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AAPA 2013 Poster Presentation

Wednesday: April 17, 2013

I was in Knoxville, Tennessee last week for the AAPA 82nd Annual Meeting. I will make a post about the whole experience later when I have more time, but here I will focus on my own contribution to the meeting. I had a poster presentation on Saturday, which you can see below (or read the real thing here). I had no idea what to expect from a poster presentation. The way it was set up, I had to stand by my poster for a half hour at 10:30am and then again at 2:30pm and engage in conversations with interested parties. I was dreading it for many reasons (talking to strangers, possibility of being criticized, not knowing enough about my subject, etc). My first presentation was interesting, not a single person stopped by until the very end! I blame this on the layout – bulletin boards were set up like dominoes against a windowed wall. In order to read the posters, one must enter each nook. My particular position, lucky number 13, had a huge column just in front of it – we are talking maybe 4 feet in diameter. It was very uninviting, to say the least. But, honestly, not having anyone show was just my style! In addition, the boards were not the appropriate size, so my poster had to hang off the edge – I feared this would make it look like I didn’t follow the size guidelines, but what could I do?

Across from me was someone I had cited, Rocco de Gregory. Unfortunately, I could not locate his thesis title before getting the poster printed, so I took that as an opportunity to meet him. His poster, also on dental microwear texture analysis, had a much better visibility so he had more visitors to deal with, keeping our conversation short.

My 2013 AAPA poster on display in Knoxville.

Now, someone did show at the very end, and had I not just been out to lunch with him the day before (and about 20 other well-known people in the Dental Anthropology field), I wouldn’t have known who he was since he was not sporting a name tag. Unfortunately for me and my anxiety, I did recognize him: Richard Scott. Really? I didn’t get to practice on any normal person before one of the Big Names dropped by?

I must say I was almost perfectly relaxed in speaking with him for the ten or so minutes he gave me. I attribute that to his own laid back style mostly, but a little bit also because teaching has given me some speaking skills, and I really do understand what microwear is all about. In fact, I think I was more nervous to finally meet my coauthor Jaime, since the cultural and temporal period is what I know so little about. She’s very nice though, just as my other co-author Sue had described her to be. Phew!

My second presentation had more visitors, which I thought ironic, since a large majority of attendees had already begun leaving Knoxville. My first group were Loren and Scott, from the Dental Anthropology Association. They were judging my poster as I walked up (I had submitted it to win the Albert A. Dahlberg Prize, though I find it unlikely), so I asked if they needed anything. A run-down was kindly requested, so I went through my unrehearsed spiel hoping for the best. Again, I was consciously aware of how comfortable I was – even knowing I was being judged in all likelihood. We talked for maybe more than ten minutes and then they went on their way. Rocco and I resumed conversations, talking about the most rad panel discussion ever. I will cover my impression of it in a later post, but here is something one of the panelists posted: Talking about data access at the 2013 AAPAs.

I explained my poster to two others, and that was that! I had provided 30 copies of the poster in the hanging file, 20 of which were taken. A few of my business cards were taken also (which is cool, because they represent a web project I have been working on, so hopefully I will get some early interest in it! In fact, my web project seems to be coming in a time that is quite ready for it – that rad panel discussion pretty much convinced me of that, but high hopes, and alas, I digress…)

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