Visiting the Human Factors community

This year’s Annual Meeting of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Europe Chapter took place in Berlin and I had the pleasure to visit it. Despite the busy “dissertation-submission-marathon” I could present a poster on the joint work with my highly valued colleague René Schmidt, a best-practice interdisciplinary piece of research that emerged from our collaboration in the Research Training Group “CrossWorlds”. It was well received by fellow researchers from the Human Factors community who stepped by to discuss our findings. In addition, we got interesting ideas for future studies, such as mentally putting our participants in a car instead of a living room. We are curious what would happen and already plan future research on that!

Playful education in Berlin

Before the year ended, with the play4innovation in Berlin I could attend another exciting event. Organized by the team of StrategicPlay, the open space format offered a variety of playful sessions on different topics by people from all over Europe. Besides manifold opportunities to socialize and the excellent, creative food provided by Daniel’s Eatery, the special event was truly amazing! We visited the interactive museum “The Story of Berlin” that provides a foray through the history of Berlin by using modern multimedia technology. As part of the guided tour, we even experienced the oppressive atmosphere in an original nuclear bomb shelter from the Cold War. I really got goosebumps down there, particularly when the guide explained that the shelter would never have worked in the case of emergency.

Starting the stony path of PhD

With 2015, new challenges emerged that involved a quite ambitious application procedure and a relocation from Berlin to Chemnitz, after I successfully got the desired PhD position in the Research Training Group CrossWorlds. Right from the beginning, I was eager to jumped into my research and make progress in my project. To get valuable advice already at this stage, my conference history continued by attending the Summer School Human Factors, organized by colleagues from the chair of Cognitive Psychology and Cognitive Ergonomics at TU Berlin. It was really helpful to present my ideas within a focus group and get feedback from my former academic teachers Professor Manfred Thüring and Professor Dietrich Manzey. As a further highlight, the informal conclusion involved a round of blacklight minigolf.

Before the year ended, I could visit Berlin again for the 11th Berlin Workshop Human-Machine Systems. I also introduced my PhD project there and participated in amazing social events. Most impressive, we did a boat trip at the river Spree while enjoying a traditional Berlin buffet and listening to exciting historical facts.

Volunteering as networking opportunity

As I already mentioned, volunteering at a scientific conference provides an excellent way into the scientific community. Luckily (and conveniently due to residing in Berlin anyway), I had this chance twice that year, at the 35th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society and the 10th Berlin Human-Machine Systems Workshop. I actually learned a lot at both events, met interesting people and enjoyed delightful social events. When else do you have the opportunity to get a free lunch at Hilton?