By Sophie Wassermann
If you’re a student like me, taking any and all advice on how to get a career in marine conservation (maybe a salary?! A job?! A funded PhD?!), you constantly hear that attending conferences is a key way to network. Now this advice is easily supplied, but it can be difficult to undertake. The first conference I went to was in the middle of the winter and the only person I knew, my roommate for the weekend, was grounded due to a storm. I spent that conference trying to meet people, but largely afraid to do so.
“Networking” isn’t the easiest task in the world, but it doesn’t have to be painful, as I learned at my first International Marine Conservation Congress (IMCC) two years ago. This time, I had friends attending, but I also sought out the student events. There were lunchtime discussions and a workshop on elevator pitches, culminating in a night out at the end of the conference. Through the student events, I met people, then would sit next to them during presentations; tackling that tricky problem of making friends as adults (is that what networking is?).
Image: Sophie presenting her poster presentation at IMCC3 in Glasgow
This year, at IMCC4, I am part of the Student Activities Committee because I do not want anyone to feel like I did at that first conference. Entering the academic sphere, especially for the first time, can be daunting, but the IMCC community is friendly and open, goofy, and dedicated. The Student Activities Committee has arranged a variety of events, including a lunch with the plenary speakers, an event to practice networking and interviewing skills, and a trivia night. In addition, we’ll set up locations for meet-ups during coffee breaks, and we can help you find an inexpensive place to stay. Even if you’re not presenting, the conference will be a chance to hear about amazing work from around the world, conducted by wonderful people. If you can’t tell, I had a great experience at my last IMCC and I can’t wait for this one. I hope you’ll take advantage of all of these unique opportunities and I can’t wait to see you there. You can sign up here to attend IMCC4.