On Thursday I attended the American Association for Budget and Program Analysis (AABPA) 2009 Spring Symposium- "Transforming Crisis Into Opportunity."
I actually went to the conference because I had been selected as a finalist for the first annual research competition for the Marykathryn Kubat Award put on by the AABPA. I had submitted a research paper I'd done for an economics class entitled, "Cost-Benefit Analysis of the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program." I made a poster to present the findings and had given a short presentation to the judges at a reception the night before.
I had my poster set up all day at the conference and answered people's questions. There were actually people from NSF at the event, and it was really interesting to talk to them, since they knew the details of the program I was analyzing.
The speakers were also really interesting - it's a pretty good time in history to be learning about economics and the budget. The last speaker was Stan Collender. He wrote "Guide to the Federal Budget," which is one of the most assigned texts on the subject. (In fact, I had it assigned for one of my classes!) He also writes a blog - Capital Gains and Games - which I recommend if you're interested in the subject of the budget and the economic crisis. He also happened to be hilarious, not quite what you expect for an expert on the federal budget.
At the very end of the conference, they announced the winners of the student competition, and I was very excited to find out I had won! (They chose three winners, and each of us will be featured on the website and receive a cash prize.) Awesome day!