Ed Policy Grad Student Shares His APPAM Research Conference Experiences

This article was originally posted by APPAM and entitled “Scott Latham Shares His Fall Research Conference Experiences.”

Scott LathamScott Latham is a Ph.D. student in the Education Policy Program at the University of Virginia’s Curry School of Education, a researcher at EdPolicyWorks and a VEST pre-doctoral fellow.

Scott was a part of the panel discussion, Kids Today: Changes in School Readiness in an Early Childhood Era at APPAM’s 2014 Fall Research Conference in Albuquerque, NM.

He was kind enough to answer a few questions about his experiences as a presenter at the Fall Research Conference.

Question: How many of APPAM’s Fall Research Conferences have you attended? Was 2014 the first time you attended? How did you become familiar with APPAM?

“I’ve actually been to the fall research conference four times now. I heard about APPAM early in graduate school from both my mentor and from other faculty members in my program (Education Policy at the University of Virginia). Students are expected to attend the fall meetings starting their first year, and to begin presenting as early as possible!”

Question: Why did you decide to submit a proposal for the 2014 Fall Research Conference?

“I submit a proposal to the fall APPAM conference every year. Getting a proposal accepted makes conferences a little scarier and a lot more fun. I like to submit proposals to APPAM in particular because I know the research is high-quality and the audience is a helpful mix of folks who think similarly to me and those who bring a different perspective. I think presenting to and getting feedback from a broad audience is really valuable. It forces me to think hard about how to communicate clearly with people who don’t all speak in the jargon of my discipline, and who work in both academia and in the private sector.”

Question: Please describe your overall experience in presenting a panel paper at the 2014 Fall Research Conference?

“The process went pretty smoothly. The session chair was well organized and I got thoughtful feedback from our discussant and from others who attended. It can definitely be nerve wracking to speak in front of a room of really smart people, but I’ve always found it to be scarier in my head than in reality. In the times I’ve presented, I have found that people were generally friendly and curious, and much more interested in understanding my research and helping improve it than in tearing it down.”

Question: What is the most important thing you want people to know about APPAM’s Fall Research Conference?

“I think in addition to the panels and the poster sessions, it’s a great place to have informal conversations about your work with people who are trying to tackle the same kinds of questions. I’ve definitely made friends at APPAM! The tone of the meetings is really collegial and even “famous” researchers are usually friendly and open to chatting.”

EdPolicyWorks is a joint collaboration between the Curry School of Education and the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy. EdPolicyWorks brings together researchers from across the University of Virginia and the State to focus on important questions of educational policy and implications for the workforce.