In my role as co-leader of the IGCP 653 project, I have a variety of jobs. One is the social media/website/communications/membership director for the project. Another is to convene occasional symposia at meetings, like this one that I co-led with Rebecca Freeman at 2017 Annual GSA meeting in Denver. The most significant role so far, however, has been to organize the IGCP 653 Annual Meeting at my home institution, Ohio University.
Planning an international conference is a complex endeavor, and I spent substantial amount of the 2017-2108 academic year planning everything from the meeting website, meeting rooms, banquets, housing, arranging catering, acquiring grant support, printing name tags, producing the abstract volume, developing shuttle schedules to move participants from the Columbus airport to Athens, identifying volunteers to run field excursions, and then helping them with logistics, plus managing the finances of the entire system. Needless to say, it was a tremendous effort, and the support of my co-organizers (especially Dan Hembree!) and the students workers during the meeting week was critical to success.
Overall, the meeting went very well. We welcomed over 60 scientists from 8 countries to Athens. The pre-conference excursion to the late Cambrian through Middle Ordovician strata of Great Basin of Utah and Nevada was spectacular, and the mid- and post-conference excursions to Kentucky were outstanding. Everyone went home with plenty of brachiopods–and some other fossils, perhaps–and a greatly improved understanding of the stratigraphy, geochemistry, paleontology, and other facets of the Great Ordovician Biodiversification Event.
It was extremely rewarding to welcome my colleagues to campus after months of planning. I learned a great deal in the process and was able to get to know some amazing people much better than I otherwise would have if it wasn’t my meeting. However, I will also be very pleased to be an attendee and not an organizer for the foreseeable future.
Ohio University hosted the Third Annual Meeting of the International Geoscience Programme (IGCP) 653 in June. This conference, titled “Trekking Across the GOBE (Great Ordovician Biodiversification Event): From the Cambrian through the Katian” brought together a group of 60 scientists from eight nations. Participants engaged in three days of scientific …