We asked all of our wonderful student volunteers to write a brief blog about their experiences at the meeting in Copenhagen. Here’s what they had to say!
Brian Dobreski (Syracuse University)
The 2016 ASIS&T Annual Meeting was one of many firsts. My first ASIS&T conference. My first time in Denmark. And of course, the first time the Annual Meeting was held in Europe.
Serving as a student volunteer was a great way to experience the conference, and afforded me the opportunity for some other “firsts” as well. Assisting with sessions gave me a chance to sit in on presentations on telepresence and information poverty, offering a first exposure to some topics outside of my area, but interesting and important nonetheless. I still had plenty of time to attend additional sessions of my own choosing too, and got to hear more about data curation and serendipity in information seeking.
While this was not my first networking experience at a conference, it was certainly a productive one. I was able to meet many scholars and researchers in the information field, and spend some time with my fellow doctoral students from other institutions who will be my future colleagues. The New Members/First Conference Lunch stands out in particular: lunch with Michael Buckland was a real treat!
And of course, this was my first exposure to SIG CON. If you don’t know what this is, you have to see it. That’s all I’ll say.
Volunteering at the Annual Meeting was a wonderful opportunity to get exposed to a variety of interesting research, learn more about the field, and network with other ASIS&T members. It was a great experience, and I hope to attend again next year!
Zhe Wang (Peking University)
As a second year master student of Peking University, I felt lucky and flatted to serve as a student volunteer in the 2016 annual meeting of ASIS&T. The unimaginable journey started on October 14th by meeting with Stephan our wonderful director, and also talking with my colleagues including Si and Sarah from Rutgers, Rachel from University of Wisconsin–Madison, John and Leslie from University of North Carolina, Chong from University of North Texas and so on. Most of my colleagues were PhD candidates, so I benefit a lot from their academic experience. As a matter of fact, we were responsible for a small amount of workload as student volunteers and got even more opportunities to listening to lectures and networking with scholars from all around the world. I believe it was a great fortune provided by the conference committee to assist young scholars with little academic funds. With one poster accepted, I was not even sure if I could make it to Copenhagen without the registration fee kindly waived by the committee. In a word, being a student volunteer not only made my first international academic trip possible, but largely widened my horizon as a master student. Last but not least, if anybody would like to apply for the student volunteers of the 2017 annual meeting, do not hesitate to send an email to the conference committee as soon as the paper/poster getting accepted, because just as they say, the early bird catches the worm. Hope you may enjoy the fruitful experience of being a student volunteer.
Si Sun (Rutgers University)
Serendipity Encounter at ASIS&T as a Student Volunteer
I would be struggling with deciding on a session to go to on Tuesday morning if I was not assigned a session as a student volunteer. The session assigned to me was “Research Perspectives on Serendipity and Information Encountering”. It turned out to be an extremely interesting session, and it led me to think about the issue of whether engineering serendipity can lead to a false perception of serendipity. So I followed one of the panelist, Dr. Naresh Kumar Agarwal, to the Annual Awards Luncheon to discuss more about the topic. There, I met Dr. Donald O. Case, whose books are classical reads of my area.
When I look back on the chain of wonderful events, I concluded that being a student volunteer is one of the best ways to engineer serendipity encounter at the ASIS&T Annual Meeting in a potentially unbiased way.
The ASIS&T student volunteer opportunity pushed me to enjoy the conference to its fullest. Many of the conference attendees suffer from different levels of jet lag, including me, but my jet lag did not show symptoms until I passed out for a solid 7-hour flight back to the United States. This is because I have a few student volunteer sessions early in the morning and they all turned out to be so interesting that I stayed alert easily for the rest of the day. During the whole conference, there was not a time slot when I was not enjoying some aspects of the conference. Another great feature of the ASIS&T student volunteer program is that although we help with sessions, our workload is moderate, so we do not feel overwhelmed with work or overstaffed to a level of boredom, and have enough energy for explorations.
Also, being an ASIS&T student volunteer gives us more opportunities to socialize and pushes those of us who are shy to socialize more. One of the responsibilities of student volunteers is to maintain communication between session moderators, speakers, conference organizers, and IT support staff. These responsibilities give us extra chances to get to know all these great people and learn how the conference is organized behind the scenes. In fact, during my term as Chair of SIG HLTH at ASIS&T, I received tremendous help from the people I met at the ASIS&T Annual Meetings over a few years. Many of those people that I owe many thanks to are people that I met and/or worked with as a student volunteer.
Of course, there are many other benefits that comes with being an ASIS&T student volunteer, which I am sure my fellow student volunteers will give you a great tour on. I would just like to show you some of the pleasant surprises that the student volunteer experiences has brought me. I look forward to seeing you at ASIS&T 2017 Annual Meeting and hearing your stories of serendipity encounters at the conference.
Miyoung Chong (University of North Texas)
My First Experience of the ASIS&T Conference
I participated in the ASIS&T 2016 annual conference as a poster presenter. The funny thing is that the acceptance letter was originally sent to the spam mail box that I don’t pay attention to in general. However, when I found the notification email from the chairs of the poster session, prof. Colleen Cool and Theng Yin Leng, I was so glad. I got the notification around the midnight on August 1, 2016 when I was in Seoul, Korea. Korea had a record-breaking temperature this summer, and it was too hot to have a good sleep over the night in many days. I remember I couldn’t fall asleep that night because I was too excited about the news along with the tropical night.
The annual ASIS&T meeting was held in Copenhagen, Denmark this year, and the journey to conference started with the flight booking to Copenhagen. The conference was fun and meaningful in several ways. First of all, my heart was throbbing with the expectation because this is the first chance that I can actually meet prestigious scholars from the library and information science fields from other schools and institutions. Each conference day, my friend and I were searching for famous scholars and took pictures with them. From my professors, I have been told that networking is important in building an academic career, but I think I just really enjoyed meeting people who had similar research topics and interests at the conference venue.
I was also able to discover many interesting and recent research topics in the information science fields and further explore by asking questions and having conversations with the authors from various presentations. This made me feel that I am in the right place because when I was in the Global Marketing conference at Hong Kong in July this year, I could only meet mostly from marking and business study researchers.
The most fun part of the conference was participating in the conference as a volunteer. The volunteer job was basically preparing the assigned session and watching out the session to make sure everything was going smoothly. Stephen Addo, who works at the ASIS&T Membership Services, tremendously helped me to start and complete my volunteer work. Actually, I had imagined that he might be an old White man with many white hairs due to hard work or research, but he was totally the opposite!
The professional work done by the ASIS&T Membership Services staff at the conference inspired me, and I think their professional work strengthen the entire organization in diverse aspects. While working as a volunteer, I could have valuable conversations with the ASIS&T members from other schools, and I could simply enjoy the most prestigious conference in the information Science field with them. I value the opportunity and experience from working as a volunteer at the ASIS&T conference, and hope I can meet them again at the ASIS&T conference in 2017.