The Young Investigators Conference

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I am finally finding some free moments to update the blog. Life, as future posts will prove, has been extremely amazing and crazy and has not really provided that much free time to write.

That being said, I will start little by little. Where we left off I was talking about my adventures in Evora. The reason that I went to Evora was to present a paper that I had been working on for one of my classes. The conference was three full days and there were multiple sessions going on at any given moment; therefore, I will not necessarily comment on every daily activity but rather the highlights of the event.

Thursday morning our roommate Daniel was one of the first ones to present, which made him a slight bit anxious. Although Evora is a very small city we left over an hour before the meeting hour to make sure we could find the university. We didn’t need half of the time, but at least it gave us time to explore the campus.  After the opening speech and the first set of conference talks, Flavia, my roommate, and I went to lunch near campus where we ate traditional cuisine and were gifted free shots from the owners, who sat next to us!

Below are images of the University of Evora to give you a feel for the atmosphere of the conference. There is no better place for me to be than in an old convent!

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By the end of the day, our group of friends had extended at least threefold. I met many investigators from different universities in Madrid, Brazil and Portugal. We spoke a hybrid of Spanish/Portuguese, which somehow functioned perfectly! I believe that these relationships are the reasons for such experiences. I found myself surrounded by people with many of my same aspirations and intellectual curiosities and the conversations were extremely stimulating. I left the conference invigorated and ecstatic to start my research again and to follow the studies of my new colleagues.

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Friday night, we all went out to dinner and I was recommended to have Alentejana, which is a dish of clams and pork over potatoes. To be honest I had no idea what I had asked for, but Daniel told me it was a specialty, and since he also ordered it, I followed suit. I cannot begin to explain how delicious it was, to give an idea of my love for the dish I would later talk my Dad into ordering it in Porto.

Flavia and I both presented on Friday morning and so we headed back to our hostel rather early to make sure that we got enough rest! It worked out perfectly so that we presented at different moments in the morning session. She was before the coffee break and I was after and so we were able to hear both presentations!

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I was the last person in my session to present. I learned many different lessons from this experience that I will carry forward with me in my future studies. I am pleased that I was able to engage the audience, even through I spoke in English. The critique and advice were exactly what I needed to help take the next step in my research and so I am thankful for everything that the public offered. My paper was not a final project, like many of my friends. And by that I mean that I wrote it for a class and it does not form part of my thesis or my dissertation. That being said, the ideas presented are not unrelated to my general interests and so I look forward to applying their advice to my next projects. Additionally, as I embark on planning such a conference at UAM, I was able to learn many different aspects about such a process which will become invaluable as we move forward.

Friday afternoon Flavia left to head back to Lisbon before heading home to Brazil. The rest of our group went to dinner with the rest of the speakers and professors at a restaurant. It was a delicious meal, probably because a huge weight had been lifted off of my shoulders, and I was able to fully enjoy it.

 

Saturday, we heard the last of the speeches. Since the day started a little later, (probably because neither us actually had to speak) Daniel and I explored before heading to the university. The same peacocks that I had seen on Wednesday decided to give us a show!

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After the morning session we had a quick lunch and then went on a tour of the murals in the city of Evora. Many of these murals are painted on tiles and appear in blue in white. It was interesting to learn about this type of decoration before heading to Porto where it was a predominant style of decoration. Here are a few photos of our walk!

 

We had one last fantastic dinner together before most of us parted ways. Since Daniel was not leaving until later the next morning the two of us headed to a bar to hear some live music. It was a fun cover band who played many american classics, especially a lot of Maroon Five. This was not the conclusion of my times in Evora; however, Saturday marked the end of my first conference!

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The planners of the conference took many photos of the event which can be found at this Facebook page!!! https://www.facebook.com/IIIEJIHM2013Evora

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