Preparing for the 2022 AAAL Conference
The 2022 AAAL Conference is approaching quickly, and there’s a lot to think about and prepare as we get ready to meet in-person again! As the weeks countdown, many of us will be working to finalize and perfect presentations, but there’s a lot more to prepare and we’re here to help you with making travel plans for the conference. Meeting in-person again we have to consider safety and remain mindful of public health policies around Covid. We can plan for what sessions we want to attend, making those sometimes painful trade offs when there are two we want to see at the same time! We can’t just watch the recordings on demand now. We also get to make plans to see friends and meet colleagues that we may not have seen for a long time. And of course, we get to explore beautiful Pittsburgh during our down time!
Health and safety
AAAL set safety protocols following guidelines from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the State of Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh, and the Omni William Penn Hotel to ensure that we have the safest possible conference. For the conference, attendees will be required to show proof of vaccination, and they will be required to wear masks throughout the conference, regardless of vaccination status. You can read more about the protocols here: https://www.aaal.org/2022-covid-information-and-policies
One of the other things we have to consider with an in-person conference is the weather! Be sure to check the weather in Pittsburgh for the week and pack to dress appropriately. One of our team got to learn that lesson the hard way when he traveled to AAAL in Dallas without a jacket or sweater thinking that Texas must always be pretty hot - it was not! Don’t get stuck without proper clothing.
What to see at the conference
Sessions won’t be on demand any more, but we get to trade that ease of access for dynamic, in-person interactions and connections. Of course, you won’t want to miss the fantastic plenary speakers (https://www.aaal.org/2022-plenary-and-invited-speakers). There are also a number of compelling invited colloquia to check out (https://www.aaal.org/2022-invited-colloquia). If you are like us, you also will likely spend a few hours browsing the program and planning which sessions you can’t miss.
The AAAL Annual Business Meeting is not an event that is usually on the radar for many graduate students, but it is something you should consider attending to gain a better understanding of the organization.
Who to see at the conference
Networking and making connections is part of the magic of in person conferences. The AAAL GSC hosts several events and these are excellent opportunities to meet other graduate students and a chance to get to know more established scholars.
There will be three fantastic graduate student events at the conference this year that you won’t want to miss!
Event 1: Networking workshop on Saturday.
Are you curious about ways to expand your academic and professional network? This workshop will feature advice on how to initiate conversations with strangers and how to develop and maintain the new connections you create.
Register here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/269927870527
Event 2: Finding your academic niche workshop on Sunday.
Are you struggling with identifying a research interest? This workshop will offer practical tips for staying focused and motivated in your research.
Register here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/269930197487
Event 3: AAAL GSC Social Hour on Sunday.
We will meet at the lobby of the Omni William Penn Hotel in Pittsburgh, and find a place nearby to sit down, chat, drink (not necessary!) and socialize with fellow graduate students in Applied Linguistics.
Sign up here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/aaal-gsc-social-hour-tickets-269922835467?fbclid=IwAR2kH1dJadTfubKMrGmPHJrzWtRCu3d8WYOI8YBgGKcsq9SbizBSL0Kt5rc
You may already be planning to meet up with friends you haven’t seen for a while, or connecting with former advisors or mentors. AAAL offers a great opportunity to make new connections also. As you look through the program to find interesting sessions, you may also consider reaching out to scholars to plan a meet-up over coffee to discuss shared interests and research.
What to see outside of the conference
Finally, you don’t want to spend your whole time inside the conference hotel! There is so much to see in Pittsburgh! The AAAL organizers prepared a list of things to see and do in Pittsburgh (https://www.visitpittsburgh.com/aaal2022/), but we reached out to our fellow grad students to get their recommendations for you. Here’s what they said to check out for those looking for something indoors:
The Nationality Rooms at the Cathedral of Learning (https://www.nationalityrooms.pitt.edu/) are places unlike any other on the campus of the University of Pittsburgh.
The Andy Warhol Museum (https://www.warhol.org/) is dedicated to the works of the pop art icon that you won’t want to miss.
The Aviary (https://www.aviary.org/) is a unique place to escape the March weather and connect with wildlife.
For those looking to do some outdoor exploring, these are some places you’ve got to check out:
The Strip District (https://www.visitpittsburgh.com/neighborhoods/strip-district/) is a great place to head for a meal or snack.
The Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens (https://www.phipps.conservatory.org/) is a great place to clear your mind or reflect between sessions at the conference.
Schenley Park Overlook (https://www.discovertheburgh.com/schenley-park/) is a great place to get a view of the city and take in some fresh air.
The Inclines (https://www.visitpittsburgh.com/blog/how-to-ride-the-pittsburgh-inclines/) also provide spectacular views of Pittsburgh and a fun ride to the top of the hills overlooking the city.
We hope everyone has a great conference experience!