New Orleans Journal, SICB Conference

NEW ORLEANS – Thursday started out by being woken up by several phone calls from the University of Central Oklahoma’s weather alert system, stating that the campus was closed due to snow. However, the weather was not much better here.

Grey skies, rain and a bitter wind moved into the area during the morning, and did not make for a fun walk to the convention. After breakfast at the hotel, I left for the first interview of the day with the president of the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology, Peter Wainwright. The society hosts the conference.

The interview went well and he gave insight into ways that undergraduate scientist could get involved earlier than most others through the conference. He explained that one area that he is looking to focus on, is the need for young scientist to know how to convey what they are doing to the public.

The rest of the interview will be included in the Oklahoman soon.

After finishing another interview with a biology professor from the University of Oklahoma, Rosemary Knapp, I went to begin writing an article and compiling the video that I had. I also went to several presentations and one on how scientist should communicate with the media.

The meeting was well attended for a lunch session, but had no lunch. I estimated that about 50 people attended the event with Shannon Malone, vice president of Red Rock Films, presenting.

I found the presentation to be interesting and she provided great ideas for scientist to produce videos for the general public, but was vague on the application part.

During afternoon I scouted out posters of my interviewees, and had an interview with the program officer for the conference and professors from across the state.

I had a great time getting to speak with students from across the state and was able to interview every one of them on camera, which will be a good addition to my portfolio.

After interviewing several people, I looked up and everybody was packing up for the day. The afternoon seemed to have gone by faster than the morning sessions. Afterwards we headed back to our hotels.

For dinner we went to Mother’s Restaurant, which was supposedly one of the best places to get a po’ boy, a classic here in New Orleans. It is nothing more than a glorified sandwich.

The line to the restaurant went out the door into the damp and blistering air, but we quickly moved inside.

The cafeteria style restaurant served southern classic foods, like fried chicken, a ham dinner and whatever else a clogged artery would desire. I had the Ferdi Special, which included ham, roast beef, debris (shredded roast beef), coleslaw and whatever else they had laying around, but it turned out to be delicious. I could only eat half of the po’ boy though.

We spent two-hours at dinner having great conversations, and I even went on a soapbox after several of us began talking about the benefits or lack thereof of athletic departments at universities.

John Barthell, provost for the University of Central Oklahoma, warned me to not start on the subject, but I did anyways. If you know me, then you probably know my opinion on the subject.

After my soapbox, we continued to have great conversations about varying subjects. We had to say farewell to one of the students, Sarah Anderson, from the University of Kansas, who had to leave in the morning. It was sad to see her leave, but I know that paths always cross sometime in the future.

john-barthell-and-melina-perez

CAPTION: Dr. John Barthell, provost of the University of Central Oklahoma, talks with Melina Pérez, a student at the University of Puerto Rico Rio Piedras.

HEAD PHOTO CAPTION: Melina Pérez, a student at the University of Puerto Rico Rio Piedras, talks with conference goer , Spiro Mavroidis, a biology professor at the University of Mount Union.

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