Friday, November 16, 2012

NWSA Conference 2012

Okay, as you all know from my last post, I went to the NWSA annual conference this year, which was held at the Oakland Convention Center (Yay!) I was lucky enough to be a student volunteer, which got me in to the rest of the conference for free!  Here are the highlights, in no particular order:

  • I saw Patricia Hill Collins and Angela Davis as they checked in at registration!  I mean, I was too much of a wuss to, you know, ask them to take a picture with me, or even to talk to them, but I saw them, IN PERSON, and that was good enough for me.  Perhaps in the future I will muster up the courage to shake their hands and ask if they would be so kind as to pose with me for a quick photo op. One can only hope.
  • Because my shifts for volunteering were Thursday (which didn't have any sessions that I could attend) and Friday, I was able to go to sessions Friday afternoon, all of Saturday and Sunday.  I'm not gonna lie, I felt kind a like a bad-ass.  Look at me, all grown up, going to conferences and listening people present their research!
  • Volunteers got free food, so I saved some cash this week!
  • I actually asked questions during the Q&A!  This is actually kind of a big deal for me, only because I am naturally shy when I'm around people I don't know, and these presenters are people who are doing their own research at universities around the country!  It is really intimidating to be surrounded by these all these women (and men) with Master's degrees and Ph.Ds, and here I am, a lowly undergrad with so much more to learn!  But I really forced myself to ask at least 1 question at 1 panel a day, and I did that, for which I am proud. 
  • I got contact info! From presenters!  Who want to continue the conversation around their projects, which I'm really interest in and excited about!  I know one of the big things about conferences is to make connections and network, but like I said, I can be incredibly, PAINFULLY shy and it's a big deal to have people wanting to establish a dialogue with me. I know, some of you are like "Ndeya? Shy?" But seriously, I can be.
  • I got to see my own future.  I mean, when you're in school, you're working hard and all that, but you begin to wonder, where is this taking me?  When I'm done with school, what will I do?  Being at the conference gave me a glimpse into the future, a look at what I could be doing as a graduate student, as a professional.  I was thinking, ooh, I could do research on X subject or Y subject and present it at a conference!  I could go out into the world and help women, and spread the word!  I dunno, I just thought that was cool.
Bag of Swag-- which really just had the program guide in it.

I won't go into the details on all the panels I attended, but let me give you an idea of what I heard while I was there.  I attended a panel where a presenter described her paper on the expression of female identity on Pinterest (pretty neat!), another panel on sexual violence, which included a paper lolita and rape culture, a caucus meeting for mothering studies in which a paper about 3rd wave feminism in the blogosphere, and a panel on feminist futures without prisons. Also, I attended a REALLY crowded panel about Nicki Minaj and the consumption culture of Hip Hop.  Pretty cool stuff, you really should've been there.

It was all awesome!  I feel motivated to continue my studies, to keep the dialogue open about social justice issues and to keep on this path to public health research and midwifery on which I seem to have found myself.

Side note: for those of you who were in Mr. Dellis's Government class with me (or if you've ever had a class with him at all), I totally still do an internal wave whenever I hear the word caucus-- and I heard it quite a few times over the course of the conference!

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