This week has been the best week ever.
On Tuesday night, I found out I’m going to a conference because of a paper I wrote.
I worked on it all last semester in a class about intellectual property law – patents, trade secrets, trademarks and all that stuff. But my interest was/is in copyright – specifically, how today’s copyright and hot news misappropriation laws (in the United States, anyway) line up with blogs and online aggregators.
The event is the 37th Annual DePauw Undergraduate Honors Conference, held in Greencastle, Ind., at DePauw University. Apparently, DePauw is the birthplace of the Society of Professional Journalists after students founded an honorary journalistic fraternity there years ago.
I’d never heard of the place until Ed Lamoureux, my teacher and advisor, recommended that I submit my paper there. I’m really thankful that Ed pushed for me to enter it because it sounds like a great opportunity to network and prepare myself for grad school.
But, to be honest, the thought crossed my mind to not go.
The conference is from April 7-9, about a month before finals begin at Bradley. I was perfectly content with knowing that I had written something good enough to get recognized by an outside committee of people I didn’t know. As my tai chi instructor stated one time, “The honor is not in me performing, the honor is in you asking me to come.”
For better or worse, that attitude doesn’t really put me ahead in any grad school application. “Yeah, I got invited to go to a conference but…decided not to.”
I’ve applied for grant money to fund my trip, and after reading some information about the conference, I’m actually eager to go.
DePauw scholars started the conference in 1975, according to their site, after realizing that their undergraduates were just as capable of producing quality work as their graduate students were.
The call for papers generally nets 80-100 submissions, and 30 are selected each year. The conference also mostly garners twice as many women than men.
It looks like only 2 papers from Bradley University students have been selected over the years, though the site stops listing entries after 1995 – clearly, this site isn’t updated often.
This is a unique opportunity for me since I’ve never done anything like this before. I’m curious as to how many of Bradley’s interactive media or journalism students go to a conference such as this on a regular basis. My guess is few, as Bradley – at least in the IM and communication departments – seems to have more of a focus on practical knowledge and getting a job than doing graduate-level work.
I hope the conference at DePauw goes well – that my roommate is cool, that they have good food and that they don’t tear my paper apart.
I’m also at submitting this paper to the AEJMC conference in St. Louis this August, which seems bigger and much more intimidating than this one in DePauw.
But hopefully, by then, I’ll be prepared for it.
If you have any tips on attending this conference – what to wear, how to prepare, anything at all – please let me know. And if you are attending this conference, contact me so we can get to know each other beforehand!