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Discussing First Impressions with ESA Veterans at Entomology 2013

By Joseph Alfonso

With so many things, first impressions are incredibly important and the annual meeting of the Entomological Society of America is no exception (click here for my earlier post about my first ESA meeting).

After the waves of excitement and nervousness subsided on my second day, I wanted to speak with others about their first impressions. Luckily, I had the chance to speak with two former ESA presidents — Tom Turpin and Jay McPherson — about their first national conferences.

I told them how I thought everything seemed so overwhelming at first. No matter how I planned, the number of talks I wanted to see had me running back and forth at the convention center while still missing some of them. The fact that so many influential researchers were present also made the whole experience feel a little intimidating, I told them.

They laughed and said that it wasn’t much different for them either. Jay told me how his first national meeting left him feeling lost when he wasn’t around the people he knew from his Branch meetings. He also mentioned how he remained silent during an elevator ride with an influential entomologist due to his nervousness. Tom agreed, but he had slightly different experiences since his major professor pushed him to meet big-name entomologists such as Charles Triplehorn.

These experiences make ESA meetings memorable for many people. I’m sure I’ll remember that interview and my initial impressions for a very long time. It was an honor to speak with Tom and Jay, and the whole interview can be seen below.


Joseph Alfonso is a graduate student at North Dakota State University studying how climate change affects species interactions.

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