Attending #2015APPAM For the First Time: A Student Perspective
November 13, 2015 06:27 AM
By Gilbert Michaud, Virginia Commonwealth University
The experience at my first APPAM conference has been overwhelmingly positive. I initially wanted to attend the Fall 2015 Conference to present and gather feedback on my research project, knowing that the research is of high quality within this organization. I knew sessions were well-attended, and I would have the opportunity to meet a research-oriented audience from several of the top universities throughout the country. However, what I underestimated was the opportunities for meeting leaders in my policy arena and networking opportunities.
By attending a variety of sessions and presentations, I have learned much about my field of study (renewable energy policy), particularly by asking questions and introducing myself after the presentation. The “Ask the Experts Roundtable Discussions” were also extremely valuable, especially for a budding academic in the last year of his dissertation research. I found the networking opportunities to very useful and advantageous for going on the academic job market. As my other mentors had told me, networking is an important but underrated aspect of the academic world. Though scholarly work is usually done individually, there is a social side to it, which was something I got to witness in the connections and collaborations amongst the attendees of APPAM’s 2015 Fall Conference.
As a self-proclaimed shy person, I tend to keep to myself in my academic work. Yet I have felt extremely welcomed by other attendees, and fortunate to meet new people interested in public policy issues. I have now had the opportunity to meet scholars whose work I know, and to my surprise, these individuals were appreciative of hearing from a doctoral student who found their research useful.
Though there were several sessions that were extremely influential toward my current and future research, I have been most impressed by the professionalism and collegiality at APPAM’s Fall 2015 Conference, and my discussions with fellow graduate students as well as professors has made me consider potential future joint authors and research collaborators. I feel very fortunate to have had this opportunity.