I wanted to let you all know that I will be out of town for a conference...last week. ooops! Better late than never, right? Since you asked...the conference was a huge success!! This was a relatively large meeting for my field, but I have been around long enough that I feel like I know *almost* everyone. It was great to catch up with everyone, I laid down the foundation for a couple of collaborations, and I think that I may have a couple of nibbles for some postdocs (fingers are crossed!).
The most exciting thing about this meeting is that it was the first meeting that I took all my students to! They did great. More precisely, I assume they did great. I saw them at lots of sessions but they didn't spend a lot of time with me. I introduced them to as many folks as I could and they are all RAMPED now that they are back in lab! They are reading more papers and I have overheard several conversations about talks and posters they saw at the meeting. More importantly, they all seem genuinely excited about their own research projects and how they fit in with the rest of the field. Hopefully this will translate into some research results over the summer 🙂
The lab dynamic at meetings is interesting to me. For all my training I have been going to these meetings pretty much solo. I don't know why, but the folks that I have worked with before were never really "travellers". I guess after a point you don't have to be. And I was in pretty small labs, with only a couple of other students/postdocs. This meant that when I was at a meeting I didn't even have the option of hanging out with my fellow lab mates. But I know this is not really the norm, because a lot of the folks that I talk to at meetings hang out with other people from their home lab. A LOT! This confuses me a little, because I like meeting new people (and talking to folks that I can't see everyday) when I'm at meetings. So, I was actually pretty happy that my lab peeps were independent enough to navigate this meeting without my help. I guess now I know that next time I should plan ahead if we are going to arrange a lab-bonding experience at the next conference!
What do you think? Do you hang in a group with your lab mates at conferences, or are you more of a solo traveller?