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Social Science: How to Shine at Scientific Meetings

Social Science

Presented By


Although science is often portrayed in the media as a cold, strictly rational endeavor, scientists know that developing relationships and communicating effectively at conferences through seminars, poster presentations, and networking is vital to their careers. Yet the art of communication is often neglected in scientific training. To give students and postdocs some tips for getting the most out of professional meetings, Science Alliance asked Michael Zigmond from the University of Pittsburgh and Colin Purrington of Swarthmore College to present a webinar on this topic on May 2, 2009.

According to Michael Zigmond, attendees must be prepared, practice for encounters that may be difficult at first, and develop an understanding of the unspoken conventions of the scientific conference. And one way to attract people with whom to network is to have an engaging poster that stands out from the rest. Colin Purrington described how to design such a presentation.

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Michael Zigmond, PhD

University of Pittsburgh
e-mail | web site

Michael Zigmond is associate director of the Survival Skills and Ethics Program at the University of Pittsburgh, where he is a member of the Pittsburgh Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases and a professor of neurology, psychiatry, and neurobiology. He also is the director of the Morris K. Udall Center of Excellence for Parkinson's Disease Research.

Colin Purrington, PhD

Swarthmore College
e-mail | web site

Colin Purrington is an associate professor in the Departament of Biology at Swarthmore College. Purrington's research interest is in the evolution of parasitic and twining plants. He received a PhD in ecology and evolutionary biology from Brown University in 1994.