Conference Grant Report: Janna Yousef ’20

Janna Yousef ’20 was selected to receive a Conference Grant from the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship. With this grant, Janna traveled to Toronto to attend the Society for the Study of Emerging Adulthood Conference. You can read Janna’s reflection below, read past grantee reflections here, and visit the PCSE website to learn more about all of our grant programs.

In October, I was provided with the opportunity to attend the 9th Society for the Study of Emerging Adulthood (SSEA) Conference in Toronto, Canada with my Principle Investigator and two other members of my lab. This annual three-day conference marked the largest one in history, reflecting increased interest in the field. From listening to the keynote speakers to attending discussion/paper sessions and presenting research, this conference was a treasured opportunity to learn and immerse myself in the field of emerging adulthood and to better understand the cultural and socio-political climates impacting the lives of emerging adults (ages 18-29). 

This experience was unforgettable because it was both my first time visiting Canada and my first time presenting at a research conference. Shortly after arrival to Toronto, we immediately made our way to the conference center since we were presenting in a few hours. I would be lying if I said I was not nervous, but I was also excited to present on a submission I worked tirelessly on with the rest of my lab. Presenting was an exhilarating experience, for I felt like I was teaching people who are genuinely interested in our findings since they are conducting work very similar to ours. Answering questions from researchers well-versed in the field and being able to take their feedback to further improve our project were important developmental steps as a researcher and were the most beneficial learning moments of this conference. During presentations, I also walked around and heard from presenters from across the United States and Canada. I even crossed paths with Dr. Jeffrey Arnett, the founder of the emerging adulthood field!

After poster presentations, I attended different paper sessions covering a broad spectrum of paper topics and, later, attended another poster session to hear from other researchers and the work they are doing. Some of my favorite workshops covered topics examining compulsive social media use at the college transition, effects of peer norms and social motivations on emerging adults’ risk behaviors in online contexts, and identity challenges in emerging adulthood. Each paper session was followed by a discussion, where people provided insightful feedback. 

Importantly, I was able to broaden my network by speaking with professionals in the field throughout the entire conference, which was helpful since I am now seriously considering developmental psychology research as a future career. We continued attending different sessions through the remainder of the conference and heard from keynote speakers. We also grabbed meals and explored beautiful Toronto in the evenings, and I made sure to try some of Canada’s best: poutine and Canadian bagels. 

Without the generous contribution received from the Patricelli Center for Entrepreneurship, I would not have been able to pursue this opportunity. I would also like to extend a thank you to my Principle Investigator and mentor, Professor Dubar, and the rest of the Sleep and Psychosocial Adjustment Lab for making this a memorable experience.