Chris Lysy on Attending the AEA Annual Conference

My name is Chris Lysy and I am a Research Analyst at Westat. I blog at Fresh Spectrum and you can also find me on Twitter: @clysy.

I just finished the first day of my first AEA conference and so far so good. After registering for the conference I was sent off to a table with a variety of nice little descriptive colored ribbons that could be attached to my name tag. It creates a sort of infographic that lets people know some of your key interests on sight. Not a bad icebreaker, if only more participants played along.

Hot Tip: If there is no perfect session in a time slot, take a chance on something that may be outside of your comfort zone. I walked into a think tank session on Topical Interest Groups as Communities of Practice and thoroughly enjoyed the conversation. After flying in from the east coast this morning I considered just going back to my hotel room and taking a rest when I could not find my ideal session. I’m glad I decided to against that.

Rad Resource: If you’re not a twitter person but would still like to follow what people are saying about the conference on twitter, visit Eval Central. I put up a little box front and center that lets you follow all the #eval11 tweets. I’ll also be regularly blogging/cartooning about the conference on Fresh Spectrum.

Lesson Learned: There are a lot of people at the conference, which is great. But with so many people it’s hard to actually meet up with friends/colleagues without planning it first. I know this is going to change as the sessions get going but I spent a lot of time scanning large rooms of people looking for familiar faces.

If you’re looking for me, I’ll be at the Westat exhibit booth tomorrow morning from7:45to9:30on the second floor ring. Miss me there, you will definitely find me presenting at the Ignite talks Thursday evening and Friday afternoon’s Exploring Data Visualization for Evaluation session.

This contribution is from the aea365 Daily Tips blog, by and for evaluators, from the American Evaluation Association. Please consider contributing – send a note of interest to

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