Yesterday, I went to the Integrative Research and Ideas Symposium (IRIS 2018) which is a conference that is organized by the Graduate-Professional Student Association (GPSA) at University of Georgia. This is the second time GPSA held this event and they did a very good job organizing it the first time. They didn’t disappoint! Conferences like these give graduate students the chance to see what kind of research is going on outside their department. I participated in a poster session in which I presented a project I did for a certificate program about integrating instructional design in a Programming for GIS class and it was a very good experience! Yesterday’s experience is one reason why I like to go to interdisciplinary conferences; it’s nice to get a fresh set of eyes from another discipline to look at the pertinent interdisciplinary elements of my work and get feedback on if I am on the right track. I got some valuable feedback from a PhD student in Learning, Design, and Technology. I seriously feel like taking Instructional Technology and Instructional Design classes were the best random things that I did and can be integrated in various parts of my current research and future endeavors. This conference also gave me the chance to meet people in other fields who use GIS and R.
If you are interested in the end product of the course I made, you can go to My GitHub and checked it out. I also put a link to the course under the “Projects” section of my main page.
Another thing that I liked about this conference was the breakout sessions that occured. Next year I will be graduating and those sessions gave me more ideas on the things that I can consider in terms of getting a job. When it comes to finding a job, I am keeping my options wide open. In addition, the conference also provided meals and a complementary headshot…all for a conference registration of $5! I definitely got the biggest bang for my buck. Hats off to the GPSA for a job well done and I’m looking forward to next year!
Reflecting on this conference really makes me reflect on picking and choosing conferences that are alignment of who I am as a person and where I want to be going forward. Last year, after feeling frustrated and emotionally drained after going to a conference, I decided to pick conferences based on that as opposed to merely paying for conferences that it’s expected I go to. And let’s be honest. Going to conferences can be rather expensive so that’s another reason to take discretion. Sometimes it’s a lonely path(I’m usually the only one or one of few in my field at the conferences I choose to go to), but I am gaining a lot of good experiences along the way, slowly building a network of people with similar interests(whatever they may be…ranges from similar research interests to similar favorite TV shows), and overall feel renergized about getting stuff done!