Message from the Past Program Officer
My term as SICB Program Officer ended at the conclusion of the final oral presentation at the 2008 annual meeting and I want to thank everyone who made my job so easy, especially Sue Burk, her colleagues at Burk and Associates, and Ruedi Birenheide. By all accounts the meeting was a huge success - good science, good people and good venue. I was proud to have played a role in it and am incredibly grateful to all Divisional Program Officers for their hard work in setting up the detailed program in October 2007. Prior to taking this position, I never knew how much goes into a meeting behind-the-scenes, but I'm confident that the incoming Program Officer Eduardo Rosa-Molinar will also soon learn all this details and provide us with excellent events for the next two years!
At the 2008 meeting in San Antonio, we had 1336 registered participants. There were 375 poster presentations and 630 oral sessions. There were eight regular symposia and, for the first time, four late-breaking symposia. Symposia rooms were very full and the talks that I saw were incredibly interesting. For regular symposia, 7 of the 8 had external funding and these sources included NSF, NIH, Air Force Science and the Society for Systematic Biology. NSF funding for symposia has been a cause for concern in recent years, so I am especially pleased to report that five regular symposia and one late-breaking symposium received funding from this agency. Please continue this tradition of excellent symposia and submit your ideas for 2009 or 2010 by the summer deadline!
Students are the future of SICB. To encourage student participation, at the 2008 meeting SICB supported 337 students (299 received housing support and 38 received registration support). Special events that were also well received included: 5 showings of Dr. Randy Olsen's "Flock of Dodos" movie with Randy answering lots of questions after three of the showings, and 2) Dr. Richard Lutz discussing and showing his IMAX movie, "Volcanoes of the Deep." Every SICB annual meeting should be the best one ever. I look forward to seeing everyone at the next, best-ever meeting in Boston in 2009!