The MAYA (Mid-Atlantic-Youth-Alliance) conference was an annual 3 day conference that happens every year. About one hundred high school students that work in various science based institutions (e.g. a museum, aquarium, or zoo) attend. Every year a different institution hosts the conference, this year we were the chosen ones! Each institution that hosts the conference also picks the theme. The theme always has something to do with the environment in some way so this year we decided on urban environment, since we are right here in New Haven. We decided to have three main focuses that all connect to urban environment which were infrastructure, food justice, and biodiversity.
When I first found that out that the Peabody was hosting the conference I was nervous because I went to one before and I didn't know if I was ready to take on something so important. But Bay and Paul had some awesome mentors this year that made sure we stayed on track and made planning the conference pretty fun. We mostly worked with an undergraduate student from Southern Connecticut State University named Dan. He worked with us every step of the way and made sure we all knew what we needed to get done and by when. Most of us worked at least 6 hours a week planning this conference on top of the jobs and internships we were already doing this summer.
Once the MAYA conference actually came around I couldn't believe how fast time had flew! I felt as if I wasn't ready and I was nervous throughout the entire conference just hoping nothing would go wrong. As the three days of the conference went on I stopped being so nervous and just enjoyed seeing everything we worked so hard on come to life. All in all I had a grate time at the conference and also planning it. I loved talking to everyone there, telling stories, just learning about what they do at their jobs, and figuring out what they liked about the conference. The MAYA conference of 2015 is a moment that I will always remember and cherish for the rest of my life. I'm so grateful that I got to plan that conference with the wonderful students in Bay and Paul this year and the awesome mentors that we had with us every step of the way.
~ Cora Walker