SETAC Globe - Environmental Quality Through Science
22 January 2015
Volume 16 Issue 1

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North America Student Advisory Council: Student Perspective of the Vancouver Meeting

Austin Gray, NASAC Chair, The Citadel Graduate College, Blair Paulik, NASAC Vice Chair, Oregon State University

The SETAC North America Student Advisory Council (NASAC) was created to provide a voice for SETAC student members within SETAC North America. The council is made up of students from each SETAC North America regional chapter, as well as elected student members that represent SETAC North America as a whole. NASAC advocates for students within the society and works to develop and improve student activities. NASAC elects students to work toward these goals by interacting directly with the SETAC North America Board of Directors, the SETAC North America Student Activities Committee (SAC), the SETAC North America Annual Meeting Programming Committee (PC) and various other SETAC North America committees.  

The SETAC North America 35th Annual Meeting in Vancouver, BC, Canada, was very successful in the eyes of the students of SETAC. For some students this was their first annual meeting. For others it was a reunion with student members met at previous meetings and a chance to catch up and reconnect. It also provided a platform that allowed students to interact with new people and build new relationships.

Alistar Brown, Prairie Northern Regional Chapter representative, stated, “My favorite moments of this year’s meeting were socializing with other students from across the world. I personally met fellow grad students from Norway, Finland, all over the US and Canada, China and Germany.” The venue itself captivated many students with its beautiful views and great location. He further claimed, “A special bonus was that the location of the convention center permitted much exploration of Gastown, Yaletown, Granville Island and Street, and not to mention the picturesque waterfront. Vancouver, in both the conference and the city, provided something for everyone. A true Canadian experience.”

Students were also able to interact and network with professionals in academia, government and business throughout the meeting. Thanks to a variety of events such as evening socials, the student/mentor lunch and career talks, students were able to meet and talk with individuals who could advise them about working toward their career goals.  “Without SETAC's focus on student involvement and mentorship, it would have been truly overwhelming. Instead, I felt welcomed into the SETAC community and invited to participate as a peer,” said student member Meg Harris. This year, NASAC held its first student party. Many students enjoyed the party and voiced their anticipation for next year’s party at the SETAC North America 36th Annual Meeting in Salt Lake City, Utah. Students also took advantage of opportunities to learn how to become more active in the society. At the student assembly, students gave NASAC leaders suggestions for how to further improve the student experience within SETAC North America. NASAC leaders will be incorporating this feedback in 2015.

After the meeting, many students emphasized how impressed they were with the high priority SETAC North America puts on student interests. SETAC and NASAC are continuing to work diligently to ensure that students have an even stronger voice within the society. More and more students are voicing appreciation for the many SETAC members who take time out of their schedules to plan student events and to act as mentors for students. Student member Rachelle Riegerix, summed it up, “As a first-time North America conference attendee, I was pleasantly surprised by the student association’s ability to incorporate networking and student activities into a professional conference. I made many new contacts with plans for future work. I was re-energized in my field and am excited for future meetings.”

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