This weekend I presented for the first time at a conference. I had presented at a Phi Alpha Theta undergrad conference and at a research seminar class before, but never at a professional association’s conference.
Luckily the 2010 World History Association conference was held in San Diego, allowing me to visit family and friends while in town. We decided to stay for a couple weeks. The conference fell smack in the middle of the trip.
I had the luxury of presenting with a well-respected colleague and my advisor (who edited and presented a third paper in less than an hour!). Our panel topic, “Female Missionaries, Colonialism and World History,” included papers on a Catholic missionary, contemporary Assembly of God missionaries and I presented a shortened version of my thesis: “Polygamy and Proselytizing in the Pacific: The Mormon Question in the Missionary Field During the Late 19th Century”. Because I respect the members of my panel so much and value their opinion, I felt quite nervous. But since they gave me so much support (as did other grad students from my program), and since I am comfortable with my topic, I felt good while giving the talk. I also really enjoyed the other two papers presented in the panel. Overall, our panel was well received. We had about 25 people in attendance, many of whom asked very good questions.
I also had the opportunity to see a handful of other presentations, several by other members of my department. All of the papers that I had the opportunity to hear were excellent. Being the conference I have attended, it turned out to be a great experience.