November 12, 2014

Gearing Up for #SfN14!

The letters "SfN" have become so ubiquitous in my world that I actually forget that most people don't know what they stand for!

Established in 1969 (happy 45th birthday!), SfN stands for the Society for Neuroscience, the world's largest organization of neuroscience researchers, with over 40,000 members representing 90 countries and 130 chapters worldwide.

Each year, SfN hosts the Neuroscience meeting, a huge (yes, HUGE) academic conference in a major city. 

This year's meeting, Neuroscience 2014, is in Washington, D.C., beginning this Saturday, November 15 and concluding on Wednesday, November 19.

Believe it or not, this'll be my first time attending.

Best of all, beyond all the diverse talks spanning research, outreach, and professional development I've got scribbled down in my planner, I have a few more things to look forward to.

For one, I've been selected as one of the official meeting bloggers! That means if you're following this blog or my tweets, you're going to get a daily dose of information covering Themes E and F ("Integrative Systems [Neuroendocrinology, Neuroimmunology, and Homeostatic Challenge]" and "Cognition and Behavior," respectively). Here are the other excellent official meeting bloggers you should follow and the topics they'll be covering:

Themes are as follows: A. Development; B. Neural Excitability, Synapses, and Glia: Cellular Mechanisms; C. Disorders of the Nervous System; D. Sensory and Motor Systems; E. Integrative Systems: Neuroendocrinology, Neuroimmunology, and Homeostatic Challenge; F. Cognition and Behavior; G. Novel Methods and Technology Development; H. History, Teaching, Public Awareness, and Societal Impacts in Neuroscience

*Special shout-out to my ScienceSeeker co-editors Shelly and Caitlin, who I'm excited to see at the meeting!

The second bit of exciting news is that I'm one of two recipients of the SfN Science Journalism Student Award! This is seriously humbling for me given that I have no formal training in journalism, but I must be doing something right—and I'm chomping at the bit to learn more. One of the perks is that I'm paired with a seasoned science journalist at the meeting who will provide guidance, and Vivien Marx and I have already been chatting through e-mail. I'm especially excited to attend some press conferences at the meeting and see how they compare to academic symposia.

As this is my first meeting, I've been drinking in advice from Shelly, Katiesci, and one of last year's bloggers, Rachel (and, incidentally, another ScienceSeeker editor) in preparation. But I've been working on my own slightly unusual packing list and thought I'd share:

1. Airborne and acetaminophen. Look, I'm no immunologist, but when I'm near a bunch of sick people and take an Airborne in self-defense, I don't get sick. (I hope you folks got your flu shots!) With tens of thousands in attendance, I'm taking no chances—these babies are coming with me, placebo effect or not! And acetaminophen, because...OVERWHELM.

2. My Moleskine planner. I realize I'm a bit stuck in the 19th century, but I hand-write everything when it comes to making schedules. I've downloaded the Neuroscience 2014 Mobile App, but I can't deny it—I'm a paper-and-pen girl.

3. A winter hat. If you're coming from other parts of the country, be warned: chilly temps are on the way next week. Sometimes I'm a little negligent with my winter weather gear, so I need to be prepared. Plus, how can you deny a Gryffindor-colored, hand-knit hat from your best high school bud?

4. Leisure activities. I realize I probably won't have much free time between the meeting, blogging, and a few social events I have scheduled for the evenings, but I know myself too well. Despite my online persona (like, perhaps, how my Twitter avatar is me giving a freakin' TED talk), I'm an extreme introvert, and it takes a LOT of "me" time to re-charge at the end of the day. My current knitting project and my current fiction book (Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell) will be my lifesavers.

5. Laser pointer. Contrary to what you may think, this isn't actually for the conference, but a reminder to pack up all the essential cat toys—my kitten Yoshi is spending the week with his cat-daddy (my husband, a physician assistant student in Maryland). Knitting and a book will keep me alive...but without a laser pointer and some other essentials, I'm not quite sure the husband will survive the week with this troublemaker (who just knocked over a curtain rod as I type):

"Please don't leave me, Mommy!" (Yes, he's in the bathroom sink.)
If you're on Twitter, make sure you're following #SfN14. (In fact, check it out now—the hashtag's already blowing up!) And tweet me if there's anything you'd like me to report on! (Check out all the meeting happenings here.)

If you're attending the meeting, come find me at my poster (#OO32) on Sunday, November 16 from 3-4pm. (I'll be talking about sleep...zZzZz.)

And be sure to follow the #sfn14 tag here on my blog to read all my updates.

Catch ya in D.C., brainiacs!

No comments:

Post a Comment

I appreciate all comments and strongly encourage discussion on the topics I write about! Please be respectful to me and other readers. Spam comments will not be published.