The English Association of Pennsylvania State Universities (EAPSU) conference was held this past weekend, so it is the perfect time to continue the conference blog post series. In the last post, I covered different ways to find academic conferences to attend. Assuming that you got into the conference that you were hoping to, the next step is to start preparing for it, which is much easier said than done.
I found out about the EAPSU conference through Dr. P in early September, and after we identified what we would like to present on, the next step was identifying how to present it and why this presentation topic matters. This conference provides a collaborative perspective, as I am working on it with Dr. P as well as two other peers who are student in the English Master’s program. For our panel discussion, we first identified how much time we had to present, and then divided it up and placed them in order based on what we wanted to discuss. This was to ensure all of our points connected with one another, but also provided a distinct and personal view on the topic of sense of belonging in graduate school. After our initial meeting, we set up weekly meetings times as a way to establish what our goals were for the week and to discuss our findings with one another. This included making and sharing outlines of our talking points, creating and revising our PowerPoint slides, and helping to better each other’s work overall. In our last meeting, we discussed the logistics of the conference, such as when and how we would get there, if there would be food at the event, the conference’s schedule, and what time we would present.
The way we prepared for this conference is just one of many ways that one could. This example shows how to prepare specifically for a group collaboration or a roundtable discussion. Since many of us most likely had the unfortunate pleasure of being the one stuck with most of the work when completing a group project in high school or undergrad, it is important early on to establish what everyone’s role will be for the presentation. Once this is done, it is easy to go forward with the research and writing process. For this conference, my research was limited, as I was mainly discussing my experience as a graduate student finding a sense of belonging. However, my writing process was similar to that of a class assignment, as I created an outline of the main points I knew I wanted to mention during my presentation. Then, I made sure to include subsections underneath each of different topics within that I would like to touch on. Collaborating with a group that I knew would each contribute was so rewarding, as now knowing what I should expect in future research collaborations was a great experience. It also allowed me to practice my research and presentation skills for conferences that I will be presenting alone at, which involves a different process that I would like to highlight in one of my future articles, so stayed tuned!