This May, MSU history graduate students and faculty went to the WEST Network, a conference for environmental historians from the University of Colorado-Boulder, Colorado State University, the University of Arizona, and MSU. PhD student Jen Dunn filled us in about the happenings at the conference:
Every year this conference rotates its setting, and this summer it was located at the Arizona Southwestern Research Station of the American Natural History Museum. At over 5400 feet elevation, we enjoyed this scenic location in the Chiricahua Mountains which are known for their great biodiversity and spent equal time inside with presentations and outside exploring the lovely mountain oasis. This annual conference requires that all attendees present on their research, so we got to see and hear about all stages of our peers’ research and get thoughtful feedback and input about our own work. One of my favorite aspects of this conference is the informal nature – students and faculty have time to interact through the presentations but also spend time together on activities (such as an evening owl walk) and hikes.
Jen presented on her research on Superfund communities in the Intermountain West at the WEST Network. She greatly appreciated the support of the other WEST Network attendees, their input on her topic, and the fact “that they didn’t send her home due to how little research she has actually done to date.”