Audrey Sage (@Audrey_Sage_) is currently a Digital Technical Specialist at The New York Academy of Medicine. She attended the Forum with the support of a Forum Fellowship for Students and New Professionals.
This past DLF Forum was my first experience participating in a large, national conference. It was incredibly exciting. I got to learn more about so many niches within the field and make lasting professional connections. Moreover, the hotel accommodations were out of this world, as were the food and the city of Milwaukee (yay, Spotted Cow!).
On a more serious note, I left the conference feeling very proud of our profession’s mission and the intelligent, compassionate, and critical people who make up its workforce. As everyone knows, election night happened during the Forum. While I can not know who voted for whom during the days leading up to and including November 8th, it seemed clear to me that, party-affiliation aside, everyone at the Forum was dedicated to creating safe spaces for intellectual exploration and to defending all humans against racial, ethnic, gender, and/or religious prejudice. The general feeling post-November 8th was one of shock, and, in all honesty, fear. However, from the opening to the closing keynotes, and especially from Dr. Bethany Nowviskie herself, positive energy soon replaced that fear and shock. After many speakers called out our profession as enabling the forces of white supremacy and tokenizing diversity for far too long, I think many left Milwaukee with a new dedication to upending the systems that have poisoned our nation. I know I did.
With everything that has happened during this seemingly-cursed year of 2016 (RIP Bowie!), attending my first DLF Forum was a breath of fresh air. I would also like to give my sincere thanks to the CLIR/DLF fellowship committee for their financial support of my attendance. Without the Students and New Professionals Fellowship, I would not have been able to attend.
Thank you so much, and I hope to return to the DLF conference next year and hear about how everyone challenged the status quos within their institutions!