Story 1: Presenting at 7th Malaysian International Seminar on Antarctica
15 – 16 August 2017 – I attended a two-day international conference (7th Malaysian International Seminar on Antarctica (MISA 7) in Kuala Terengganu, Terengganu, Malaysia and presented my research findings of my final year project, which focused on the effect of phosphate availability on the sensitivity of an Antarctic and a tropical Chlorella to the ultraviolet radiation (UVR) stress. The theme of the conference was Connectivity between Polar Equatorial Climate and Biosphere: from the Poles to the Tropics and the aim of the conference was to gather polar scientists to share and discuss knowledge on science, technologies and polices related to polar research, climate change and global sustainability.
As a matter of fact, I have always wanted to attend conferences because I think it provides a very good platform and opportunity for me to learn how to present my findings and to keep up with the most recent advances in my field as well as to network with other researchers.
Since it was my first time attending an international conference, I was very nervous because I know that it requires a lot more preparation. Fortunately, my supervisors, Dr Wong Chiew Yen and Prof Chu Wan Loy were very kind and supportive by giving me some advice and also helped me to revise my presentation slides. In addition to that, I was also very grateful towards the words of encouragement from my friends and also the Medical Biotechnology (MB) lecturers because they made me feel more confident. Even though the cold air-conditioned hall did make me feel more anxious, I managed to calm my nerves by taking several deep breaths before I started to present. As my presentation ended, I was quite surprised to receive a number of compliments from the audience on my performance because they could not believe that I am just an undergraduate student and I was extremely delighted to know that my efforts were well paid off despite not being able to receive any awards as they were meant for the postgraduate students only.
Overall, it was a rather unique and great learning experience for me because I believe that I have finally overcome the fear of speaking in front of a large crowd, particularly when my audiences were mainly senior scientists and postgraduate students. On top of that, I was also very glad to receive some suggestions from other researchers on the future directions of my work so that we could understand better about the underlying mechanisms on how Chlorella defense against the UVR stress. In my opinion, attending conferences like this is a great way to gain more insights into the research world and I really look forward to more of such opportunities in the future.
Written by : Cheow Yi Ann from IMU MB1/14 cohort
Story 2: Presenting at an International Conference in Singapore
After the completion of my final year research project in Medical Biotechnology at International Medical University, my lecturers suggested that I attend a conference to present my research outcomes. After careful consideration and discussion with the supervisors, I chose the International Conference on Medical, Biological and Pharmaceutical Sciences (ICMBPS) held in Singapore on 2 October 2017 to present my research findings, which focused on the anti-neuroinflammatory mechanisms of a chosen natural compound. As this was my first time attending an international conference with a purpose of presenting my research findings, it made me very nervous and I kept practicing until before the event. With mixed feelings, I reached the conference venue, Village Hotel Changi. I became calmer after meeting and chatting with Juris, a friendly researcher from Philippines. Thanks to Juris for her kindness in allowing me to use her laptop as my presentation slides were not compatible with the host’s laptop. The kind people and a cozy environment at the conference made me feel really comfortable and calmed me before my presentation. After the events, all the researchers had lunch together and had some chit-chat.
As an undergraduate student, I realised that attending conferences like this is a very good platform to share our research findings, as well as receive comments and suggestions from various researchers which have different point of views towards our research. Moreover, it was also interesting to know and learn other findings through this conference. Other than that, it was a great opportunity to know and make connections with researchers from around the world. In short, it was a great exposure and experience for me.
Written by : Gan Pei Hong from IMU MB1/14 cohort