My name is Jeramie Strickland and I am the Student Coordinator
for the Strategies for Ecology Education Development and Sustainability
(SEEDS) program of the ESA. I attended the 2005 Annual ESA Meeting
in Montreal, Canada as an ESA staff member. I will admit that
I went to the ESA Annual Meeting feeling nervous, overwhelmed,
and without any idea of what to expect as a recent college graduate,
ESA staff member, and fairly new to the Ecology profession. Prior
to the meeting, I heard so many stories about ESA Annual Meetings,
but I wanted to be sure to get the most out of the meeting and
have fun as well.
During the meeting, I attended several poster and oral research
sessions and SEEDS-specific events which include: SEEDS student,
mentor, and alumni orientation; Campus Ecology Chapter Meeting;
Advisory Board Meeting; Diversity Mixer; and SEEDS Program Workshop.
I also was able to help disseminate education and outreach materials
to other meeting participants while exhibiting at the ESA Education
My participation in this particular meeting was quite different
than any other meeting because I played sort of a ‘leadership
role’ by moderating the SEEDS Campus Ecology Chapter Meeting
and leading a workshop entitled SEEDS Program: How ESA Members
can get involved. Knowing that I had to lead and moderate a workshop
at a professional and science-based meeting, I often felt nervous
and overwhelmed because so many events were simultaneously taking
My advice to students is to just take on one event at a time and
before you know it, the meeting will be over. I would also encourage
students to not let the overwhelming feeling get to them because
it happens to everyone at some point during the meeting. In addition,
ESA Annual Meeting participants are so approachable and down-to-earth.
Researchers and ecologists offered advice and insights that can
be used forever. When you see thousands of people scrambling to
get to and from sessions, just look at it as if you share similar
interests with thousands of individuals across the globe. I feel
that communication is the key to success and the meeting allows
students and researchers to communicate effectively and share
their research findings, ideas, and thoughts with a larger audience.
I feel that it is imperative for scientists and students to implement
approaches to help improve communication with the community.
In closing, the ESA Annual Meeting was a life-changing experience
that opened my mind and heart to the many perspectives of ecology
and has solidified my decision to attend graduate school for the
fall 2006 semester. My experiences with ESA/SEEDS taught me many
lessons, but mainly to strive for excellence when faced with seemingly
insurmountable challenges that may unfold in the pursuit of higher
education. I left the meeting feeling confident that I am a better
person and ready to pursue advanced degrees in Ecology. Participating
in the meeting has helped me advance in academia, execute my professional
plans, career goals and research interests. I am so anxious and
cannot wait to go to Memphis for the 2006 ESA Annual Meeting!