Sunday, August 12, 2012

Observations from ESA

What a week! I am so glad I went and also so glad that it's over.

Some thoughts:
-I saw very few ugly posters. Lots of pretty good ones, and a few really excellent ones.
-I saw few ugly slides in presentations. The most memorably ugly slides were by an undergrad, and they weren't that bad.
-I attended mostly solid talks. I didn't see a single truly bad talk.
-I saw some GREAT talks- really fabulous.
-You can pretty much always tell who is presenting that day and who isn't by what they're wearing.
-Presentations listed lots of people in the acknowledgments. I thought I had a lot of people to thank, and mine was one of the shorter ones.
-A few people put the acknowledgments at the beginning of the talk instead of the end.
-There were more citations on slides than I remembered seeing in the past.
-I don't think I saw a single talk run over time.
-The only thing worse than being scheduled at a bad time is being scheduled at a bad time that is the same time as someone famous (you know, famous for an ecologist).
-There were several obviously pregnant women and many infants & children around (with strollers, spouses, grandparents, daycare and/or baby carriers). I find this encouraging for a family-friendly future of ecology.

Overall, I was energized and inspired by the presentations I saw, and proud of ecologists for being able to communicate their research so clearly (in general) . It will probably take me an entire day to go through all of my notes, follow up on contacts, and catch up on email. I've got to digest and summarize some talks for a collaborator who wasn't there and do some thinking about what I've learned about my project. I didn't end up with any great leads on what to do post-PhD, but I was pleasantly surprised at how many people showed up for my presentation, and I gave out lots of cards. I spent time with several friends and acquaintances (from all over my past) and met many new people (even spoke some Ukenzagapese!). Somewhere in there I managed to do some dancing, go for a run, and come down with an unfortunate cold. I'm looking forward to resuming a normal schedule this week and looking forward to ESA next year!

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