Why Should I Attend #PlantBio19?

Early bird registration for #PlantBio19 in sunny San Jose ends soon! If you are still debating whether you should come not, let me try to persuade you that you absolutely should. From undergraduate to emeritus professor, attendance at a meeting has benefits for everyone. Here are my top 5 reasons for why you should attend #PlantBio19

1) Meeting new people and reconnecting with old friends

With hundreds of plant biologists from all over the world congregating in the same area, there will be plenty of opportunity for meeting new people! Every year I try to ensure I meet at least 3 new people and add them to my Twitter network.

It is never too early, or too late, in your career to start building your network within the plant biology community. Undergraduates and Graduate students you can talk to professors and their students in labs that you are considering applying to in the future. Professors, do not shy away from giving edifying advice to those just starting their journey.

ASPB strives to create a sense of community, so think of meetings as a family reunion. Each year as you return, you’ll reunite with people you know and meet new people. Throughout the year, you can cultivate these relationships and you’ll soon find you have a rich community of colleagues.

2) Learning something new

With hundreds of people sharing their research in both presentation and poster formats it is the perfect place to learn something new. Love chasing down interactions between plants and their environments? There’s an entire symposium about plant signaling! Want to know more about the future of food and agriculture? That’ll be covered too!

In fact, I encourage, and challenge, you to explore a completely novel area of research. It will never be easier to wade into a new subject area than at a meeting surrounded by experts, don’t miss this chance!

3) Experience

Attending the same meeting every year has been useful to me as an annual progress report. Throughout my PhD, I was able to put together posters every year. Seeing my PhD progress as a collection of posters was a powerful reminder that I was being productive.

In addition to gaining your own presentation experience, you can see how your colleagues present. Observing your peers can give you inspiration and ideas to improve your presentation skills. Walking through rows of posters may expose you to a layout or style you had never considered. There is something to be gleaned from every aspect of #PlantBio19!

4) Rejuvenation

For me, and several of my colleagues, Plant Biology meetings are a scientific retreat. Showing your work, learning about others works, and catching up with peers can spark your excitement about your science. It is easy to get lost in the day to day grind of laboratory work and forget why you love your project. Meetings are the perfect time to remind yourself!

Additionally, you can find collaborations, find a lab you are interested in joining in your next phase, and talk to people who are just as excited about plants as you are! Do not underestimate the morale boost that meetings can provide, I’ve never returned home from any meeting feeling melancholy about science.

5) Visit new places

Since Plant Biology’s location changes every year, it gives you an opportunity to explore our planet. Try new foods, see new things, and have new experiences. Stepping out of our labs and offices is very good for us, attending meetings is one way to do so while still being productive. Jennifer Mach has already started a thread about things to see and do in San Jose: https://community.plantae.org/article/5218599197850208137/san-jose-for-plant-biologists.

I hope you will be joining us in San Jose in August. If so, please find me at some point and introduce yourself! Like I said, I love meeting new plant bio peeps 🙂

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