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Does your advisor attend your panel at conferences?


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During my entire time in grad school, there was only one off-campus conference where my advisor and I both attended. Our school hosted a bunch of conferences though, at least once per year and my advisor would see my talk there. All 3rd year and above students also have to present annually during our department seminars so my advisor sees those talks too. These talks are often scheduled around our advisors schedules. It's helpful to have my advisor there, even though they would already know everything I'm going to say because we debrief on my presentation in our meeting following the talk. Good way to learn and improve.

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A related question: If you and your advisor are at the same conference, do they take the initiative to introduce you to colleagues that they think you should meet or do they ignore you unless you specifically ask for an introduction to someone? Who takes the initiative? 

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You're asking questions that essentially come down to comparative personalities, for which you'll get every possible answer. 

Some PIs will take the initiative, some will disappear and you won't see them at all. 

Personally, when I take my students to conferences I want them to do a mix of exploring and networking on their own, and introducing them to people I know. I usually only introduce them to people that are close colleagues, not the people I'm striking up new relationships with. 

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1 hour ago, Eigen said:

You're asking questions that essentially come down to comparative personalities, for which you'll get every possible answer. 

Yes, which is why I though it would be interesting to hear a diversity of responses. 

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Maybe some context would help get more targeted answers? 

What im saying is that you'll see literally every answer in the spectrum, which may not be the most helpful. 

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On 1/3/2018 at 7:49 PM, havana43 said:

Does your advisor attend your panel at conferences if you give a paper, assuming they are at the conference? 

Yes, always. Even now that I've graduated. He asked me for special dispensation once to see another talk because he'd already seen mine three or four times by then, and the other talk sounded way more interesting (to me, I mean!)

 

3 hours ago, havana43 said:

A related question: If you and your advisor are at the same conference, do they take the initiative to introduce you to colleagues that they think you should meet or do they ignore you unless you specifically ask for an introduction to someone? Who takes the initiative? 

Yes, always. My supervisor was very, very generous with his network of contacts.

 

The answers to both those questions is going to vary depending on the supervisor, of course, but I do think that the best supervisors are going to regularly attend your talks and introduce you to their contacts. The two things go hand in hand, actually: often, after I give a talk, academics I don't know talk to my supervisor about my talk first. And then he performs the introductions. I meet waaaaay more people when he's in attendance than when he's not.

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13 hours ago, Eigen said:

Maybe some context would help get more targeted answers? 

What im saying is that you'll see literally every answer in the spectrum, which may not be the most helpful. 

I'm just curious how typical my advisor's behavior is so it's interesting to hear a range of answers. 

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On 1/9/2018 at 11:13 AM, havana43 said:

I'm just curious how typical my advisor's behavior is so it's interesting to hear a range of answers. 

Your adviser should take the initiative. Integrating you into their professional network is literally their job.

Many adviser's don't do this. Whether it's from ignorance, apathy, or simply a skewed perception of the realities of the job market is situational.

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When we attend the same conferences, yes, my advisor attends my presentations. Most of the work is usually something that she is also an author on and so she likely feels an obligation to be there. Often though, she does get benefit out of being there as well (e.g., at my last presentation we were approached by another psychologist to collaborate on projects together). 

 

In terms of networking, we do spend a lot of time together at conferences, though not all. She makes an effort to introduce my to colleagues and well-known persons in the field because as she always likes to say "if she has a student who is invested in developing their future career in that area, she wants to do everything she can to help them because she received the same treatment from her advisor in graduate school". 

 

So, it depends, but I do think that advisors should be helping, in some sense, to develop their students network and provide support at their presentations (if their able, and if it's not a presentation they've already seen before). 

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One thing I'll note is that when I was in grad school and presented without my advisor there, I got a lot more conversation and face time with the other panelists. When my advisor was there, most people spent the time talking to them. 

Having someone there to help you network can be nice, but it's also nice to be there on your own to be a more independent contributor. 

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My advisor never attended, but I usually got weird times like 8.30 am. It never bothered me either. I always had friends though.

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