This past week I have had the privilege to attend a science conference at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. I was given this opportunity by a fellow scientist, Tami Lapilusa. We both met each other formally at another conference this past year in The Bahamas: the 2nd Annual Natural History of The Bahamas Conference held in Nassau, New Providence. Since then, we have kept in contact.
I found out about this conference for high school and college students, graduates, recent graduates (in the past 4 years), PhD canidates and PhDs from Lapilusa on her Facebook. If it wasn’t for that one moment, I would not have known about this. She is a long time ‘commuter’ between the United States and The Bahamas as most become once they discover its natural beauty. She has worked at Forfar Field Station and knows Doc and Dr. Joe very well. At the Natural History of the Bahamas Conference, she presented on her findings on the genetics on the Bahamian Land Crab. For SCCSNY, she presented a poster during SCCSNY on her research for the land crab and she had her own mentor table.
I was tempted to join her but realized…I shared a hotel with her 🙂 So no need to sign up for lunch if we stayed and slept in the same building. Can anyone say sleep over?
There were so many excellent talks from all walks of life. What I loved the most? The overwhelming majority of diverse females that were there. Black, White, Asian, Caribbean, African, etc. so many walks of life from my gender that it was amazing. I was so honored to have met so many forward thinking women, many of whom who are PhD candidates. it is completely empowering for someone such as I. Not only am I black, but I have natural hair that has been deemed by society as not acceptable for the business world.
This is what I have to say about that: Dr. Kiki Jenkins, Dr. Ayana Jenkins, and PhD candidates Rae Wynn-Grant and Alexandra Sutton. Look these powerful ladies up and see what work they have done and continue to do. Dr. Kiki has dreadlocks and the others have afro hair such as myself. Because of these ladies, I have a new vigour to continue in this conservation realm and not double think about my hair. The tag home message: don’t let the standards of society dictate who you are as a person. Show them with your hards work ethic. If they don’t want you because of your physical appearance, there is someone out there who would want you because of what you produce in your work.
I have always been told about how my hair looks for the business world, especially conservation. That in itself is another post that is in the making.
Back to the conference: It was a three day event from the 15th to the 17th of October with the first two days focusing mainly on presentations and networking purposes. The final day was left for morning and afternoon workshops which I attended both. Both very informative and personalized to the group that attended.
The main purpose of this conference, in my opinion, was to encourage more individuals to pursue conservation and network. The networking is huge for college students, graduates, recent graduates, and potential PhDs. This is because for many of us, we do not know what the next step in our career should be except school, school, school. We are unaware of the opportunities that are available and how to go about them. Little things such as liking your school and advisor to grant writing and funding opportunities.
I have met so many wonderful people. Thank you AMNH and LaPilusa for this opportunity. I would not have grown so much if it wasn’t for both of you.