When contributing to a conference, one possibility besides submitting an individual talk or poster is to organize an entire session, mostly called “symposium” or “work group” or something similar. On the occasion of the 58th Conference of Experimental Psychologists in Heidelberg, I decided to organize my first symposium that covered the topic of “Extending experimental cognitive research with ACT-R”. In addition to my own talk, I had invited former colleagues from Berlin and a colleague from Heidelberg. I also received very kind and encouraging support by Professor Verena Nitsch, who had provided a fascinating guest lecture at CrossWorlds just a few month before.
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.
The year continued, and while my master thesis took shape, due to existing contacts I got notice of the conference on “Theory, Development & Evaluation of Social Technology” organized by the Research Training Group CrossWorlds in Chemnitz. My submitted contribution on interruption and resumption in a smartphone task, resulting from my master thesis, fortunately got accepted and thus I had the opportunity to present my work there. In addition to the scientific program that featured several high-class keynotes and invited talks, the CrossWorlds members had organized an incredible dinner at the restaurant Janssen. This particular conference already provided me the chance to establish stable connections to the local colleagues in Chemnitz, which helped a lot during the following years.
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?
After entering the stage, I even had the chance to proceed straight to the next conference, the 8th Conference of the Media Psychology Division in Würzburg, to give another talk on the results of my bachelor thesis. Attending this conference has been worthwile in many respects, as I had the first encounter with the Research Training Group CrossWorlds by meeting my future colleague Daniel Pietschmann, who gave me valuable information about this project.
The year 2013 turned out to be a really important year for me. Not only did I step into academic teaching as a tutor at the chair of Human Machine-Systems at TU Berlin, but I also gave my scientific debut at the 55th Conference of Experimental Psychologists in Vienna. My first English conference talk addressed the core findings of my bachelor thesis and would not have happenend without the encouragement of my great supervisor Professor Günter Daniel Rey (who would also become my PhD advisor). I still enthuse about the beautiful university building and the marvelous city, thus I am very grateful that I had this option!
After spending an exciting internship at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin in 2010, I knew that my career-related future would lead into scientific research. Thus, the decision to attend the 48th Congress of the German Psychological Society in Bielefeld with the main topic “Fascination Research” was self-evident. Of course, things were quite overwhelming at first, but after spending a lot of time with psychological literature, to finally see some of the people behind it was pretty awesome!