Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Networking and Bacteria Sweater

Everyone is back from the SVP annual meeting and there's so many blog posts in the works! I've been reading as much as possible about the meeting and looking at photos, many of which picture people whose names I know and whose faces I'm not familiar with. It's fascinating, this little community of paleontologists. They're brilliant and funny and completely nerdy! I feel right at home. It's exactly the field I want to study, with exactly the right kind of people. And I'm starting to feel like it's within my reach...which is nice, since I'm still so fresh and it all seems so far away.

I've been thinking a lot about networking and how important it is. I actually started networking around age 12, when I decided that being a paleontologist way outweighed my other dream of being a movie star. It wasn't too long after Jurassic Park had come out (mind you, the dream of studying paleontology was around long before!!!) and I was getting regular issues of the "Dino Times." In one particular issue there was an interview with Peter Dodson. The article mentioned that Dr. Dodson worked at the University of Pennsylvania and I got on my detective hat and found his address. Over the course of three months or so, I regularly sent Dr. Dodson my drawings and he regularly sent me drawings as well, along with some advice on pursuing a career in paleontology.

Now, thirteen years later, I am still networking. I started off by joining the DML, though I've been mostly a lurker, since I don't have enough of an education to really contribute to the discussion. I've met paleo-bloggers of all ages and education levels, from all over the world. I've applied for membership to SVP, befriended paleontologists on Facebook andMyspace and started this here blog.

My hope is that next year, when I can afford to attend the annual SVP meeting, I'll go there and feel right at home. That way, my anxiety won't get in the way of my experience and I'll go home even more excited than ever.

Also, my new favorite keyword search that brings people to my blog: bacteria sweater.


Zach Miller said...

Tell ya what, Amanda. I've never been to SVP either, but I've desperately wanted to go for about five years now. If only these sorts of things were free!
But I'll start saving my pennies if you do, and then we can go together next year. We'll be SVP n00bs, and it will be glorious! :-)

Amanda said...

Sounds awesome, Zach. I'm a little disappointed that next year's meeting is in Ohio...but I'll live.

I like the n00bs thing...sounds like boobs, which is what I'll feel like being there with almost no paleontological education :) It'll be worth it just to meet people and get the experience! Maybe we should organize a blogger savings thing...where we pledge to put away so much money per week to go to SVP next year...

Sally said...

The savings thing isn't a bad idea...SVP broke my account. Thank goodness I get paid on Wednesday!

That being said...I hope you can make it! Julia said she would like to organize a paleo bloggers lunch for the next SVP and it would be loads of fun to attend!

Laelaps said...

It's alright, I'll be a n00b at SVP next year, too (and I'm not a professional in the least, either).

Funny you should mention Dr. Dodson and drawings; when I was about the same age (actually a little younger, I think) I met him and gave him some of my darwings. He signed an article I had about him discovering Avaceratops (he came up behind me and said "Hey, I recognize that guy, pointing to his picture"), but I have no idea where it is now. I really should get in touch with him again, especially since one of my own professors, Dr. William Gallagher, was one of his students.

I like the raising money for more people to go to SVP, though, especially for folks like you and Zach who really should be there. I don't know how we could organize it (maybe through the or PayPal donations?), but I'm sure if we all worked together we could pool some amount of money to take the edge off travel expenses over the next year.

Amanda said...

Brian - That's great...Peter Dodson was my hero as a kid...I used to tell people that I knew "the guy who discovered Avaceratops," which I thought made me sound SO cool (except it made me sound like a huge nerd). I was at an exhibit in the Miami Sci. Museum in June and he was in one of the films they showed...I turned to J and said, "hey...I know him...he's the guy that discovered Avaceratops." And of course, I still sounded like a nerd...and still though I was SO cool. I was thinkin' that the "savings" thing could be like "NaNoWriMo" (National Novel Writing Month) but where we pledged to put x$ in a savings account each week. It could be "NaSoVePaAnMeSaYe" (National Society of Vertebrate Paleontology Annual Meeting Savings Year)...and of course, donations would be welcome :)

Sally - Yeah...I bet...when I tried to last-minute go to this year's meeting, I realized that I would have to save for a LONG time to even be able to sleep indoors and eat something other than bread for the weekend.

Old Grimy said...

this is all well and good, but can you explain to me WHY i was directed to your site by searching for bacteria sweater????