by Leah Everitt
I thought that the symposium was a fantastic experience overall. Each person in the group liked different talks that we went to. It was great talking with everyone afterword about the different things they found interesting because they were excited about that subject. I think that the discussion we had in the car on the way back where we went over all the talks and what we liked and didn’t like really made us all synthesize the information we had learned.
In my opinion the panel discussion at the end of the conference really tied all of the different talks together and put them into a greater context. The talks covered everything from plant diseases to ancient DNA so being able to talk to these researchers about how they thought of their research in the broader categories of Ecology and Evolution really brought everything together.
Apart from the talks I think that it is also important to mention that in between these talks we had time to ask researchers and other scientists about their research and careers. In particular I was very interested in doing this because I am planning on doing graduate studies in biology. It was amazing to have the opportunity to talk to people a few years ahead of me on a similar path to one I am about to take.
In conclusion if I were presented with the opportunity to go to another symposium even on a topic that I wasn’t very interested I would still go. The talks are interesting, tying the research into a broader context really reminds you why you study science and meeting people in your field can really help to define what path you would like to take.