In February I attended an academic conference in Charleston, SC. I also presented a poster with phase one results from my dissertation. While this activity is expected on my CV and shows academic accomplishments, what I got out of the conference was so much more than a line on my CV.
My research is incredibly interdisciplinary. I come from a public health background, am completing my PhD in Environmental Design and Planning, and my research is about older adults, the built environment, and dog walking, so finding a conferences that is relevant can be challenging. This conference was spot on. It was about active living and bridged public health and urban planning. The opportunity to meet people who were also interested in a similar overlap of disciplines meant new relationships, future collaborators, and potential participates for my research. The conference did not disappoint. I made contacts with researchers who work I admired and learned how they were approaching challenges on active living. I think what is even more exciting is the prospect of attending the conference again, seeing familiar faces and building even more invaluable relationships.