One of the many aspects of a scientist’s career is networking and sharing discoveries with the scientific community. Scientists do this at conferences that take place all over the country and globe with attendance ranging from a few hundred people to a few thousand. Last month I attended the Society of Integrative Biology (SICB)’s annual meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana and presented some exciting science.

During spring 2016, I conducted research that explored the potential effects of oil exposure on red drum, a key fish species in the Gulf of Mexico. I specifically wanted to answer questions about how juvenile fish exposed to small amounts of oil can swim and catch prey. This topic is widely studied because of the fairly frequent oil spills that occur along coastlines. At SICB, I displayed my research findings on a poster and spoke with people about my project during the day’s poster session.

It was my first conference and an awesome experience meeting other scientists (college undergraduates, Master’s and PhD students, as well as professors) and discussing research. Sharing science, hearing people’s feedback, and answering questions about your project are all fundamental parts of being a scientist, and I believe these interactions make  inbetter scientists. I enjoyed all of the networking opportunities and socializing, as well as hearing about some really interesting research projects going on all over the country. I learned about topics outside my specific area of interest and made great connections with people I could potentially work with in the future.

I look forward to sharing this experience and the knowledge I gained with students at Sail Caribbean this summer!

Photos courtesy of Derek Nelson.