We're a little crazy, about science!

Day 67: On being a student coordinator


Look at my beautiful wiring job!!!!

I figure we can finish out the week by talking about yet another project that doesn’t involve my research. I’m a student chair for a workshop for neurotech entrepreneurs. Fun fact: I’ve never done this before. Yep, there has to be a first time for everything you do and this will be my first time attempting to run one of these things. Let’s talk about what that looks like.

This week we’ve talked about Skype a scientist, we’ve talked about our lab outreach, we’ve even seen some of the lab tour photos! However, there is even more we do as researchers, well student researchers. That involves helping things like this neurotech conference that will be happening in December. There is a lot going on for something like this as you can imagine, there are quite a bit of moving parts!

From vendors to funding, speakers to agenda, when putting together a successful conference, there are a lot of behind the scenes things that you never really think about. It’s a learning experience for sure and as an entrepreneur myself looks around website there is a lot we can cover and not a lot of time to cover it all.

The problem is that most people stop after finding a solution to a problem, unfortunately when starting a company, that is’t the end; it is literally the beginning. So we need to cover things like market analysis, how do you know if you have a good product? How do you get funding for your product? Why should people fund your product? There are so many questions and just as many solutions it is mind boggling that we can do this in a two and a half day workshop.

Thankfully we have help and as one of a group of student coordinators, we are specifically involved in creating the agenda, selecting the people attending, assigning the speakers, and creating the project the attendees will work on while at the workshop. It can be a bit overwhelming, but again that is the thing with doing a PhD, there are quite a bit of things that you need to do that don’t involve your research. This happens to be one I volunteered for because I think that being an entrepreneur can be a rewarding experience. If you are in a position that you can try it, I highly recommend it, it isn’t for everyone, but it can be very rewarding and sometimes… dare I say… fun?

Today we have yet another conference call to review our agenda, finalize the speakers, and just hammer out the details. We have about a month to get everything sorted before we are out of time, but overall we are in a good space. If you’re one of the 30 that is attending the event, come say hi. I’m very excited and proud to be part of this event, so while this isn’t part of the research I am doing, it is still a very valuable learning experience.

Tip to anyone reading, if you have the chance to do something like this, I highly recommend it. If not, if you have the chance to attend an event like this, well that is the next best thing! Not everything has to focus on research, a PhD is a lot like life in that sense, it isn’t just one thing, I think I like the fact that it isn’t as monotonous as your normal 9-5 job that people gravitate towards and that’s really what keeps me interested. You never know what is going to happen next and as the conference gets closer, expect to see some updates and photos from the event!

Until next time, don’t stop learning!

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