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ARCE Pilots Student-Driven Activities at the 2014 Annual Meeting in Portland

ARCE Pilots Student-Driven Activities at the 2014 Annual Meeting in Portland

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ARCE Pilots Student-Driven Activities at the 2014 Annual Meeting in Portland
Pearce Paul Creasman, University of Arizona, gets to the heart of the matter with students during networking lunch.

The months leading up to the Annual Meeting are demanding.  In the midst of logistics undertaken by ARCE staff in San Antonio and Cairo, Committee chairs and chapter members scattered across North America prepare their agendas for the "business" that takes place in the days prior to the paper and panel presentations.

While members absorb the latest research presented by well-known and up-and-coming young scholars, the ARCE staff take the pulse of the membership based on dozens of conversations over the four-day event, along with more formal feedback, and make recommendations that will improve the organization and enhance the Annual Meeting. Better addressing the needs of ARCE student members has been a primary focus over the past few years. 

While information sessions about funding for research through the Fellowship Program were introduced five years ago and students are invited to present their research and compete for the Best Student Paper, ARCE staff have reached out to students and their professors over the past two years to craft a series of events that expand and complement the more established events.

The opportunity to informally meet scholars and peers the first day of the conference helped break the conference ‘ice’ for many students while others caught up with old friends.

With input from graduate students Emily Cole (UCLA) and Jonathan Winnerman, (University of Chicago), the ARCE Annual Meeting Chairperson and board member Janice Kamrin, ARCE board member and UCLA Associate Professor of Egyptian Art and Architecture Kara Cooney (among others) and ARCE staff, three new sessions have been piloted over the past two years.

The Student Networking Lunch, launched in Cincinnati and repeated in Portland, provided students with an opportunity to engage with peers and professionals, on the first day of the conference, in an environment dedicated solely to student concerns. Roughly 50 students and over a dozen professors, expedition leaders, curators and publishers joined in. The informal set up was designed to encourage students to move about from conversation to conversation, helping student members to establish networks of peers and professionals to get the most out of their time at the conference.

Students from leading universities presented posters in a pilot activity with positive feedback from ARCE members.

Also this year a pilot Poster Session was offered. Representing the work of graduate students from many of the leading doctoral programs including UCLA, Brown, Memphis, Arizona and UC/Berkeley ten posters were accepted, displayed and presented. Feedback from presenters and organizers will strengthen and improve the experience in Houston.

The third event organized independently, but in conjunction with the Annual Meeting, was Pub Night. Even with Portland nightlife beckoning, the student organizers reported the evening was a huge success with a large turn out. With all the feedback from this year and a great team of student, member and staff organizers we’ll be ready for Houston in 2015. You can hang your hat on it!

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