By Praneeth Chityala (Indiana University)
I am currently pursuing master’s in computer science at Indiana University Bloomington. I was accepted to the Student Program at PEARC’22 conference. I received a STEM-Trek award and National Science Foundation support for the conference fee and lodging. Below is my experience at PEARC’22 as part of the student program.
To start with, it was my first ever in-person conference, and I could say that after attending the student program, I will definitely pursue these opportunities again in the future. I could break down the perks of student program into three major takeaways as described below:
- Networking is something that I have enjoyed throughout the conference. There were networking events with co-students, organizers and corporate recruiters. I was able to meet a wide range of people from different backgrounds. I could learn and expand the length and breadth of my knowledge through interactions with many like-minded and energetic students. Talking with PhD candidates helped me understand what it takes to pursue a terminal degree, and the rewarding benefits you get from it.
- Student Mentor interactions: Each student who wanted one was assigned a mentor. Though my mentor was not able to make it to the conference, I was immediately assigned a new mentor. I applaud the efforts of those who planned this activity. At our student mentor dinner, we enjoyed productive conversations. I learned about my mentor’s journey in life, which had many twists and turns along the way. Learning about their struggles gave me confidence knowing that they wound up in a good place.
- Resume clinic and Elevator Pitch: In the resume clinic, I was able to revamp my resume where required. We practiced our elevator pitch – a short presentation about ourselves. After these exercises were finished, we had mock interviews with corporate recruiters. That offered a sneak peek into what people expect when they interview you. They offered constructive feedback which was very useful.
Apart from student program I also had a student paper presentation on perceived importance of cyberinfrastructure value which was part of my student job at IU in association with XSEDE. This presentation helped me to exercise my public speaking skills. I received favorable feedback afterward..
The organizers offered a professional photo shoot session which is now on my LinkedIn profile, and on this blog post.
PEARC22 was a rewarding experience, and I would encourage everyone to apply for future such programs. These opportunities help students prepare for careers, help them finetune their interpersonal skills, and develop professional connections. I wish to thank the organizers and award sponsors for making this experience possible.