The following was written by Yordanka Dimcheck, who is a PhD student from Modern Languages and was one of the people responsible for marketing.
Starting my Ph.D. at the University of Birmingham in a year marked by a global pandemic and unprecedented challenges in terms of how we communicate and do social research inevitably affected my first year as a doctoral researcher. I was looking for opportunities to meet fellow students and become more engaged with the academic community at my University. This is when I came across the call for new committee members who will organise the 2021 PGR BEAR Conference and I instinctively decided to join. Working together with others Ph.D. students and the BEAR Services team at the University was a rewarding experience thanks to which I could gain new skills and knowledge. Despite the fact that I was the only team member with no previous experience in conference organisation and that I had never before attended a research conference, I felt welcomed by the team and especially by Liza Jabbour and Aslam Ghumra. They supported me and gave me the chance to add valuable experience to my academic CV. It was great to learn by doing and to challenge myself by taking on the marketing and social media role in the team.
I appreciate the fact that I could work along other students from diverse backgrounds and with different research interests thanks to my participation in the Organising Committee. While it was challenging to present my research topic for the first time in front of a non-specialist audience at the conference, with hindsight, I am glad for this opportunity. This experience also gives me the confidence that I can aim for a bigger impact on my research by sharing it with a wider audience. I sincerely hope that the conference participants enjoyed the conference as much as I did and that they found it beneficial to hear about the very current keynote talk of Professor Nick Loman highlighting the crucial role Birmingham has played in genomic sequencing of COVID19 along with the fascinating keynote talks of Dr. Luisa Orsini and Prof. Jack Grieve. I am looking forward to next year’s conference when we as students will hopefully meet in person to exchange knowledge and ideas in the spirit of academic exchange.
Yordanka Dimcheva, PhD student at the Department of Modern Languages
If you would like to help in next BEAR PGR Conference 2022, then please email firstname.lastname@example.org