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Our Annual Meeting in Baltimore is a great opportunity for anyone interested in our science to advance their career. Being in the center of the East Coast offers a chance for many to take advantage of what our meeting provides. Like some of you, I've attended annual meetings of numerous societies, the largest in my experience with an attendance of over 20,000. While large meetings might seem more useful on the surface, I've found that SIVB's meeting has important characteristics that make it more rewarding than other gatherings.
Although you might find my observations redundant, I'd like to take the occasion of the meeting to mention again why our organization is special and fosters a highly desirable professional event. First, SIVB has always provided a venue where the Nobel laureates and the emerging scientists can mingle easily. Bigger conferences tend to be very hierarchical, and people can get lost in the crowd. SIVB is one of the few professional societies offering free student registration and a year's trial membership for our future leaders. This commitment delineates our values; SIVB can back up words with action to support the next generation of science leaders.
Second, diversity of disciplines can create insights that more limited divisions don't allow. If plant scientists only talk to other plant scientists, or medical researchers have discourse only with other medical researchers, or such other permutations, then exposure to new concepts might be limited. A cursory examination of the history of cellular biology definitely would indicate that segregation of knowledge by organisms would have hampered development and discovery.
Third, academia, government, and business professionals in science don't readily congregate at many annual meetings. SIVB has always had a healthy mix of scientists within these larger divisions. In addition, educators, private individuals, investors, consultants, and others can feel comfortable joining together at the technical sessions and social affairs.
Last, don't forget the "fun" factor. There aren't many technical meetings that I can recall where musical jam sessions are specifically organized for the after-hours time. Count me in for that one! Baltimore has a number of stellar attractions, where I'm sure you can find an opportunity to have a pleasurable evening, and other attractions such as the notable places in America's capitol are close enough to allow the possibility of good times either before or after the events of the Annual Meeting.
Please join your colleagues, and potential new acquaintances, for the Annual Meeting. You won't want to miss this one! On behalf of the membership, I want to thank everyone in the SIVB whose volunteer time has made all the events possible for the Baltimore meeting.