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By Dr. Chris Cate Vice President of Research at Student veterans of America
Submitting a conference proposal may seem like a lot of work for very little in return. You may spend hours or days by yourself or working with others in developing an idea, writing a proposal, then submitting it. Then you have to wait and see if all the work paid off and the conference committee accepted it. But, before you pass on the opportunity to submit a proposal and the chance to present at a conference, here are five reasons why you should spend the time on a conference proposal and give yourself the chance to present.
Contribute to and learn about the most recent advances in the field
Conference presentations allow you to present your program or research during its various stages of development (e.g., creation, implementation, evaluation, revision). This allows you to present your most recent updates and receive constructive feedback from colleagues and others in the field, which helps you to continue develop and improve your program or research. Additionally, you will have the opportunity to attend diverse presentations and panels while at the conference. As these presentations often represent the most cutting-edge programs and research, they can provide you with valuable information to take back to your chapter, schools, and organizations.
Raises awareness for your program and research
Perhaps one of the most important benefits from conference presentations is the ability to share your program or research with a large and diverse group or people. You will be able to introduce your program or research to other conference attendees in different fields, policy makers, stakeholders, and the public while also representing your chapter, school, or organization allows. It is important that we share our programs and research with diverse groups of people to increase its visibility and raise awareness.
Developing your skills to discuss our community and your growing knowledge
Conferences provide a way for you to practice your presentation skills and can help you develop the expertise needed to discuss your program and research in a clear and meaningful way to diverse groups. Learning how to answer specific questions and present to a wide-range of individuals (who may or may not be familiar with your field, program, or research) will help you in other endeavors, including future school or work presentations.
Contribute to your overall resume or vitae and professional development
When you enter the job market, you are competing against others for jobs or graduate school openings. Conference presentations on your resume/vitae shows potential employers and advisors that you have experience synthesizing information into an audio-visual format and presenting it to others, open to new ideas and constructive feedback, and keeping up on the cutting-edge best practices and research in your field. Moreover, if you receive travel awards or grants from your school, these can be added to your list of awards and honors. These lines on your resume/vitae may be the deciding factor between you and other potential job candidates.
Meet others in this field and potential contacts for future positions
Presenting at conferences gives you the opportunity to meet others with similar interests, to discuss your work, and learn valuable information from people working on similar programs and research. Establishing contacts with others in this field will expand your professional network, development professional friendships who can be resources for you at any stage of your career. An additional advantage of meeting others with common professional interests is creating contacts for future employment or graduate school applications. Furthermore, presenting at conferences makes you recognizable to future employers increasing your likelihood of being considered for a future position.
It may seem like the effort is not worth the reward, but presenting at a conference helps your professional development and you will be contributing to the field. In short, attending and presenting at conferences offers a myriad of opportunities to help you stand out and advance your professional development. Consider Student Veterans of America’s 11th Annual National Conference as a place to begin. Call for Proposals and Reviewers are now open.