Today marks the opening of the 13th annual AESRC conference at uOttawa. The AESRC (Advances in Earth Science Research) is the geology conference in Canada that is organized by and for graduate students only. This year uOttawa is the host and March has been a ridiculously busy month preparing to host AESRC for over 120 delegates including faculty from uOttawa and other Canadian geology departments as well as industry representatives.
This year’s AESRC marks a number of significant milestones for the conference and we hope it will be the best ever. This will be the biggest AESRC ever with close to 50 oral presentations and 30 posters by graduate students from all over Ontario and Quebec. This is also the first time AESRC has had to run concurrent session rooms as well. One of the best things about AESRC is that it allows grad students a somewhat lower stress place to present research in progress to their peers without fear of being embarrassed at a large international conference where most talks are nearly ready for or already have been published. AESRC is considered and excellent place to present work that is in varying stages of completion from early conception and looking for suggestions and constructive feedback to practicing a talk for an upcoming Goldschmidt or AGU. This philosophy makes AESRC unique as far as I know and it is a truly valuable and rewarding experience to be a part of (plus there is a lot of prize money up for grabs)!
We are also fortunate enough to have several excellent keynotes whose talks will be videotaped and posted here and on the AESRC website for all to enjoy. I will also be live tweeting AESRC under the hashtag #AESRC2014 and posting a few blog posts here as well briefly summarizing some of the terrific science that Canadian geology grad students are working on.
One thing I should also mention is that AESRC would not be possible without the generosity of the Canadian geology community, the department hosting and the host university. Numerous times all I had to do was say the words “grad student run conference” to get university departments to lower fees and help facilitate this weekend. There are also perennial AESRC sponsors that year after year contribute money to help the local organizing committee put on a fantastic conference and allow us to charge only a nominal registration fee.