[image above] Lunch sponsored by Saint-Gobain made efficient use of the lunchtime publishing workshop. Credit: ACerS
By Hui Li
Now in the third year of my Ph.D. life in materials science, PACRIM12 is the first time that I got the chance to attend a science conference in the field as a speaker. Before I came to PacRim, I did not know what to expect from a conference like this PacRim Ceramic and the Glass and Optical Materials Division meeting, and it looked a bit overwhelming to me. However, it turned out to be the most inspiring and instructive event I’ve had so far in my Ph.D. research experience.
The meeting exceeded my expectation withere so many helpful and informative talks and workshops going on during the conference. Of all the sessions I attended, the publishing workshop was the one I found most helpful and encouraging. Publishing has always been of interest to me, but sometimes a little bit intimidating in terms of how and where to publish, how other people review the work, how to convey my information—especially as an English-as-a-second language speaker—and how to write better so my work won’t be hidden by the language barrier.
The publishing workshop gave me all the answers. The three speakers not only gave basic knowledge of how each journal works from head to toe, but also some personal experience when it comes to publishing and writing. And I did find it truly helpful and encouraging to hear people asking questions about publishing and writing during the Q&A section. It gave me a sort of comfort that I was not the only one who was struggling at the beginning. And, it is also very useful to know that we could volunteer to be paper reviewers for journals, which I hadn’t thought of before!
I am really grateful for such an amazing opportunity to attend this conference with so many inspiring talks at this point of my research career. Being in the lab every day, focusing mainly on my own project, sometimes is quite stressful and frustrating, and even discouraging. It is refreshing to listen to what other experts in the field are working on, what are other people’s mindsets in approaching scientific puzzles, and how many puzzles are out there. We love our jobs and our research—which is for sure—but it is also nice to know that so many people share the same interest as we do, and that what we are doing caught more and more attention from not only the scientific society but also the whole world.
Attending the Young Investigator Forum was refreshing. It extended my view of how academics and industry supporting scholars to make miracles happen, of what is emerging as the next application of materials, of the fascinating challenges in the field.
All in all, the experience I had at the 12th PacRim Conference is very instructive and encouraging, and also inspiring from many aspects and all kinds of reasons. Not to mention that it was happening in such beautiful Hawaiian environment, which even made things so much better!
Editor’s note: Li is a recipient of an NSF-funded travel grant to attend PacRim12. The award was made to Surojit Gupta of the University of North Dakota.