I had the opportunity to attend two conferences with the help of my mentors, the RAMS program, and APSU. Not only did I learn a lot and meet new people, but I also gained confidence from attending these conferences. I would recommend attending a conference on your research topic to everyone. They really are worth you while, even if you're not presenting.
In November of 2007, I attended the SC '07 conference in Reno, Nevada. As a student volunteer, my hotel, some meals, and some of my airfare were covered by the conference and the rest was covered by APSU. The work I did included helping with set-up, taking head counts in seminars, and helping tear down. During my free time I went to interesting seminars and also visited the exhibitors. I received a bunch of free gifts from the exhibitors including a 1GB memory stick. ORNL sets up a huge exhibit at the conference and Mrs. McCoy attends to recruit for the RAMS program.
At the conference I met many people. Not only students, but professors and professionals in many fields. Some even offered to show me around their universities so that I would consider them for grad school. SC'07
In June for 2008, I attended the TeraGrid '08 conference in Las Vegas, Nevada. I went to seminars and also participated in the student poster competition. The conference attendees as well as four judges viewed the posters and listened to summaries of the work displayed. The competition consisted of six high school students, three undergraduate students, and four graduate students. First, second, and third place trophies were given in each of the three categories. I won first place in the undergraduate category of the competition with my poster Spallation Neutron Source Data Analysis which I completed in the RAMS program in the summer of 2007. Winning the competition gave me great confidence in my ability in this field. TG'08