I’m going to a conference

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!

By Adam Bockler

Adam Bockler is a B2B marketing professional, a black belt martial arts instructor, DDP Yoga instructor, and a personal trainer.


  1. Hey, I’ve presented research at a couple conferences. There are 2 things I can do while speaking that if you have a similar capability I recommend you use it. One is to not not necessarily tell a joke but to be humorous while talking. I’m not saying be a clown, but talk to your audience the way you would with a person in a one on one because you’re more likely to hold their interest that way. People always tell jokes to open because it lightens the mood and gets people listening, but if you can just keep a friendly humorous tone and not get weighed down by your own speech or start to drone, you’ll have a lot more people listening and participating. Second thing would be to know what your best method of preparation is for the actual speech. Normally I’d say there’re two ways to go about it: 1) memorize the speech nearly completely 2) pick focus points and fill them as you go. I prefer the 2nd option, knowing what I want to talk about in what order first, knowing how that builds my argument, and then I add in a few extra prep things to keep it all moving like segues. Learning any talking point that contains facts or data obviously means also memorizing that data, and it should just be considered part of that talking point when you’re prepping. I like doing it this way because if you’re used to talking it takes some of the pressure off, and if you already have a pretty good handle on the material it keeps you from sounding stiff and over-rehearsed. Good luck!

    1. Thanks Matt!

      I’m going to e-mail them on Monday and see what the format is. I’m almost under the impression that this is a small group dialogue and is less formal in terms of a presentation. I’ve looked at submitting to another conference and it seems more like what you might be talking about. But I definitely need to investigate more about it.

      I’ll keep your tips in mind, no matter what the format of the conference is, and see if I can connect them to what I’m doing. Thanks again.

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