On April 13-15, EWU McNair Scholar (and future GSA!) Bakima Ssebanakitta attended the Rocky Mountain Psychological Association‘s 2023 conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Bakima presented in a group symposium with professor Dr. Jillene Seiver and fellow McNair Scholar Ian Campuzano on Executive Function, Emotional Regulation, and Coping with Traumatic Events.
Bakima was most impressed by the opportunity to see a presentation by a prominent researcher in her field, whose work is controversial but widely used in court systems. Conferences are a rare space where students can ask questions in person to a researcher whose work interests them. Bakima also benefitted from being exposed to different subfields and brand new research she wouldn’t have otherwise accessed.
Bakima would like to tell other students that conferences are a great place to experiment with your presentation style and incorporate feedback. You also have the chance to “sell” your research, and hone a pitch for grants. You’ll want your presentation to address not only this is what I found, but also why it is of interest. Bakima says that having observers also provides a “reality check”: you might not feel great about your presentation, but really it’s about the experience of others who receive your work.
Bakima recommends using the conference network to introduce yourself to people you might like to work with. She recommends going to events that interest you, even by yourself, and reminds students that they don’t have to be at the conference the whole time: conferences are an opportunity to see a city you might not visit otherwise, or even just to unwind in your hotel room if that’s what you need!