Orlando Genetics Meeting in a Nutshell

I AM FINALLY HOME. My trip was awful, but the meeting itself was very nice. Once I am more recovered, I plan on writing about some of the talks I really liked. But for now, a brief recap of the past week.


Get to the airport early, get through security like a champ (however they find my hair suspicious for some reason. It might be so thick that it blocks the scanner?), find my gate, get on the plane. But then a storm in Chicago (where my connection was) prevented us from taking off for an hour. And then there was a storm here! So we actually took off over an hour after we were supposed to.

We get to Chicago 20 minutes before my connecting flight boards…and that gate is in a different terminal. I have two options: run, or take a shuttle that only arrives every 15 minutes. I run for it. If you happened to see a stressed girl running through the Chicago airport last Wednesday, that was me, and I apologize. I was able to get to my gate right before boarding was scheduled.

Boarding was slightly delayed. I didn’t have to run after all. We board, and since there was a backup of planes trying to leave Chicago, we sat on the plane without moving for yet ANOTHER hour.

Eventually, I get to Orlando, check in, put my super soft poster up and then wander. I missed all the mixer events (which I didn’t have a ticket to anyway) so I just wandered around a little. Also, my boss beat me to the meeting.


I find breakfast, I go to talks, I go eat lunch. However, there was a ticketed event around lunchtime I wanted to go to, however I chose lunch instead. I didn’t eat much the day before (due to airport shenanigans) so the lunch buffet was welcome. Afternoon- more talks and the poster session.

I hate poster sessions. Usually they are an hour, and you have to wait for people to come ask you about your poster. Five people asked, but only two cared about my new data. The others only wanted to learn about my Fiji Plugin. It’s not even MY plugin, I didn’t code it, I merely used it. Before and after the poster sessions, I lurked and chatted with vendors. I was too nervous to really talk to  After the poster session, I ran into a professor I know and chatted with her, and then later ran into her student. We had dinner and complained about things and it was really nice. I’m very glad I ran into her. I also just barely spoke to my boss. Not because we are on bad terms (we aren’t), but I was trying to be independent during this meeting. I have a habit of clinging to people when I am in new situations and I want to change that.

There was a Science Comedian Show on Thursday night. I expected it to be lame, since it was supposed to be about how to communicate science better. That is very important, but at that time, I just wanted some entertainment. Luckily, it was really great.


Wake up and go to many talks. Many many talks. A really good thing was that they supplied coffee and tea for us, and they had the BEST tea selection.  There was Tetley, and also Mighty Leaf. Wow, so delicious. I ate lunch, and then went swimming. The hotel had a beautiful outdoor pool, so I played around there a bit. There was also an indoor pool, but I never had a chance to swim in it.

Went to another poster session and harassed (?) more vendors. The GSA had a booth that had a prize wheel and also a little stage for mini-presentations (such as how to write titles that do not suck) and I ultimately won a T-shirt. All my luck this week went into that T-shirt.

Friday night, there was a Women in Genetics meeting.  I’m still unsure how I feel about that, since it made me feel a little depressed about my personality and being a scientist. It gave me a lot to think about.


There was a workshop on careers in Academia, and then one immediately afterwords that was about Non-Academic careers. I was hoping for tips on how to get a Post-Doc and how to break into industry. Instead, I got tips for interviewing to be a PI, and information from people who no longer do any sort of wet-lab research. There were 2 CEOs of startups, a database curator (which actually seems like an awesome job, but maybe a little boring), a science writer (I am not going back to school, as much as I’d like to be a science writer. Maybe I’ll just have a blog instead), and an assistant editor (I think she lacked a PhD, but her job also seemed amazing!) The workshops didn’t really tell me what I was hoping to hear, but instead reinforced that I need to network more.

The final poster session came and went, and I had a few more people talk to me, but they only want the plugin. At some point, I think I signed up for a free trial miniprep kit, and I talked to the booth that did mouse genome database curation. I think I’d be more interested in fly database curation (Hello Flybase!), but I am also unsure if that is what I would want to do either.


I get up early, get the room straightened, head to the airport. Orlando has a very nice airport. However, once there, I am bumped to a flight to Houston instead of Chicago. I put all my effort into not crying at the nice United agent, and she gets it all worked out. I was mostly worried about my checked luggage. I bum around, eat some Panda Express knock-0ff Chinese food (it was really delicious), and then fly to Houston.

I had never been to Texas before, so I suppose that is nice and new. Their airport seems much friendlier than the Chicago airport. I got some ice cream and an overpriced turkey sandwich.  However, I was stuck there for over six hours. My flight was on time, however there was engine trouble so the pilot decided to not fly it. It took two hours to get a new plane in, but once it arrived, they got us on and flew us home.

Yesterday, I was supposed to get home around 7:30pm, but it was midnight when I actually got home.

I am very divided over the entire experience. All of my traveling was awful (and then today when I told everyone of my misfortune, they were all ‘Why did you not fly Southwestern?!? It is so much cheaper?!?!?’ Ah well when I booked my flights, it was not cheaper and I only have so much Women’s Council money)(also, my boss’s flights to and from the meeting went perfectly smoothly. Bah.) but the meeting itself was fine.

The talks I went to were all great. I tried to go to a talk from at least every genetic model (Fly, C. elegans, Ciliate, Yeast, Zebrafish, Population, Evolutionary and Quantitaive Genomics), and was successful…except for Mouse. None of the mouse talks really grabbed my attention, and I am also so internally resistant to doing mouse research myself. I don’t care that the NIH wants to fund it the most. The other genetic models just appeal to me more.

Unless he has forgotten, my boss wants me to talk about some of the things I liked from this meeting at lab meeting this week, so I will try to organize my thoughts by Thursday.


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