity to meet scientists from many career paths, learn about others’ research, and investigate career and educational opportunities.
There are very large annual meetings which include a range of disciplines within the geosciences–these meetings can have many thousands of attendees. Scientists present their research as invited or approved speakers to small and large audiences (often dozens occurring simultaneously), and other scientists present their research on a large poster in a one-on-one format alongside hundreds of other posters (see photo lower right). These large meetings often include a vendor hall (where numerous companies and organizations display their products and recruit employees), job fairs, graduate school expos, committee meetings, and educational “short courses” on specialized topics of interest. Some national meetings even offer special sessions or mini-conferences designed just for undergraduates or first year graduate students. Additionally, there are often numerous social events in the evening that provide an excellent opportunity to meet and converse with peers.
There are also smaller, more intimate, meetings focused on special areas of research that meet once every two-to-three years. These meetings typically only have one speaker presentation at a time in addition to one or two poster sessions, and all topics are related to a particular specialty. These meetings also offer social events where scientific ideas and friendships are frequently developed.
Closer to home, national organizations often have local chapters in your city or region. These meetings provide the opportunity to get to know those in your field who live and work in your area. Groups may meet monthly or quarterly and activities may include invited speakers, social events, community service and outreach.