Conferences provide an invaluable platform for researchers to present and share their latest findings with colleagues. In the spring of 2023, I was fortunate to receive the EAA’s generous grant to attend the 2023 Annual Asian Political Methodology Meeting (Asian PolMeth) in Singapore. The conference was a two-day event held at the National University of Singapore, where researchers from Asia, the US, and the UK gathered to present and discuss their latest work on empirical political science research. The conference included both paper and poster presentations and was categorized into different topics related to the methods and applications of quantitative political science research.
On the first day of the conference, I presented a methodological project during the poster presentation session that I had been working on for the past several months. This project was a joint effort with Prof. Kosuke Imai, Prof. Michael Li, and Jialu Li and involved developing and implementing a set of credible statistical tools to detect and estimate heterogeneous treatment effects in any experimental data. Our methods have broad applications in both the business world and social sciences since treatment effects heterogeneity often has significant substantive meaning. During the presentation, I received valuable feedback from the discussants and the audience, which provided practical advice on ways to improve the usability of our statistical software and suggestions on how to accommodate the substantive needs of the methods for more social science disciplines. Concurrently, I also presented another project on the pedagogy of quantitative research methods for social science classes, where my coauthors and I leveraged our experience as teaching assistants to push for collaborative teaching in Asian universities. The process of preparing, presenting, and discussing the presentations also helped me gain a much deeper understanding of these research projects.
The conference not only allowed me to showcase my research but also provided me with a glimpse of research life in the world of academia. I witnessed research being produced live in stimulating discussions and coffee breaks and had the opportunity to meet professors whom I had long admired in person, instead of just from their publications. This was my first time attending an international conference, and it improved my organizational and problem-solving skills, as well as my ability to overcome spontaneous difficulties. Moreover, I was fortunate to connect with numerous professors and graduate students, providing me with a more comprehensive insight into research life. I believe that this type of experience is extremely important for young students who aspire to pursue academia as their career.
In addition to academic benefits, the conference provided an opportunity to experience Singapore’s landmarks and local cuisine. However, I observed that only a few students, mostly graduate students, attended the conference. This is often due to the expenses of international travel, which prevent undergraduates from attending conferences even if they have exceptional research projects. Hence, they miss the opportunity to connect with other talented researchers. While I am extremely humbled to have been funded this time, I hope more undergraduate students can receive more financial support for attending academic activities in the future.
In conclusion, attending the 2023 Annual Asian Political Methodology Meeting was an unforgettable experience that not only allowed me to present my research projects but also to witness research life in academia, improve my organizational and problem-solving skills, and connect with professors and graduate students. I believe that such opportunities are invaluable for students who aspire to pursue academia as their career, and more funding should be available to enable young researchers to attend such conferences. Lastly, I would like to sincerely thank the generous support and trust I received from Prof. Kosuke Imai, Prof. Tsuyoshi Ishii, Prof. Michael Lingzhi Li, Prof. Connor Jerzak, Jialu Li, and Ms. Rie Watanabe, and the funding from the East Asian Academy for New Liberal Arts, UTokyo.
Reported by Xiaolong Yang (EAA Youth)