California Conferencing

by Charlie Labuzzetta

Two weeks ago, I presented a poster at the International Conference on Research in Computational Molecular Biology (RECOMB 2016). One of my friends mistakenly thought the experience would be “fancy,” but I can guarantee that staying in a run-down motel with no air-conditioning in Los Angeles was far from that. Thank goodness no one decided to climb in our open first-floor window in the middle of the night.

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I do admit that the conference itself was quite posh, but the people there were relatively laid-back. I originally thought I would need to wear a suit to present my poster, but the attendees quickly decided that shorts and a collared shirt were the norm. Unfortunately my poster was placed in the side room that no one seemed to know about, so I presented to only a handful of people. But attending the conference gave me the opportunity to listen to many keynote speakers and learn about exciting research in the field.

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I attended the conference with my research mentor and a fellow student from my internship at the College of Charleston last summer. We both presented our research that we had continued to work on after the summer. Our research mentor is a pretty chill guy, so he made sure we had time to experience L.A. outside of the conference. We biked along Venice Beach, ate sushi and Ethiopian food, went to a historic farmer’s market, and hiked by the Hollywood sign.

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In summary, I experienced a lot of new things on the trip. My car broke down on the way to the airport, I flew on standby for the first time, and I learned that I never want to live in Los Angeles due to the traffic. I will be forever grateful that it does not take 1 hour and 15 minutes to travel 15 miles at any time of day in Iowa.

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