An Emerging Scholar Awardee: My Networking and Chairing Experiences

Earlier this month, I attended the 10th Global Studies Conference (8-9 June). It was an exciting experience because:
2. I was one of the recipients of the Emerging Scholar Award!
3. It was held at the prestigious National University of Singapore (NUS). 

With the award, I received three great benefits:
1. An invitation to the conference that eliminated the registration fee, an important helping hand to my self-financed PhD journey.
2. An excellent networking position.
3. A boost to my academic conference experience because we had the roles of a chairperson in parallel sessions, technical assistant for presenters, leader of the Talking Circles, and presenter of my research. Amongst these given responsibilities, I enjoyed the chairing role.

Some of the awardees.

Conferences are essential to meet new people, exchange ideas and create future collaborations. An Emerging Scholar Awardee shares responsibilities with the organising team while participating in the conference. The position made it easier for me to connect with other participants because I could share information and provide relevant advice about the conference. 

Receiving a certificate from Dr. Philip Kalantzis-Cope, the chief of the organising team.

The organisers, Rachael Arcario and Laeh Ragans.

Along with this position, I meet other awardees from institutions in India, USA, Japan, Australia and Germany. In addition to the varying institutions, each of us was at different stages of our academic career. Some at the beginning of their PhD to those who just started their career in the academia. The combinations gave me an insight of different stages of academic life in different countries. We certainly had a fun time too! 

Some candid time!

A chairperson
I find that a chairperson needs to be energetic. It comes with the responsibility to ensure an orderly flow of each session while keeping a good dialogue for intellectual exchange. I gained two key skills from this role.

Questioning time at a parallel session.
Photo by Global Studies Research Network

First, keeping track of time is essential for a smooth transition of presentations. The problem was getting absorbed into presentations. It was a mission to be conscious yet attentive! Another time worrying issue was presenters extending their 20-minutes presentation. However, I was lucky for having cooperative presenters. Their presentations ended in a timely manner when I indicated of the minutes left.

Second, interconnecting the presenters and audience is essential for an engaging session. I began with introducing the session and presenters for the audience to know they were at their intended session. Pressed on time, I kept my introduction short to presenter’s name, institution and presentation title.

During question time, I strived to be inclusive, where all presenters could have one comment or question. Each of my three sessions gave a different experience:
1. The audience was highly engaged that I tried to make sure each had a chance to ask one question.
2. I noticed that one out three presenters were left out from the discussion. Based on my notes, I asked her a question to lead a dialogue on her topic.
3. The last presenter was a high school student, who presented about the global evolvement of coffee. Being non-native English and had only learnt the language in a year, he was reserved during discussion. I spoke to him after the conference and congratulated him on his courage. His accompanying parents seemed proud and happy.

I must admit that, as a new scholar, being a chair for esteemed colleagues was slightly terrifying. However, given the floor to practice, I got accustomed to the role and started enjoying it.

Blending in a discussion with presenters and audience.
Photo by Global Studies Research Network
Thank you
Once again, I have to thank the lovely organisers for giving me the privilege position. As an early career academic, the award is timely for my professional development.


Popular posts from this blog

My body and mind wellness at Barre Base to relax the busy mind

How to Get Academic Conference Work for a Student? (Part I)