This post is the second in my 2015 AOTA Conference Countdown series. Read the first post about how to be a successful student when missing classes for conference HERE!
Hello again! This week’s Conference Countdown post is all about how to make meaningful connections at the 2015 AOTA Annual Conference. Whether you’re a student, a first-time conference attendee, or a seasoned conference presenter, these tips will help you become a networking expert.
Although it may be a little late in the game for this post, I wanted to help spread the word and encourage everyone out there to vote in the 2015 AOTA elections! The deadline to vote is February 25, 2015, so don’t let it pass you by!
However you may feel about the different issues facing the profession, one thing is certain – your vote is your voice, and it’s important to be heard by the profession’s future leaders! Taking the time to learn about the candidates’ positions and plans for the profession is crucial because the decisions we make today may impact our profession for years to come.
In her most recent Rehab Potential video, blogger Sarah Lyon at OT Potential describes just how quick, simple, and important it is to vote and “help our [clients] by strengthening our national organization”! In less than two minutes, she eases potential fears about tackling a lengthy ballot, demonstrates some pretty legit networking skills, and directs you to the informative interviews she did with current candidates. And before you say “Oh no, all of this voting stuff will just take too much time…,” she also notes that it took her less than 1.5 minutes to vote. Everybody’s got time for that!
Sarah also did a great job of interviewing candidates from two of the key races (Director to the Board of Directors and Assembly of Student Delegates) and outlining their positions on various issues in very brief, easily digestible blog posts. Although the candidate blurbs available on the AOTA website are also helpful, I feel like her interviews provide more information about topics the candidates weren’t able to fit into such brief statements. You can check out her interviews and the candidates HERE!
Sarah is similar to me in that we both started blogging because the information available online about occupational therapy was very limited, and we apparently wanted to change that! I’ve been reading her blog for a while, and she is definitely somebody who’s knowledgeable and passionate about our profession. One of my goals for this year was to interview some occupational therapists, and reading her posts is giving me the encouragement I need to overcome my nerves and just reach out! She also has several other great posts about being a “mentorable” practitioner and ways to get inspired about OT that you should also check out – AFTER you’ve finished voting, of course! 😀
This second part is going to be a bit different from the first in that it presents a more pragmatic and practical view of conference and the multitude of opportunities it presents. Again, I’m not a practicing therapist and at this point I’m barely even a student! But conference was a great learning experience and I feel like I gained some valuable knowledge while I was there that I’d like to share.
And so, I present without further ado, AOTA Conference 2014 Recap: Part II! Continue reading →
Well, even almost a week after conference I’m still basking in the glow and wishing I could go back. But I’m taking comfort in the fact that hopefully I will be headed to Nashville for the 2015 conference next year!
The following blog post is the first half of a two-part post on my conference experience. This first part will cover my own personal experiences and duties as a conference volunteer and “junior attendee.” In the second part, which is coming soon, I will discuss more of the pragmatic and practical aspects of conference-going (at least as I experienced them).
So if you’re ready, I’m ready! AOTA Conference Recap: Part I – GO!
My Life as a Volunteer
With this blog, it is my goal to add new perspectives and information to the wealth of knowledge that is out there about the wide and wonderful field of occupational therapy. To that end, I’m first going to discuss my experience as a conference volunteer – something I was unable to find ANY information about prior to attending!
In case you didn’t know, the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) Conference is happening next week in Baltimore, Maryland! When I found out about it several months ago, I applied to become a volunteer for this year’s conference. After a month-long wait, I was elated to open my email and find my volunteer assignment waiting for me!
I have never attended a major professional conference before, and I am looking forward to the chance to attend this important event and see what’s happening in the wide world of occupational therapy. I’ll be volunteering at the Hospitality Booth and as a Room Monitor, and then I’ll earn free access to the Expo on Friday. It’s going to be a great trip to Charm City, I’m sure!
While I’m in Baltimore, I have several goals. First, I would like to meet one of my OT role models and the person whose job I’d like to take — Captain Erik Johnson, who also goes by “Army OT Guy.” I’m so excited about the opportunity to meet and network with him, but I can’t imagine what I would even say to somebody like him. I think I might like to work with wounded warriors and veterans in the future, and his website, videos and news articles have been a constant source of inspiration to me. In case you’re interested, here’s the link to his website: http://armyotguy.com/armyOTguy.com/Welcome.html. Ultimately, I would like for him to schedule a visit to my graduate program sometime in the next year or so. He goes “on tour” and travels around the country visiting OT programs and talking to students about his experiences and expertise and I would love the opportunity to hear from him!
Next, I want to start networking with the students, faculty and alumni of the graduate program I will be attending. Because I tend to be overexcited and can never wait for anything, I wrote and asked if I could attend some of events my future classmates and professor would be attending — and they said yes! Clearly they don’t mind that their program has just accepted a super-creeper… O__O In any case, I think it will be great to hang out with some of the first and second-year students and see the impact people in my program are making in the field.
Finally, I just want to take this time off from school to relax! My final semester has been a very hectic one, and I’m glad for this mini-vacation to help break up the last semester until I graduate. A couple days at Conference and hanging out in Baltimore will be just what I need to get recharged and ready to finish my senior year strong!
I’ll be posting next week about my experiences in Baltimore and at the Conference, so stay tuned!