The Value of AZPS for Graduate Students

The Value of AZPS for Graduate Students

The annual AZ Physiological Society (AZPS) meeting is upon us, and this year the meeting will be hosted on the beautiful campus of Northern Arizona University.  

I may be a little biased, as this is my sixth year living in Flagstaff, but there are multiple reasons why you, as a graduate student, should attend this year’s meeting.

While the spectacular views of the surrounding mountains, the small-town atmosphere, and local breweries are all enticing reasons to register for the meeting, there are other important reasons why this conference will be beneficial.

 
The keynote speaker for the 2016 AZPS Annual Meeting, Dr. M. Harold Laughlin.

The keynote speaker for the 2016 AZPS Annual Meeting, Dr. M. Harold Laughlin.

 

The AZPS meeting is a welcoming environment for meeting colleagues and outstanding researchers that are right here in Arizona. This provides the chance for networking, developing potential collaborations on research projects, and learning about job opportunities such as lab technician or post-doc positions. The AZPS conference allows the chance to distinguish yourself at the state level.

 
Claire DeLucia and Luis Cruz having some fun during the poster session at the 2016 Annual Meeting.

Claire DeLucia and Luis Cruz having some fun during the poster session at the 2016 Annual Meeting.

 

If you have ever been to a large-scale conference, giving an oral presentation or a poster presentation can be daunting and intimidating. Which of the thousands of people attending will actually attend and ask meaningful questions? The oral presentations and poster sessions are friendly and welcoming at the AZPS conference. There isn’t room for nerves when your poster session is being attended by people holding wine or beer. In addition, the smaller scale allows for meaningful dialogue between you and the broad range of impressive physiologists from around Arizona.  I have personally attended two of the past AZPS conferences and I received extremely helpful advice for a Western Blot Assay from researchers at Midwestern University (thank you, Schuyler and Dr. Al-Nakkash!). There you have it - actual evidence that the poster sessions can benefit your research. In addition to making important connections with other physiologists, practicing your presentation skills in a welcoming environment is essential for professional development. This important practice will come in handy when it’s time to give a thesis or dissertation defense. The AZPS conference will have prizes for best poster at each trainee level- undergraduate, graduate, and post-doc, if that’s another motivation for you to attend!

Don’t forget to register for the meeting and submit an abstract by the deadline, September 1st. In the meantime, check out these tips for making an effective poster written by a past poster judge and how to write an effective abstract. We hope to see you up here in beautiful Flagstaff soon!

Carissa Miyano is a graduate student at Northern Arizona University in the lab of Dr. Kiisa Nishikawa.