19 Mar 2024
by Alannah Vazquez

5 Reasons You Should Apply to Present at a NACA Conference

Have you ever sat in the educational session and think I could do this? Well you can!

Have you ever sat in the educational session and think I could do this? Well you can! Educational Sessions are the best way to share best practices and demonstrate knowledge on topics that can be relevant to students and professional staff in campus activities. Sessions can range from DEIA, Leadership Development, Organization Development, Campus Culture, Event Management, and more. 

Here are five reasons you should apply to present at a future NACA Conference:

  1. Networking - Do you enjoy building your network? Do you love seeing the 500+ symbol on LinkedIn? Presenting allows you to meet people from across the country that you may have never had the opportunity to meet by just attending the conference. Every time I present I almost always have at least 1-2 people come up to me afterwards to tell me that we share the same sorority (shout out to all the Deephers out there!). Broadening your network through interactions like these allows for you to learn from others and have connections to reconnect with throughout the year if you have questions or need advice. 
  2. Strengthen your Presenting Skills - If you are saying to yourself, but I am scared of speaking in front of people, it’s ok! Doing things that scare us is the only way that we will learn and grow. Therefore what a beautiful way to strengthen the skill of speaking in front of others by presenting at a conference. Maybe you start with submitting a proposal for a roundtable, these allow for less pressure for you to be the center focal point. Rather you would lead a conversation rather than presenting a full deep dive. 
  3. Build Your CV - Presenting at a conference will boost your CV by demonstrating that you reflect someone who has great communication skills. Depending on the topic that you present on this could also show that you are passionate about a specific topic that could show companies you are actively engaged in this field. 
  4. Collaborate with Others - Maybe you aren’t ready to jump into doing a session alone. Collaborating with a fellow colleague, whether it is someone from your own institution or another institution across the country, is an amazing way to have the opportunity to present, but have a comfort person there for you. Bringing two people together to discuss best practices is the best way to truly collaborate on bringing big ideas together with different perspectives.
  5. Special Encounters - Sometimes you don’t know who the people are coming to your session. You may get 5 people show up or a full room that people are sitting on the floor. Most of the time the people who need that information are there for a reason. I have strictly presented to students and graduate students, which has allowed me to have very inspirational interactions after I finish presenting. Going to a conference and having those interactions that may seem tiny, allow me to reinvest in the job and understand why I choose this as my life career.

Whether you are debating on submitting an educational session, or struggling to think of yourself in front of a group of people I will leave you with one thing. Just do it. Brene Brown once said, “...fear is our struggle for worthiness, but it appears that it’s also the birthplace of joy, of creativity, of belonging, of love…It’s that unstable feeling we get when we step out of our comfort zone or do something that forces us to loosen control.” So loosen control and accept fear as the birthplace of growth and development.

Look for ed session subsmissions to open this summer for next fall's conferences!