I started my research in Dr. Aiello’s lab during Jan Term of this year. The opportunity to present a poster at a conference after only 3 months of research seemed intimidating, yet exciting. I was really anxious about this conference. I had never taken a genetics course and already felt a little behind from the rest of my research team, but I was eager to make this trip worth it. Making the poster was a feat of its own; however, practicing it with my partners and P.I. boosted my confidence. I attended the Texas Genetics Conference March 22-24th. That Friday, we listened to a seminar by a distinguished scientist and as if I did not fit in with the crowd. However, when I talked to my partner and she too mentioned she felt lost during the seminar, I felt relieved. The night before, my partner and I practiced our presentation a couple times and made sure it was just right.
The Saturday of the conference, we listened to several presentations; some that caught my attention and some that I did not understand. There was so much to learn and so much to absorb. Each presentation brought something new and each presenter had to prime his/her audience with background information that was the base of the research. After each presentation, no one hesitated to ask questions.
When it came time to present our poster, I surprisingly was not nervous. The judge asked us to present and I was confident in the material I had to show her. The presentation went smoothly and we were able to answer her questions. After the poster session, I felt more relieved and watching scientists give talks was more enjoyable.
Presenting a poster was way out of my comfort zone and I am glad that I was pushed into a new environment. It was not as intimidating as I had imagined. We always fear the unknown; when we continue learning putting ourselves in new situations that we may not necessarily feel comfortable in, that fear disappears. Being introduced to research was also fearful because of the vast expanse of scientific background that I had no knowledge of. Reading papers, talking to my PI and others on the team, and attending this conference greatly helped my scientific intuition.