My experience at VSSA was extremely challenging for me. This was the very first conference I have ever attended where I presented my research to an audience. I have been to a few conferences in the past and presented during the poster sessions, but standing in the front of a room full of scholars and professionals was new (and scary) for me. Going to VSSA was a great opportunity and I am so glad that I pushed through and presented my research even though I was nervous. I highly recommend VSSA as a first presentation conference for young scholars. The people were extremely friendly and you truly feel support from everyone there.
On April 2, 2016, I attended the 89th Annual Meeting of the Virginia Social Science Association (VSSA) at Lynchburg College. The mission of the organization is: “Bringing together all groups related to the social science disciplines of Anthropology, Business, Criminal Justice, Economics, Geography, History, International Relations, Political Science, Psychology, and Sociology.” With an undergraduate in Political Science and Homeland Security, and an aspiring Masters Degree in Sociology/Social Policy/Criminal Justice, this at first glance seemed to be the perfect conference to first attend—and I was right! It WAS! I fully enjoyed attending the VSSA Conference because there were faculty and students presenting and moderating from all over Virginia!
I met many new people, including my moderator (who was from The University of Virginia), a professor from Norfolk State University, and another student from Lynchburg whose research topic resembled mine in that we both utilized Strain Theory as a basis for our thesis. This was the first time I ever had the chance to meet with others in my field outside of my department at Longwood, and it was refreshing! Being that my undergraduate degree was in a different field, some of the terminology for me is still foreign. Thus, just as with any new language, it is imperative to converse with those who know the language so that you can practice in a more realistic form that the classroom. I was able to better grasp the research topics that everyone else presented on, and also how to most effectively answer information regarding my own presentation. My topic was entitled, “The Effects of Marijuana and Amphetamines on Future Expectations of Students”, and it was an overall great experience that resulted in growth, more expansion in my field’s language/terminology, and also more compatibility and conference in my own research topic. I appreciated this experience a lot, and I am glad that I was able to represent Longwood in such a professional setting!
Although attending ASC 2015 Annual Conference was not my first experience at a conference, it was by far my favorite! The mere size and attendance was overwhelmingly large but very enlightening. I loved being able to attend the many presentations and also present my current research at the second poster session! Having leading scholars stop by my poster was extremely nerve wracking, however, also very exciting! I was able to talk to many people around the United States, as well as meet a researcher from Toronto, Canada. Sharing our experiences about our current research and our future plans was so nice and we plan on meeting up at our next conference!
I think its extremely important to step out of your comfort zone and travel to such conferences because they allow for you to feel a sense of independence in a way you may not otherwise experience. Coming from a small town lifestyle and a very protective set of parents, while I was always encouraged to follow my dreams I never actually felt the independence of going away to school; this conference changed that for me. I believe conferences are a great way to create connections and build relationships with scholars in your field of interest, while also exposing you to the importance of doing research.
ASC was so much fun for me and I owe a big thanks to Dr. Connie Koski in the Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminal Justice studies department for pushing me, challenging me, and being there for me throughout my undergraduate and graduate career at Longwood! Had she never come to Longwood, I am unsure I would have ever pursued independent research that brought me to ASC!
Overall, attending this conference is something that I can take with me for the rest of my life; in experience, knowledge, and academic credentials on my resume and I am so thankful for such an opportunity!
As a graduate student, the opportunity to present research and gain experience through a conference setting is vital. The benefits we gained from this experience are irreplaceable, and being granted the chance to network and discuss future research with other graduate students and professors was most helpful. As an upcoming graduate, this experience helped me to gain a better understanding of the expectations at conferences as well as gave me an advantage in my career search. All three of us in attendance from Longwood University feel as though this was a most beneficial conference to attend and see all of our hard work pay off.
Three of us from the grad program offered a presentation on our Stats research. Alas, our professor chose New Orleans over downtown Norfolk (DUH), but she kept in constant contact. My presentation sparked more interest than I had anticipated. Presenting a “work in progress” is an excellent way to pave your way to future conferences and publication (not that I have my name on any YET). Thanks to Norfolk State for being our host and thanks to Navycop and Libertygirl for sharing this experience with me.
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We were honored to represent Longwood University at The Virginia Social Science Association conference on March 28, 2015. We each had a chance to present our findings varying from gun control to disability. We had a wonderful time learning from our fellow graduate and undergraduate sociology students. The information we took in will help us develop as speakers and as researchers. I know that we were all thankful for the opportunity to speak, and also the hospitality of the Norfolk State staff.