I'm starting to get pretty excited for Evolution 2009, which I'll leave for in a week (June 11th, to be exact). It's a pretty ginormous conference - apparently it attracts 1,000+ biologists. The program itself is a massive tome (can you find me in there? I'm in it, promise!). I'm going with three labmates and my professor, and there are a bunch of professors speaking there that I'm interested in for grad school, so it should be fun.
I'm lucky enough to go because I was accepted as part of their Undergraduate Diversity Program. They take 15-18 undergrads who somehow are "diverse" and pay everything so we can go to the conference. Plane ticket, hotel room, registration cost, food, everything. We even get Professor/Grad student mentors to help show us around the first day, and a special little social thing. Pretty freaking amazing. I'm not sure exactly what criteria made me diverse...if it was just being female, or if it was my work with the atheist club (though that's probably a majority for an evolution conference, heh). Either way, I'm super grateful that they have this program and I get to be a part of it. Otherwise I wouldn't have been able to afford to go.
One gripe though (I know, I know...beggars can't be choosers, don't look a gift horse in the mouth, yadda yadda). Man are the flights they booked for me awful. I asked to fly with my lab group, but they said they already booked flights for the program. I go 10 am Indianapolis > Chicago > Seattle > Pullman > Shuttle to Moscow, Idaho > Arrive at midnight. One, I'm always annoyed with flights from Indy to Chicago, since I could just freaking drive to Chicago in less time than all the hassle of flying from Indy. Two, I have a 9 hour layover in Seattle. I could theoretically drive to Moscow in less than 6 hours. Three, my return flight from Pullman leaves at 6:45 am, blargh.
The layover annoys me mainly because it's just inefficient - however, since it's so huge, I'm going to be able to spend the day exploring Seattle. I've never been there before, so now I'm kind of excited. I'm going to store my luggage at the airport and rely on buses/taxis/walking for some adventure. Anyone have any suggestions on must see places or even just awesome local places to eat dinner? So far I've been recommended the Space Needle, the Pacific Science Center, Pike Place Fish Market, and the Freemont Troll. I'm not sure what else there is to do, other than stalking Dan Savage and scowling at Starbucks world headquarters while hypocritically buying a cafe mocha.