Insider's Guide to the Meeting


There area so many reasons why students and young scientists benefit from attending the

ACA meeting. Make sure you don't miss out on any of them!  Here are some tips to ensure

you get the most out of your experience.



Learn Something New

Every year cutting edge crystallographic skills and techniques are presented.  Make sure you don't get left behind.


  • Attend a workshop:   All workshops are held on Saturday.  You can learn about a specific software package or a technique while bringing your own samples and data.

  • Attend talks and poster sessions:  There are a 20 daily sessions at the meeting.  Abstracts that are not selected for talks are presented as posters in one of three poster sessions (refreshments are usually provided).  If you have indicated on your abstract submission form that you would like to be considered for a prize, you will be judged during your poster session.

  • Expand your horizons:  Be daring and attend talks or visit posters that are presenting information unfamiliar to you.  Ask questions and use the meeting to enhance your knowledge beyond your own research and experience.

  • Meet Vendors at the Exhibit Show:   Take this opportunity to talk to the many vendors that provide the necessary hardware and software for crystallography.  They are a resource that is often overlooked.  This is a great way to learn more about equipment and techniques. 



Network by Building Professional Relationships

The meeting provides awesome venues to meet other scientists and to create professional networks.  Don't miss out on these valuable opportunities:


  • The Mentoring Dinner is an event where young scientists (mentees) have the opportunity to meet more experienced scientists (mentors) from both academic and industrial backgrounds. Mentors give advice and ideas to mentees over dinner and drinks. Every person at the ACA should attend this event because everyone is either a mentor or a mentee! Tickets can be purchased at the Registration Desk.


  • The Young Scientist Mixer is one of the most popular social events at the meeting.  Food and drinks are provided and professional relationship building is promoted. This is organized by the Young Scientist SIG and financed by the ACA and/or the occasional vendor.  It is free to Students and Postdocs.


  • The Exhibit Show can be a great asset to young scientists.  Meet the vendors, get their business cards and use them as contacts for the future.  Vendors want to help you have a good experience at the meeting because you are a potential customer, or will be in the future.  Vendors sponsor many of the venues at the ACA meeting specifically to create these types of relationships.  Some of the events are by invitation only, so you’ll need to visit the vendor’s booth to get tickets.



Get More Involved

Involvement in a Special Interest Group (SIG) allows for participation in the management

and the direction of the ACA.   It also provides special opportunities to work directly with

experienced crystallographers.


Scientific Interest Groups (SIGs) exist to give members the opportunity to focus on specialty areas while remaining connected to the entire scope of crystallographic applications.  Joining a SIG means finding individuals within the larger network who have common scientific goals, challenges and interests.


  • Attend a SIG meeting:  The individual SIGs each meet during the course of the week to evaluate their current year’s accomplishments, plan sessions for next year’s meeting and secure chairs for those sessions.  Take this opportunity to meet some of the scientists who shape the future of the ACA.  Some SIGs provide lunch at the SIG meeting, like the Biomacromolecules SIG.  Participation in a SIG and running for an officer position is a great way to boost your professional experience and looks great on your CV.



"I had the opportunity to discuss my poster presentation in the presence of some  professors who took great interest in what I was talking about. I actually met with a professor from the University of Florida, Gainesville...who after listening to my presentation and finding out I got a Pauling poster prize, promised me a position in his chemistry department and called me "a future graduate student of that University."
~Ernest Asani, Student 
"This was my first conference and experience was invaluable and will undoubtedly help me decide on future directions for my PhD project as well as for my long-term career. "
~ Oliver Baetting, Student
"The conference was everything I had imagined only better...There were many invigorating talks, and so many people exited about their work. Every day of the conference held its own possibilities of networking, learning and growing as a crystallographer. During my poster session, I shared my work with many interested attendees. It was exhilarating to tell my story and to get feedback from many distinguished people."
~ Christine Beavers, Postdoc
"As a graduate student, I enjoyed the YSSIG mixer as well as the Mentor/Mentee dinner, which provided a great forum to meet prominent individuals in both the small molecule and macromolecular fields. More than anything, I enjoyed the opportunity to reunite with old acquaintances as well as make new ones."
~ Bryan Johnson, Graduate Student
"I was...grateful for the opportunity to present my work and meet with many colleagues who gave advice in planning the next phase of my career. It gave me a chance to meet with various vendors before I begin setting up my new lab."
~ Nicole LaRonde-LeBlanc
"This was the first conference of any kind that I have been to where I thought that the people that I met would be with me for years to come. They would be my future colleagues, collaborators, competitors, business associates,and friends.It was nice to feel like part of a real community, and I'd like to thank the ACA for making it possible for me. See you next year!"
~ Bomina Yu, Postdoc