The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic led to a spate of conference cancellations in 2020. This had a disproportionate effect on students and postdocs who rely on these meetings for networking opportunities while they plan for the next stages of their scientific careers. In response, the Working Memory Symposium (WMS) was born!
Eddie Ester (Assistant Professor at Florida Atlantic University) and Jarrod Lewis-Peacock (Associate Professor at The University of Texas at Austin) organized the first WMS as a virtual meeting in June 2020 to provide a venue for trainees to present their work and network with like-minded scientists doing research on working memory. The first meeting was an intellectually stimulating, collegial, fun, and enlightening way for participants to share their recent findings and keep up with peers despite the challenges of social distancing. The inaugural meeting was a hit, and WMS is now an annual tradition, as there is an ongoing need for accessible, inclusive, and fun virtual meetings such as this.
WMS is a four-day, single-stream virtual conference broadcast live on zoom with discussion on slack. One-hour talk sessions have four presenters each giving a 12-min talk followed by a 3-min Q&A period. Each session concludes with a 15-min general discussion led by a moderator. All attendees have the ability to enable their camera and microphone to interact with the presenters and others attendees. Talks can be live or pre-recorded. If pre-recorded, a talk will be streamed from YouTube during its scheduled time. All talk sessions will be recorded and can be viewed, with closed captioning, up to 365 days after the conference.
All are welcome! However, talks are limited to trainees (undergraduates, grad students, and postdocs). Faculty and other professional researchers are invited to moderate talk sessions, and all are encouraged to participate in lively discussions throughout the meeting. In an effort to weaken some long-standing divisions in the field, we welcome contributions from working memory researchers in any model system, targeting any population, and using any research methodology.
Nothing! In lieu of a registration fee, please consider a charitable donation to organizations on the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic fight, including local food banks or any other charities near and dear to your heart.
We are committed to providing a space that is safe, open, and equitable to all. We have every expectation that presenters and attendees will conduct themselves according to the highest professional and ethical standards.
One of the most fun things about prior WMS meetings was the breadth of topics covered, which has varied across stimulus types (verbal and visual), and model systems (humans, non-human primates, and rodents), and techniques (behavior, neuroimaging, electrophysiology). This has brought together researchers who typically attend different conferences and publish in different journals.