Hi, I’m Nellie. I’m your average norovirus particle. I like to hang out with people, travel, and am an uncontrollable foodie.
So when the folks at NoroCORE asked me if I wanted to visit the world’s largest food safety conference (this year in sunny Salt Lake City) I quickly said yes! (They made me promise I wouldn’t make anyone sick, but I’m a durable gal and there will be plenty of time for that later.)
Anyway, here’s the first entry in my travel blog!
This first experience was new to me, and my lab friends had to explain it. Scientific conferences have poster sessions, which mean that you:
- Cram a ton of shiny new research onto a big sheet of paper.
- Delicately slide that paper into a big tube. (This action magically turns the paper into a poster?)
- Protect the tube at all costs.
- Bring the poster to a special holding area for posters, so that it can mingle with its own kind.
- At predetermined times, stand by your poster to comfort it and say nice things about it to other people.
They were less clear about what happens to the poster afterward, but I’m sure it’s something special!
My millions of siblings had told me planes were great, and I was excited to get to fly in one! Just think, a tiny microbe like me getting to travel 3600 miles in a single afternoon to a whole new place.
It might seem strange to you, but one of my hobbies is taking selfies with high-touch surfaces. These airport cart handles will be the star of my collection!
As everyone does when they finally reach their hotel room…flop on the crisply-made bed and debate about ordering room service versus calling your parental virus to let them know you got in okay.
The next morning we walked over to the convention center to check in at the registration desk. The nice staff there had bags full of goodies and tons of shiny ribbons to add to my badge! (I was so on top of things I had IAFP send me my lanyard early, just for the occasion ;-)).
Something unique IAFP likes to do ahead of the main conference are PDGs. PDG stands for Professional Development Group and these are small meetings for specific topics. Here I’m at the Developing Food Safety Professionals PDG, standing on my bag of swag to get a better view.
There’s always lots of food at IAFP, and here’s me about to tuck in at the Student Luncheon, a networking event for young food safety professionals. I’m not usually a fan of cooked foods, but I always love a salad!
Here’s me at the 3-Minute Thesis Competition! This is where five student finalists have just three minutes to explain their research and wow the audience and judges with their public speaking skills. Eric, one of the members of the Jaykus lab, was giving his speech, and I was so excited I couldn’t stop moving!
The conference officially kicks off with a fancy lecture, right before a wine and cheese reception. There were hundreds of people and my infectious personality can’t resist a crowd, but I kept my promise and didn’t shake anyone’s hands.
That was just the first day and a half of my trip, and I’ll have another post for you soon!