June 13, 2012
My experience at the International Polar Year Conference held in Montreal this year was just that – an experience! I was able to attend APECS workshops the weekend leading up to the conference, and on the evening of the workshop meet and greet excitement was in the air. Between so many “early career scientists” buzzing to exchange research ideas and the student riots happening outside of the Palais des Congrès the atmosphere was contagious. As a social science researcher, one of the most productive and encouraging aspects of the IPY experience for me was attending the IASC Social & Human Sciences Working Group meeting. Because this conference has such a strong scientific focus, at times I found the break-out sessions challenging to relate to and to see how my own research fit. The SHS Working Group allowed me to hear about exciting social science work happening in Arctic areas and to understand more fully how my research will contribute to this. That realization was quite validating. Finally, I heard much talk about networking at this conference. Many researchers were eager to locate well known scientists around the conference hall. I also was able to network with “big name” international academics and researchers in the social science disciplines. More importantly, in my opinion, was that IPY gave me an opportunity to “network” with other early career scientists and get a sense of what is currently happening (under the radar in many cases)! I met some really interesting people who have done and continue to do important work in the Arctic. When I left the IPY conference I came away with a sense of feeling privileged to have the opportunity to do Arctic research and excited about what the future holds for the upcoming generation of social science Arctic researchers.
History MA candidate