by Meghan Timmel, Communications Coordinator
I recently heard PRIM&R’s annual Advancing Ethical Research (AER) Conference described by a member as the “three days a year where I don’t have to explain what I do for a living.” This sentiment is echoed by many in attendance at our annual conference, which provides all those involved with research ethics and human subject protections a chance to meet, reconnect, and work with others who share their daily experiences, struggles, and questions. It’s helpful. It’s re-energizing. And—perhaps most important—it’s reaffirming.
The conference can be an especially valuable experience for first-time attendees, whether new to the field, to PRIM&R, or just to AER. To help out first-time attendees and others who might find professional conferences a bit intimidating, I’d like to share a few tips to help ensure that your experience at this year’s conference—AER14—is a success:
Plan Ahead. Consider: What do I want to bring back to my office from AER14? You might have more than one goal, but let those goals—from making more contacts to getting face-to-face time with the feds—drive your conference planning. Then, review the conference schedule ahead of time and prioritize those sessions and events that you most want to attend.
Don’t be shy! Ask questions in your sessions. Approach others at networking events. Conference faculty members can offer valuable insight, and AER is full of people who—like you—want to connect with and learn from others in the field. If you’re an introvert, and this fills you with panic, you’re not alone. Take a look at one strategy that can help get you more comfortable with networking successfully.
The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.