2015 SPR/ECPN Frequently Asked Questions

What do I need to know about registration?

  • Register online by May 1 to receive the early bird discount or by May 22 to get a reduced rate. You can also register onsite.
  • The registration desk is in the Regency Foyer on the lower level.
  • Pick up your badge and program early: You cannot attend sessions without your badge.
  • Avoid the registration table during the 30 minutes before the first morning session; it’s the most crowded time. Sometimes, you can go the night before the meeting starts. The registration desk is open May 26– May 28 until 7:00 pm.
  • To support your travel, apply for a SPR ECPN and / or Diversity Travel Award. The deadline is April 10, 2015.
  • If you got a travel award your check is available at the registration desk. Ask for it when you pick up your badge and program.
  • If you registered for the ECPN lunch and / or ECPN dance (see more details below), pick up the tickets when you pick up your badge and program.

Where should I stay?

  • Reserve your room at the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill
    • Book before April 28 to get the reduced rate!
    • Staying at the conference hotel supports SPR (by allowing it to secure meeting rooms at a reduced rate) and makes it easier to take breaks between sessions.
    • Plus, staying at the hotel gives you the opportunity to bump into researchers in your field in the hotel elevator (so have your elevator talk ready!)

What should I pack?

  • Sweater: The session rooms can be cold.
  • Comfy shoes: You will be walking a lot.
  • Professional clothes: To wear during all sessions you attend.
  • Workout clothes: Go for a run or use the hotel gym or pool to relax and clear your head. There is also an ECPN-sponsored fun run/walk Thursday morning!
  • Casual clothes:You’ll need them for the Thursday evening dance and to explore D.C.
  • Business cards: You can order them online for free. Suggestion: Keep some cards in the back of your name badge.
  • Note-taking tools (e.g., notebook, tablet, laptop, paper tablet and pen).
  • Water bottle and/or coffee mug and easy snacks: During the day it can be helpful to have your own water / snacks if you run out of time to grab something between sessions.
  • A laptop (if you are presenting a paper):SPR provides LCD projectors in each of the session rooms, but not laptops, so identify who in your session will bring a laptop. Find that person ahead of time and make sure your presentation comes out okay on their screen. Or, email them your presentation at least one day ahead of time and ask them to make sure it works fine.
  • A displayport to VGA adapter (for Mac users who are presenting)
  • Your poster: If you prepare your poster 1-2 weeks in advance, you can mail it to the hotel so you don’t have to carry it. (It should arrive no more than 5 days before you will be checking in.) Bring the file in case it gets lost / needs to be reprinted.
  • A backup file of your poster or presentationon a USB drive, DVD, or laptop.
  • Your personal schedule:Use the online schedule to identify sessions you want to attend, but don’t overschedule panels / events at the expense of networking.
  • Lots of enthusiasm!It will be a great experience!

What food is provided?

  • Breakfast: Get there early because food often runs out quickly. If you can’t get there early, plan for another way to get breakfast.
  • Snacks: Provided in the afternoon, but you might want to bring some easy snacks in case you run out of time between sessions.
  • Appetizers and drinks (cash bar): Served during the evening poster sessions (Wed from 5:45-7:45pm and Thurs from 6:15-8:00pm).
  • “Brown bag” Special Interest Group Meetings (SIGs) (Wed and Thurs, from 12-1): Great place to network with others interested in a specific topic. But as the name implies, bring your own lunch or eat later. There isn’t a lot of time to grab food and the nearby venues have long lines at lunch, so you may want to grab something earlier in the day and bring it with you.
  • ECPN lunch:(Wed from 11:30-1) This year’s topic is: “The Science and Art of Negotiation.” The cost is $20. Space is limited, so register ahead of time.
  • For recommendations and a list of nearby take out shops and restaurants check with the hotel concierge.

What sessions should I attend?

  • Plenary sessions: These often reflect areas of interest, growth, and funding availability.
  • Talks in your area of interest: Introduce yourself to the speakers at the end of the talk.
  • Poster sessions: These are a great place to network because everyone attends. They serve appetizers and drinks (cash bar) and only posters are shown.
  • The Diversity Network Committee (DNC) reception (Wednesday evening) andEarly Career Preventionist Network (ECPN) social and committee meeting (Thursday evening): They are open to anyone and a great way to network.
  • ECPN table (near the registration desk): For early career prevention scientists (students and anyone within 10 years of degree). Meet other people at your career level; they will be the people who are your colleagues moving forward. Ask them any question you may have about the meeting. While there, get a sticker for your badge and put your name in the fishbowl for a raffle!
  • ECPN sessions: Great places to meet other early career attendees. The sessions are particularly well suited to the goals and needs of early career prevention scientists. This year, the sessions are:
    • ECPN luncheon (Wed, 11:30-1): The Science and Art of Negotiation
    • Session 1: (date/time TBD): Alternative Funding Mechanisms Under the Affordable Care Act
    • Session 2: (date/time TBD) Effective Knowledge Transfer and Translation Strategies for Early Career Prevention Scientists.
  • SPR Cup (Thursday morning):Annual friendly competition among teams of ECPN researchers.
  • The dance: The Mothers of Prevention (Thursday evening) take their job as the SPR band very seriously!
  • Fun run/walk (Thursday morning): Easy way to interact with more senior SPR members.
  • Advice:Go to a few sessions each day. Don’t try to go to every session. Make time for networking and take breaks during the day (e.g., go for a walk, shop, explore DC) so that your brain doesn’t explode.
  • Advice: SPR meetings occur throughout the hotel. Check the program for session rooms. Check the map in the back of your printed program or available here to make sure you’re in the correct location. Note: The National Park Hall (with rooms such as Yellowstone) is on the 2nd floor in a different part of the hotel from other rooms!

What should I do before I leave for SPR?

  • Identify sessions to attend:
    • Search the online program using keywords linked with your research interests or the names of authors whose work is particularly important / inspiring in your field.
    • Identify key people you want to meet, identify which sessions they will be at, and plan to introduce yourself at those sessions.
    • Ask your research advisor if (s)he can suggest some presentations or presenters that are particularly relevant to your work.
  • Email researchers in your field a few weeks ahead of time to ask if they would have time to meet with you during a break, or for lunch or coffee. You can see who might be attending by looking up presenters in the online program. It never hurts to have more people recognize your name and it can result in some great advice. Plus, “networking” is a little easier if there is a meeting set in advance.
    • You could also use this meeting to get feedback on something you’re working toward (e.g., grant proposal, publication).
    • If you set up a meeting with someone, make sure to look at his/her work before going to the conference.
  • Have an “elevator talk” ready (i.e., a summary of your research in 60 seconds).
  • If you’re presenting:
    • Practice your presentation (~3 minutes for a poster; ~15 minutes for a paper).
    • Review SPR website for presenter information and suggestions about formatting presentations and posters
    • Ask peers who have presented before if they can share their poster or PowerPoint presentation. The winners of the ECPN poster contest are usually featured in the fall issue of the ECPN newsletter, on the SPR website; you can also contact them.
    • If you are part of a paper session, confirm details about the session with your chair / other presenters: who will bring the laptop (and an adapter if the laptop is a Mac); how to share your presentation with that person; whether the discussant wants your presentation in advance and if so, when they want it.
    • Confirm your session location (in the online program or your schedule email).
    • Socialize during poster sessions.
    • Note: There are tech people in the hotel to help if anything goes wrong with the your presentation: your laptop, cables, microphone, PowerPoint, etc. They can be either found in the hallways or they can be called.

What should I do during SPR?

  • If you are presenting: Find the room where you will be presenting at least 1 hour ahead of time. Some rooms are hard to find. You don’t want to be late to your own presentation!
  • Introductions: People are really open to meet others, so don’t be afraid to introduce yourself. Pick out 1-3 people you’d like to speak to during the conference and introduce yourself (the poster sessions and SIGs are nice times to do this). Discussants who are program officers can provide helpful hints related to funding priorities
  • When to introduce yourself: Some people like to introduce themselves to presenters after a session. Others caution that approaching speakers after the session can be difficult because the sessions are back-to-back, so the next group of speakers is often trying to set up. At best you’ll get to shake hands and exchange business cards.

What should I do after I get home from SPR?

  • Follow up with people you met to thank them or answer any questions.


  • The ECPN newsletter (spring issue) usually gives your tips for a successful SPR meeting.
  • The Professor is In blog: How to do a conference
  • Mack, D.A., Watson, E., & Camacho, M.M. (2015). Beginning a career in academia: A guide for graduate students of color. New York: Routledge Publications: Great reference for all students. Make sure to check out the chapter on “Navigating Professional Conferences” co-authored by ECPN’s own Nadine Finigan-Carr!