TWS Conference: The Student Experience

By Dana Kobilinsky

Student experience
Students get their resumes critiqued at last year’s TWS annual conference in Pittsburgh. This year, The Wildlife Society’s 22nd annual conference offers a resume review as well as a variety of other networking opportunities.
Image Credit: The Wildlife Society

Imagine being surrounded by other students as interested in the wildlife field as you are, while building a network of professional contacts and learning more about developing your career path as a wildlifer!

During this year’s 22nd Annual Conference, taking place in the cultural and wildlife rich Winnipeg, Manitoba, you’ll be among representatives from 136 different student chapters of The Wildlife Society from universities across North America, as well as respected wildlife professionals. You’ll have the opportunity to meet new people with similar interests at workshops, symposia and panel discussions, engage and network with peers and professionals during major networking events and meetings, and enhance your professional development by discussing topics of interest with experienced wildlifers.

Over the four day conference, you’ll be able to tailor your educational experience by choosing from nearly 500 educational sessions on a variety of topics. One panel discussion that you’ll want to attend is Uncertainty of an Undergrad: Navigating the Maze of Employment and Career Opportunities, where you’ll be surrounded by other students in the same boat as you are!

Your evenings are sure to be kept full with plenty of opportunities to engage and collaborate at the many networking and career building events offered this year. Grab a group of new friends that you just met or old friends that you came with and join your peers and professionals at the Student Professional Mixer — an opportunity for students to mingle with possible mentors and to obtain career advice or even contacts from potential future employers —one of the major networking events of the year for students. You’ll also want to check out the opening event, a Night at the Museum, which will kick off the conference, as well as the closing event, a Manitoba Social, where, after a full week of absorbing new information and expanding your professional contacts, you can enjoy some native Manitoba cuisine, a raffle, and a live disc jockey to provide music and entertainment for those who like to step onto the dance floor.

Enjoy some pancakes, eggs and bacon at The Student Chapter Leaders Breakfast, another opportunity for students where they can find out what student chapters are working on. Breakfast will be complimentary and open to three active members of each student chapter or student wildlife group. While enjoying breakfast, students will discuss topics of interest under the direction of TWS’s Student Development Working Group.

And don’t forget to pack a copy of your resume for the Resume Review session in the TWS Members Activity Center, where students can have their resumes critiqued on the spot by a wildlife professional on a first-come, first-serve basis. At last year’s conference, students greatly benefited from this activity.

“I liked the resume review station and found it to be very helpful,” said Kathleen Williams, a student at State College in Pennsylvania who attended last year’s conference in Pittsburgh.

After a day packed full of rich content, enjoy some friendly competition at the 18th Annual Student Quiz Bowl on Tuesday night. You can participate in the event with fellow students or as a member of the audience by testing how much you know about wildlife. So, make sure you’re all caught up on your wildlife knowledge and trivia!

The Annual Conference experience has helped guide many students’ career paths and provided them a number of opportunities in the wildlife field in the past.

“It was a great networking opportunity, and I walked away with many internships, continuing education and job opportunities as well,” said Holly Taylor, a student from Texas.

Student attendees are sure to have a blast at this year’s conference, if last year was any indication – last year 69 percent of students said that their conference experience significantly enhanced their career planning, contacts and development. You won’t want to miss out on student events and opportunities that can help your career as well! We can’t wait to see you there!

Travel Grants

TWS student members who are presenting a technical paper or poster at the conference can apply for travel grants of up to $500. The application period ends on July 17, and grants will be given to a limited number of students.

To be eligible, students’ papers or posters must be accepted for presentation. Click here to find out more about applying for a travel grant.

“All students who plan to have a career in natural resources should make efforts to attend at least once,” said Matthew Burgess, a student at the University of Florida. “The experience is priceless for your career.”

To find out more about the student experience at The Wildlife Society’s 22nd annual conference, please check out the student section on the conference website.

Dana KobilinskyDana Kobilinsky is associate editor at The Wildlife Society. Contact her at dkobilinsky@wildlife.org with any questions or comments about her article. You can follow her on Twitter at @DanaKobi.

Read more of Dana's articles here.