Professional meetings are often organized around research problems or methodologies. As such they provide participants the opportunity to learn and grow as researchers and presenters and to gain visibility in their discipline. Participants come from all levels of academe, industry, and government. Conferences may be small - attended by ten or fewer individuals or they may be large - attended by more than 10,000 people. They may be local, regional, national or international. Meetings vary widely in length. They may be short in duration lasting only a few hours or they may be as long as a week.
Students are welcome at many professional conferences. Some national meetings such as the American Chemical Society National Meetings even have special programming, social events, and presentation opportunities specifically for undergraduate research students. There are also dedicated meetings and conferences specifically for undergraduate student researchers. The most well known and established national conference for undergraduates is the National Conferences on Undergraduate Research (NCUR).
In this section, we will discuss why you should go to conferences, how to select a conference, how to fund your trip, make your travel arrangement, and we will take a look at some of the various activities that conferences offer and their benefits to you.