Please note that this event occurred prior to the current public health crisis. We recognize and are also disappointed by the fact that many conferences have been cancelled or postponed for this year. However, we look forward to hearing about your many travel experiences in the future!
By Niveditta Ramkumar, Student Professional Development Support Fund Recipient
The American Heart Association (AHA) Scientific Sessions is the annual conference for cardiovascular scientists. For three days, researchers from around the world meet to share and discuss the latest findings in cardiovascular science. From educational sessions to networking opportunities, basic science to epidemiology, and every combination in between, this meeting has something for anyone interested in cardiovascular research.
This year, I had the privilege of presenting my dissertation work at this conference. My projects focus on the differences between men and women undergoing vascular surgery. I presented two posters, “Worse Patency in Women After Endovascular Peripheral Vascular Intervention” and “Women Experience Higher Rates of Surgical Repair and Mortality for Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm” at the Best in Specialty Conferences poster session. I also delivered an oral presentation titled “Women Have a Higher 5-year Risk of Stroke After Intervention for Carotid Stenosis Than Men”.
Attending a meeting of this scale can seem overwhelming at first. With hundreds of sessions to choose from (and choose you must, because they run concurrently), where do you start? The fear of missing out is a real occupational hazard. It can also be intimidating to present your work to a crowd of internationally-renowned giants in your field. Yet, after three days of learning, mentorship, networking, and thoughtful discussions, I left the conference feeling inspired, rather than overwhelmed or intimidated.
It is easy to get lost in the drudgery of research. Interacting with the larger scientific community serves as an excellent way to reset and refocus. Who knows, it could give the push you needed to make a breakthrough on that one project (or even graduate). I am truly grateful for my rewarding experience at the AHA Scientific Sessions, and for the financial support provided by the Graduate Student Council Conference Travel Grant that made it possible.