Attending a workshop – learning new skills

I spent a few days last week attending a workshop in GIS for aquatic ecology and evolutionary biology at St. Louis University.  It’s intense training – 8 hours a day thinking about how to import, manipulate, analyze, and represent spatial data.

This workshop is sponsored by the National Science Foundation, and is a really great resource for me to think about new ways to visualize and analyze data (and to conceive of new questions!).  It’s also a great resource for the range of other people attending the workshop this year: There are graduate students at various stages, postdoctoral researchers, faculty, and state DNR employees.  Meeting this range of people and discussing the kinds of questions and research they each found relevant and interesting was also a learning experience, above and beyond the stated purpose of the GIS workshop.

It’s great to have opportunities such as this for short-course and workshop training outside one’s home university setting – I hope the changes to science funding don’t pull the rug out from under great programs like this one!