Friday, July 4, 2008

Student Only Conference Events?

Some of the comments from a previous post raise the question of why career advice panels and other non-technical topics aren't included in conferences like FOCS, STOC, and SODA. This reminded me of an issue that we discussed when planning SoCG - should we hold a separate event for students? The thought was that there would be grad students who came without advisors (or whose advisors weren't going out to eat with them for some reason, they're on the PC, etc.) and might not know other people at the conference. Or just might want to meet more people. It seemed like a good idea to me at the time, and still does, though it didn't end up happening (too much to do? not enough interest?). I think it would help with networking among students and make conferences seem more welcoming. And (despite our inaction) it seems like something that should be easy to organize - just set up a specific restaurant location and time and anyone interested can show up. What do you think?

And now, I'm off to a 50% chance of watching it thunderstorm on the Capital fireworks...

5 comments:

Suresh said...

If you have something in mind, I'd be happy to give it some attention/prominence in the SoCg 2010 arrangements.

RV said...

The information theory community has a good student society: http://students.itsoc.org/

they have events at every major conference and they even had a students-only summer school recently. It was very fun and useful!

http://school.itsoc.org/

Jeffe said...

Excellent idea! I suspect the only reason that SOCG doesn't have student only events is that (as far as I know) no one has ever suggested it.

I'll forward the suggestion to Lars (the local organizer for SOCG 2009). Obviously Suresh (the 2010 organizer) already knows. Two consecutive years should be enough to establish a habit.

We could even try building it into the registration fees (so the advisors pay, not the students).

scout said...

Being an overly-social grad student, I often make it a point to round up new faces with the other students I know and go for beers, dinner, or at least eat lunch together at the conferences I regularly attend.

But, yes, I do think that explicitly organized grad student events can be very useful at conferences. Depending on the size and the mix, I am also in favor of having events specifically oriented at women (although that could include profs, too).

sorelle said...

excellent - it sounds like this might really happen! thanks all! (: