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#2021APPAM Blog: A Day in the Life of a First-Time Attendee, PhD Candidate


Francisco A. Castellanos-Sosa
Ph.D. Student, LBJ School of Public Affairs, University of Texas at Austin

Attending a conference is exciting no matter the area of study or location. In a unique year with two APPAM Fall conferences, attending APPAM in your city is something even more special when you are about to be in the job market.

For my first time at #2021APPAM I chaired one panel, discussed three others, and volunteered in diverse roles.

Of course, this is not the first academic event I have attended. However, this is the first I have participated in other activities besides presenting my research. With one foot in the job market, I can only recommend that students attend at least one APPAM event before to have a more precise dimension of its magnitude and the multidisciplinary areas of its attendees. There is, undoubtedly, a friendly environment around the meeting rooms and the halls. It is impressive to hear from people reconnecting year after year at APPAM.

As a young labor and trade economist, having the honor of talking with stellar academics such as Maureen A. Pirog (Indiana University), Timothy Smeeding (University of Wisconsin, Madison), and David Johnson (University of Michigan). I had invaluable and memorable conversations with each. Having the chance to meet with scholars from other parts of the world is priceless.

If you are about to attend an APPAM conference for the first time, plan the events and sessions that you would like to attend beforehand using the app or online program. There is a tremendous diversity of topics and there’s multiple sessions that are relevant to everyone in attendance. Relax and enjoy the experience. Don’t forget to follow up on the new scholars you just met and pursue all the research ideas that crossed your mind during the event.

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