Stimulating research & helpful career-building talks at the Society for Research in Child Development conference
AUTHOR: John Krzeczkowski

This year’s Society for Research in Child Development meeting was held in Baltimore, Maryland from March 21st to 23rd. This bi-annual meeting is one of world’s largest showcases of research in the field of child development. Not surprisingly, the conference was well attended by students from our Neuroscience Graduate Program! Bahar Amani, Krysta Andrews and I proudly represented the program by presenting our work at the meeting. Bahar presented her work titled Infant Respiratory Sinus Arrhythmia Before and After Maternal Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Postpartum Depression, Krysta presented her meta-analysis titled Examining the Effects of Household Chaos on Child Executive Functions: A Meta-Analysis, and I presented my work examining changes in infant neurophysiology following maternal receipt of cognitive behavioural therapy for postpartum depression. In addition to our presentations, we enjoyed the large poster sessions and the many paper symposia, all of which provided excellent overviews of some of the most cutting-edge research in the field today. 

While we each took a lot away from the research presented at conference, sessions on “finding a post-doc position” and “what to do to obtain your first faculty position” were particularly helpful. Researchers currently in their post-doc positions outlined how they found their position, and gave tips for those interested in going down this path as well. The post-doc tip I found most helpful was to write emails to potential professors to make connections (i.e. you don’t have to have met them first, just reach out!). The session on obtaining a faculty position was run by eight psychology department chairs from around the United States. The faculty position point I found most useful was the fact that you can (within reason) negotiate salary and moving costs – but only if you ask! The main take-home from this session was that being personable in your interview goes a long way. Each professor said that interviewees are brought in because they like you on paper, but they want to get to know you as a person before hiring you. I found this interesting since I had previously thought that these interviews would be 100% geared to research! Taken together, the SRCD conference was a success and I hope to return to it in 2021!