Saturday, February 16, 2013

You Know You're an Academic When...

I'm moving up in the world!

Last week, I submitted my very young research to the University of California Transportation Center to present at their upcoming research conference in Los Angeles. AND I GOT IN!

My research is still very young but it boils down to this: Sustainable Transportation Practices in the context of a college institution. Feel free to discuss this with me outside of this blog and over a cup of coffee or a glass of wine.

This feels like a really ginormous step in my life. People who have never heard of me will soon know me (and hopefully like me) enough to consider me a part of the team, whichever team that may be! The conference is supposed to be only for students in the UC system, but when my Cal professors encouraged me to submit my preliminary research, I figured "Why not?". You only lose by not trying. So I tried. And I got somewhere with it! I also see this as a step forward for Mills and students in MPP, being recognized for work that isn't immediately associated with public policy.

However, with great work comes great responsibility. And the greatest responsibility: finances. I've been a bit concern in the last week, especially with how finances play into this. Two conference fees and transportation fees rack up quickly. Thanks to the Air Force who elected to have my sister station at LA AFB, I have a place to stay and transport around the area. Students from the UCs are able to have their travel and conference fees reimbursed, but who knows if I'll be so lucky? Mills has been facing a financial crisis the last 3(ish) years and the MPP program is also struggling to stay afloat in some respects. I don't expect I'll be reimbursed for this, so I might just set up a fundraiser.

Money aside, this is a fantastic opportunity on so many levels. Transportation! Los Angeles! Other transportation nerds! Bikes! Seeing my sister! Getting my name out there and representing Mills. Even if it's a short presentation alongside a poster of my work, WHO CARES?! Just when I thought things were grim on the job front, this opportunity comes along. And as expected, my habit of linking revealed to me other organizations and job areas I'm considering pursuing*

*And by this, I mean an MUP in Transportation Policy and Planning

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