Otterman speaks... (2003-2007)
Weblog about cycling, macintosh, natural history and life in Singapore.
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Otterman speaks...

Cycling, macintosh, natural history and life in Singapore - Archives

List of Categories : travel * museum * cycling * Singapore Naturalist * science * kakis * mangroves * movies * mac and the internet * meow * NUS * life in Singapore * lit * world *

Thu 04 Dec 2003

Grad Congress

Category : NUS

I turned up at 8.30am for the opening of my department's 8th Biological Sciences Graduate Congress and hordes of grad students cheerfully welcomed me in - a pleasant start to the morning! But soon the plenary speaker some chap from John Hopkins was engrossed in Calcium-mediated reactions and although memories of my neurophysiology lectures stirred, after 30 minutes it was just too much. It was a mistake to have a very long, specific topic as the opening lecture, although it sounded like it was pitched at educating gad students - clear communication and detailed explanations normally unavailable about aspects of the process for grad students in a similar field. At 10 am, he paused and they told him he had lots of time! I bailed out to rush for an appointment at the museum for some filming.

In 1995, after finishing my Otter MSc (hence the Otterman tag), I decided to run a seminar series for Zoology postgrads in the first half of 1996. It was an idea I got from Indian Otterman Syed Ainul Hussain of the Wildlife Institute of India during a meeting in Thailand that year. He had been dissected during their national symposium each year of his PhD and emerged a confident speaker with better science. Most of the grad students in NUS had not been very much exposed in those days, but some of us were lucky in being encouraged to regional and international meetings. I felt it would be good to start something local to get us going.

TJ Lam, the HOD was supportive (happily signing all the letters) as he had always championed this process - even as undergrads, we had a 3rd year Zoology Congress which was excellent but it eventually died out like the student societies when Lam was away. Well, the Zoology Seminar Series was a success, and one married couple set up as a result - again events can unfold from activities you organise!

Anyway Lam wanted more - a congress! And the first one kicked off six months later. I remember struggling with the no-frills publication then. It now has quite a lot of funding, sponsorship and students from other asian universities began attending. Last year, it was even hosted by Chulalongkorn University in Thailand! Looks good.

I managed to hunt down titles and have the biodiversity-themed oral presentations posted on our journal club page. Already in a conversation with the Malaysians, we have something up our sleeves for biodiversity in 2005!

Posted at 11:32AM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | , .