College is full of opportunities to do things outside of your comfort zone. For me, the opportunity to present at the Ohio Communication Association Conference became an opportunity that pushed me to do something different. I had developed a research paper based on medical television and public health communication that I was interested in presenting at the conference, but I was not sure about conferences or what all was involved in a conference.
When I first agreed to submit work at the conference, I had no clue what to expect or even if my work would be accepted to present. I had taken a quantitative research methods class in the fall semester of 2018, but I didn’t know if I wanted to take that next step and present. Through multiple meetings with three friends and Jeff Kuznekoff, we decided to submit our papers together as a proposal for a research discussion panel. I coordinated the submission by gathering a summary of each paper and submitting the content to be reviewed. Over the summer, I got the feedback that our panel idea had been accepted with positive comments!
When I arrived at Xavier University for the conference, I felt nervous but also proud. I had volunteered to drive the other three girls to the conference, so I had not thought much about actually being at a conference yet. As we approached the check-in registration table, it truly felt surreal. We started the conference by utilizing the graduate program information session where there were a variety of different colleges and universities available to talk about graduate programs in the Communication discipline. Next, we found a quiet room to practice our presentation. Then, it was time to present our research and answer questions from students, faculty, and scholars. I was also able to do an Instagram takeover for Miami Regionals at the conference which proved to be another learning experience for me as I had to find things to post and experiment with different features.
As we walked into the room, I took a second to think about the journey that had brought us here. We were the only students that were presenting from Miami University that day and four of the five students presenting from Miami University at the conference. We were also known as “the four” at the conference because we were the only research discussion panel that focused on student research and the process that students go through in a research project. This was a huge accomplishment not only for us but for our major! I thought about the sense of community that we had formed during this research class and how it had followed us to this very moment. I also thought about how supportive we are of one another and how our cohort has become a core group of friends.
If you are ever given the opportunity to present research at a conference, you should take it! This was a great experience for me as an undergraduate because I was able to present research to other people in my field and receive positive feedback. Conferences are a great way to learn more about topics in your field and to learn more about yourself through professional development.
Have you ever thought about going to a conference or do you have any questions about presenting at a conference? Let me know in the comments!