IAVCEI Scientific Assembly, Portland, USA, 14-18 August 2017
To coordinate ECR activities in Portland, the ECR-Net WG partnered with the local organising committee (LOC) and formed an ‘Early Career Researchers organising committee’. This committee was composed of LOC member Mike Poland and ECR-Net WG members Hannah Dietterich, Sam Poppe and Charlotte Vye-Brown, with organisational support from the other ECR-Net WG members. Ideas for events and initiatives largely came from brainstorming by the WG and feedback on the ECR-Net Facebook and Twitter pages. The two latter channels were also extensively used to publicise all IAVCEI 2017 ECR-Net events, in addition to the IAVCEI 2017 social media channels.
Sunday August 13th – Workshops for ECRs
The Early Career conference program kicked off on Sunday with two pre-meeting workshops aimed at ECR attendees. In the morning, Shan de Silva and Nancy Riggs ran a workshop on “Navigating the Publication Process: Best Publishing Practices in Volcanology and the Physical Sciences for Early-Career Scientists.” This was attended by 42 ECRs. Then in the afternoon, Beth Bartel led a workshop with 24 attendees on “Communicating Science for Impact.” We extend a big “thank you” to Wendy Bohrson and these workshop conveners for putting these together!
Sunday August 13th – Mentor-mentee face-to-face meeting
When registering for the conference, attendees could opt to become a mentor for ECRs or receive a mentor as an ECR. The goal was to provide a channel for ECRs to get to know a more experienced scientist at the conference and facilitate the social difficulty of tapping the shoulder of a senior colleague. A total of 216 ECR mentees registered, ranging from undergraduates to new lecturers, along with 93 mentors. Mentor and mentees were grouped based on broad research interests and ensuring a range of career stages. Groups were contacted via email prior to the conference and encouraged to set up a rendezvous at the conference icebreaker. During the icebreaker, an ECR-Net meeting spot sign was erected and ECR-Net WG members were present to assist the meeting up and organise last-minute pairings. Feedback was mostly positive, with mentors offering advice, networking introductions, or even going above and beyond and taking their mentees for a meal! Massive thanks from the entire ECR community to all mentors for their involvement!
Monday August 14th – Early Career social event
The traditional ECR-Net activity is a social event providing an informal atmosphere over drinks and food to aid networking, get-to-know and sharing experiences specific to the ups and downs of an early career volcanologist’s life. This year’s event took place in the Skyline Ballroom of Portland’s downtown Hilton hotel, with stunning sunset views of the city and surrounding majestic volcanoes! Attendance was well above expectations, with 350-400 ECRs and not-so-ECRs mingling and enjoying local beers and food. This evening would not have been possible without sponsors including Nanometrics, Journal of Petrology, Google and many others, and ended on a high note with LOC members Jon Major and Mike Poland handing out IAVCEI’s very own special brew!
Tuesday August 15th – Early Career fair
As contact with senior mentors was a returning request in our community polls, we organized an early career fair. This event took place at Rock Bottom Brewery in downtown Portland. A diverse panel of senior scientists sat dispersed at tables throughout the room, chatting to ECR colleagues on designated themes: “Equality and diversity in science” (Lizzette Rodriguez), “Interaction with the media” (Nico Fournier), “Writing a successful grant proposal” (Denny Geist, Jenn Wade, Sonia Esperanca), “Career guidance and research impact” (Steve Sparks), “Getting published” (Wendy Bohrson, Amy Whitchurch, Melissa Plial), “Mentoring and advising students” (Kathy Cashman), “Finding a work/life balance” (Marie Edmonds), “Jobs in government and observatories” (Aline Peltier), “Jobs in academia” (Paul Wallace) and “Jobs in industry” (Andrew Moore - Nanometrics, John Bailey - Google). We thank these industry representatives, Nanometrics and Google, along with the conference organisation, for sponsoring the event. The room was packed with ~250 ECR attendees and the fair lasted for 90 minutes, during which ECRs had the chance to rotate 6-7 times between the topic tables. We spotted smiles of excitement, concentrated listeners and intensive discussions, and the fact that many stuck around until late proved the success of the event. Huge acknowledgement here again from the entire ECR community to all the senior mentors for their involvement in this exercise!
Thursday August 17th – Lunch panel discussion on “Scientific communication during a crisis”
A panel of experienced science communicators was gathered during lunchtime at the Oregon Convention Center to discuss the challenges, lessons learned and opportunities of communication during a volcanic crisis. The panel included Patty Mothes (Escuela Politécnica Nacional, Ecuador), Carolyn Driedger (US Geological Survey), Peter Frenzen (US Forest Service), Cassandra Profita (Oregon Public Broadcasting) and Freystein Sigmundsson (University of Iceland), and discussions were moderated by Susanna Jenkins (Earth Observatory Singapore). We polled our community beforehand about questions or challenges they would like to see the panel comment on, and allowed the audience (we counted close to 100 attendees) to ask their own questions as well. The discussions, and especially the interaction between the scientists and media representative in the panel provided several fruitful insights, and one hour proved way too short to address the topic fully. This article is too short to elaborate on the outcome, but a summary and potentially a video will be made available on the ECR-Net’s social media outlets and VHUB channel.