By August, I’m usually more than a little frustrated with my research and feeling overwhelmed. But then I go to the annual Ecological Society of America meeting. I leave brimming with ideas and renewed excitement and motivation.
ESA is awesome…
I love hearing about the latest research in my particular subfield, and I’m inspired by research seemingly unrelated to mine. I love meeting the scientists behind the research I admire. I love presenting and discussing my research with scientists who know about four million times more than me. I love all the dinners and coffee breaks spent geeking out about ecology and catching up with friends and colleagues. Basically, ESA is more fun than Christmas.
Attending ESA isn’t cheap. A hotel and restaurants for 5 days, a plane ticket, and conference registration add up fast. The first two years I attended, I was funded by the ESA SEEDS program, which seeks to include more underrepresented students in ecology. The students and mentors I’ve met through SEEDS are incredible. Last year, my travel was covered under a grant that paid for almost all of my research in 2009-2010.
This year, I had hoped to attend ESA as a SEEDS alumni and peer mentor, but my application was turned down – not surprising considering how remarkable the other SEEDS students are! I also applied for travel funding from the ESA Student Section, but my application for that award was rejected, too. (Would you believe that they had way more applicants than usual this year?)
I’m getting my registration reimbursed by volunteering at the conference, and I’m trimming my hotel bill by sharing a room with
3 4 other people. A good stash of granola bars cuts down on the food cost. But I’m still looking at about $1000 to attend this year. ESA is totally worth that amount, but I thought that if I shared ESA with you lovely readers, you might be willing to foot part of the bill.
So here’s the deal: for every $100 donated, I’ll interview one amazing ecologist at ESA and write a post about it. If you have particular ecologists, topics, or questions in mind, email me or leave a comment!
You can make a donation using Flattr or PayPal.