By Jen Weaver, MA, OTR/L, CBIS
Doctoral Student in Translational Health Science at The George Washington University
I joined ACRM a little over a year ago at the recommendation of my doctoral advisor. I was pleased to get involved as a task force committee member with the Measurement Networking Group and during the monthly calls I am fascinated with the work each task force within the group is doing to advance science. Therefore, I was excited I would be able to attend the ACRM Progress in Rehabilitation Research annual conference.
As a new ACRM member, it was comforting to see some familiar names from my involvement with the Measurement Networking Group and familiar faces from the field of occupational therapy. This conference exceeded my expectations with course content and networking opportunities. As a PhD student, I am constantly looking at different methods to tackle a problem and I am also looking at the networking opportunities to understand the different paths available to pursue a research career. ACRM allowed me to meet with people who are excited about what they are doing and network across disciplines. I was so impressed with the ability to connect with a diverse group from clinicians to researchers and educators.
My area of research interest is outcome measures for people with traumatic brain injury and I was impressed with the variety of course offerings related to brain injury and measurement. The first course I attended was intimate and I was able to connect with the researchers presenting and the members in the panel. This allowed for an exciting conversation and the ability to ask specific questions about their methodology and implementation process. Other courses were just as energizing as the content was delivered by people who are passionate about their work. After some of the courses, I was able to speak with the presenters and I found this time valuable to ask more about their research endeavors and connect on a personal level.
My first networking event was the Early Career & First Time Attendee Welcome, which was special for me as I was able to watch one of my mentors, Dr. Theresa Pape, receive an award for outstanding mentorship. I was also able to meet people in-person who I have connected with virtually for the past year during Networking Group and Task Force meetings. Other events such as the opening of the exhibit hall and its reception allowed for impromptu opportunities to network. I am proud to be a member of ACRM and I look forward to becoming more involved with the ACRM communities and attending the annual conference next year.