Canadian charme in Montréal

The summer of 2019 came with a very special highlight for me: Visiting Canada for the first time to attend not one but two co-located conferences and additionally introduce myself at the Shared Reality Lab at McGill University! After a quite calm flight I could enjoy the impressive city of Montréal, a city full of opposites with high skyscrapers and historic buildings side by side. The 52nd Annual Meeting of the Society for Mathematical Psychology and the 17th International Conference on Cognitive Modeling had again joint forces and took place together. My talk that introduced cognitive modeling work from my PhD was scheduled right at the first conference day after an insightful ACT-R workshop on the day before. I was really excited that “the big names” from the community such as John Anderson and Niels Taatgen attended my talk as well!

After a very successful talk at the McGill University and an amazing trip to Mount Royal (including sunset and fireflies!), the 41st Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society started and came with broad opportunities to extend my professional network. Introducing the poster of our former intern Lin Xu resulted in great feedback on future steps in this research direction. My talk afterward strengthened my networks even more, as I had the incredible opportunity to meet Andrea Stocco and Wayne Gray and discuss my research. I further had the opportunity to engage in mentoring activities and provide advice to the next academic generation, thus the trip turned out to be really worthwhile. The amazing fireworks and the beauty of Notre Dame and the Old Port only supported this impression!

Long flights, wide spaces and nice people

The excitement still went on due to my first trip to the USA to attend the 14th International Conference on Cognitive Modeling at Penn State University. After a long flight that involved a change of planes and a panic attack, I arrived at the cutest little airport I have seen so far and was suddenly called “ma’am” by the polite people everywhere. A strange experience, but I was really impressed by the wide space everywhere and of course the nice people (although I had some difficulties with the accent in the beginning). To finally meet the international ACT-R community in person was at least as overwhelming as the experience in Bochum before! In addition to the scientific part, I had some time to discover hidden treasures of the city, like the Arboretum or the Palmer Museum of Art. When I looked out of the plane window during my departure, I already started to miss the spacious surroundings and the cosy buildings, and promised myself to come back some day.