Last week I had the pleasure of attending the 15th annual Riboclub Meeting, held at the Hôtel Chéribourg in Mount Orford, Quebec. The conference was held over three days, with each day hosting multiple sessions and poster competitions featuring a cornucopia of RNA-related topics. The atmosphere was friendly and welcoming.
As a student just beginning the second year of my M.Sc. in the Li Lab, I had low expectations when I submitted my abstract. I was thrilled and surprised when I was chosen to give an oral presentation – and I was subsequently invited to participate in the poster competition as well.
On the day of the talk, while I was uploading my presentation, one of the professors, Nancy Greenbaum, approached me. “It’s okay to breathe,” she said jokingly. I told her it was my first talk, and she was exceptionally supportive. “Just have fun with it,” she advised. I was pleasantly surprised by the kindness and approachability of the attendees – the students, postdocs, and the professors.
When giving the talk, I took Dr. Greenbaum’s advice and relaxed. I even (successfully) cracked a joke! Although I took a little longer than the given timeframe (as observed by Dr. Ian Eperon, there appears to be “very special relativity” relating time as perceived by the presenter vs. the audience), my talk was well-received and generated excitement among those present.
I am grateful to Dr. Li for his eagerness to send students to conferences such as this, where they can not only present their research, but network and confer with others in the field. Whenever I return from conferences (this one being no exception) I am amazed at how inspired I am by the work of others. It motivates me to be a better scientist.