May 30, 2013 by Dr. G
This is a very hard post to write. I don’t think I’ve ever had a negative entry on my blog. But if I don’t truly report the “ups and downs” of attending conferences, how will students ever know the reality of what happens?
It just so happens that on-site registration for the conference began in the afternoon, and the schedule has “presentation” listed for 7PM to 8PM. I headed to registration at 6PM and decided to grab an early seat in the conference room for the evening lecture. One early plus of the conference was receiving free copies of Pennsylvania geologic maps that I could hang on the wall of my classroom. But I was surprised to see how small the room was, and even more surprised that the conference was only expecting approximately 30 people. NAGT is a large organization, with many members in the region – I just assumed that more people would be coming to the conference, especially for these fieldtrip opportunities.
7PM came – and there was no presentation. Then, at 7:25PM, it was announced that there would be a fossil sale in the room, if anyone wanted to purchase fossils. At 8:05PM, after the meeting was supposed to end for the night, it was announced that there would be no speaker, but that we would be shown the 50-minute documentary Extreme Ice. Just six months ago, I had viewed a showing of Chasing Ice with Abbey Dufoe at the AGU Fall 2012 meeting in San Francisco. The two movies use the same footage and tells the same story.
Needless to say, this was a disappointing evening and disappointing start to the conference. Students, I know you get frustrated when faculty stray from the syllabus and “spring” things on you, or when class runs over time. Believe me, faculty get just as frustrated when it happens to us as well.
One bright spot this evening was reconnecting with two people I know – Martin Schmidt, the newsletter editor for the NAGT Eastern Section, and Daniel Vice, a geology faculty member at Penn State Hazelton.
I am going to try to stay positive for tomorrow – how can a full day about the Marcellus Shale not be informative and fascinating?