Virtual conference offers chances to network

By David Frey

The last day of the conference is filled with workshops. Credit: TWS

For only $125, you can get access to all of the educational content from the virtual TWS conference. Click here to register by midnight PT on Sunday, Sept. 20.

Some of the best moments of the TWS Annual Conference occur outside the educational events. At networking events, participants get a chance to catch up with old friends, make new ones and establish important career connections.

You won’t be able to mingle in a lounge this year, but as the conference goes virtual, those opportunities still remain an integral part of the experience. An array of networking opportunities are available to take the fun parts of the conference experience online.

“All the way back to the minute we decided we were going virtual, we knew we had to find a way to still deliver those interactive opportunities,” said Kerrell Dunsmore, the conference arrangements coordinator.

Headlining this year’s evening networking events is the Student-Professional Networking Event. Rather than bounce from table to table chatting with professionals, you’ll bounce from video chat lounge to video chat lounge. Kick off the conference Monday evening with representatives from universities, agencies, NGOs, consulting firms and other sectors. Don’t miss this opportunity to make connections that could help you pursue a wildlife career.

Several groups will hold receptions and other online gatherings throughout the week. The Fellowship of Christian Conservationists, Women of Wildlife and Out in the Field are all hosting events. The New York Chapter, Utah State University and Out in the Field will each host receptions. Others receptions honor award recipients and Aldo Leopold Award winners, past and present.

Every TWS working group will be holding meetings this year. Conference participants are invited to drop in and see which ones capture their interests. Students in particular are welcome and encouraged to sit in and connect with professionals in fields they may wish to enter after graduation. And don’t forget about the All Working Groups Meeting, Student Chapter Advisors’ Meeting, and Section and Chapters Collaboration Meetings.

Another event you won’t want to miss, the Fish and Wildlife Film Festival takes place Tuesday and Wednesday night, giving conference attendees a chance to catch some great films and interact with the directors and producers. Short films will also be screened throughout the conference.

Thursday night brings a unique event. Brought to you by the Quiz Bowl subcommittee, conference registrants are invited to get together with a beverage of choice for Pub Night Trivia. Tackle challenging questions about wildlife ecology, taxonomy, policy and recent events — along with some general wildlife trivia. If you’re lucky, you may walk away from the chat room winning a (modest) prize.

While posters will be available to conference attendees for the duration of the conference (and afterwards), we will have designated poster sessions at specific times to allow for live, face-to-face interaction with attendees. Poster presenters are encouraged to be in their virtual poster chat rooms during those times to discuss their research and receive valuable feedback from other attendees.

As always, workshops at the TWS Annual Conference are open to students, and at a discounted rate! Sign up when you register for your chance to learn, network and gain experience and skills you’ll need as a professional.

And even if you’re at home, there’s no reason to eat alone. Sit down with other wildlifers in the EARS networking lounge (that’s short for Eating Alone Really Stinks) and share what you’re getting out of the conference. TWS staff will also be available in a networking lounge to answer any questions you may have.

Whether you join the conference from home, work or in the field, there are plenty of opportunities to meet up with fellow wildlifers during the week!

David Frey is managing editor at The Wildlife Society. Contact him at dfrey@wildlife.org with any questions or comments about his article. Read more of David's articles here.

You can follow him on Twitter at @davidmfrey.


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