Tips for first-timers at Plant Biology 2019

What do you wish you knew at your first Plant Biology meeting?

Do you remember your first Plant Biology meeting? Was it in Hawaii, or just last year in Montreal? Or will Plant Biology 2019 (August 3–7, San Jose, California) be your first meeting? The ASPB has held this annual meeting for more than 80 years (!) and every year, a substantial proportion of attendees are first-timers. With that in mind, we are asking the plant biology community to think back on your first meeting and give some tips to the first-timers.

With more than a thousand attendees from dozens of countries, we welcome your perspectives. Do you have a tip for undergraduates? people from outside the U.S.? job seekers? faculty members? industry scientists? Bring it on– we want to hear from you!!

Comment here, or join us on Twitter (#Plantbio19, #firstplantbiomtg).

Here are some comments from the Plantae Community

  • Jen Mach –
    • I want people to know that with a big meeting like Plant Biology, the deadline to submit your abstract so that you can be considered for a talk is really early– in fact, it’s THIS WEEK (March 7th). So don’t delay on this– and giving a talk at a Plant Biology meeting is a great way to make your meeting memorable.
  • Mary Williams –
    • My first PB meeting (actually, ASPP meeting, before ASPB changed from Plant Physiologists to Plant Biologists…) was in 1994 in Portland, and it seemed huge compared to the smaller conferences I’d attended previously. Also, I was struck by the wide range of topics presented, but it made me realize that I had a lot to learn about plant science beyond my narrow niche of transcriptional regulation. ADVICE: Take advantage of the opportunity to meet other attendees ahead of the meeting, through Plantae and Twitter (#PlantBio19), so you aren’t so alone when you arrive. Also, on the first day, try to stop by the ASPB and Plantae booths to meet up with friendly faces, including ASPB staff (like me) who can help by making introductions. Attending a workshop early in the event can help too, as you’re more likely to meet people there than in our huge lecture hall. Finally, put on your brave face and introduce yourself to someone in the coffee line. We’re ALL there to meet people, and we all have a passion for plant science in common, so it’s perfectly acceptable (and desirable) to say hello to strangers at these events.


  • Natalie Henkhaus
    • I attended my first meeting in 2007 (in Chicago) as an undergraduate student. I remember wandering around the huge poster session in the basement of the hotel, it was pretty great to find the posters in my area of interest, which at that time had to do with epigenetic regulation of genes in Arabidopsis.
      During that conference, I had a roommate from the University of Wisconsin. She was a PhD student studying Genetics and was a huge inspiration to me. A year later I would start graduate school in Genetics, too (at a different university).
      I now attend ASPB meetings as part of the staff and really enjoy meeting early career researchers (ECRs). If you’re attending for the first time as an undergrad or 1st year grad, there are many ways to network with other ECRs at the conference and opportunities to get involved with ASPB, reach out to me or visit the ASPB booth in San Jose to learn more!

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