Student scholarship programs available at SAS users group conferences

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Chances are you have at least one paper or research project this semester. If you are using SAS as part of a project, there are some great student scholarship opportunities to allow you to attend a SAS users group conference this year. You can present your work and build your CV or resume. Or, if you are not yet using SAS and want to learn it, the conference is a great way to start developing SAS skills.

Each conference is filled with opportunities to meet other SAS users with all levels of SAS expertise, hear about innovative new research and techniques, and network with professionals from a variety of industries. There are hands-on workshops, paper presentations, poster sessions and networking luncheons. If you are a college student using SAS, or new to SAS and want to learn more, don’t miss the opportunity to apply for one of these student scholarships and attend a SAS users group conference.

Calendar of Events

  • WUSS – September 5-7, Long Beach, CA
  • MWSUG – September 16-18, Minneapolis, MN
  • SESUG – October 14-16, Durham, NC
  • SCSUG – November 4-6, Houston, TX
  • NESUG – November 11-14, Baltimore, MD

Each SAS users group designs its student scholarship to best meet the needs of the students and support the overall mission of the respective conference. To learn more about what the scholarship includes, refer to the website for the conference you are interested in attending. Check the website frequently as new information is added often. Some important details to look for are the call for papers date, the scholarship application process, and the registration information. Each of these conferences will have specific dates and details for their respective conference.

Here’s what one of last year’s student scholarship winners had to say about her experience attending MWSUG 2011.

My name is Dede, and I am an undergraduate of psychology and statistics at North Dakota State University in Fargo, ND. I was introduced to SAS during the analysis stage of my honors thesis just a couple of years ago. Since this initial introduction, I have been interested in the capabilities of the program, but was unaware of what opportunities were available to students like me. My knowledge of coding is extremely limited and I have worked in the program mainly through the guidance of one of our senior statistics professors; therefore, freeform coding was something new and scary to me for quite some time. However, I was lucky enough to have a statistics professor who was patient with my learning speed and encouraged me and several other students to pursue a student scholarship to attend MWSUG 2011 in Kansas City to learn more about the program.

I submitted the only two papers I had analyzed using SAS and readied myself for a rejection. I was therefore understandably thrilled that both papers were accepted and I was presented with a full scholarship to attend the conference! I was shocked and terribly grateful that they had even considered my papers, much less accepted them!

I then allowed myself to be swept along through the rest of the registration process. However, as a young married college student, I have never had to book a flight or a hotel room by myself before and frankly, the thought was scary. With this in mind, I turned to the scholars program that accepted me for support and guidance. The contacts I had through the Student Scholars program were incredibly patient and helpful in steering me in the right direction and taking care of as many loose ends as possible.

They also presented me with opportunities to take classes and attend events that would allow me to network with fellow SAS users while attending the conference. I explained that I was still very new to the software, but they encouraged my participation as one never knows who they might meet. They answered so many of my questions both about the conference and about the area itself that the prospect of leaving my family for five days was quickly becoming less terrifying.

I urge any student or beginner SAS user who is considering attending a SAS conference to do so and to take advantage of the scholar programs available.

The program coordinators made me feel so at home even before setting foot on Missouri soil that I was barely aware that I had ventured into an area that was completely foreign to me. The process was smooth and painless and I was able to get to the hotel with relative ease simply by using the information provided to me by the conference website and the Student Scholar coordinators. My hotel room was amazing and I frequently visited the conference area to familiarize myself with my surroundings.

I was pleasantly surprised again to find that most everyone I ran into had already come across my name and seemed excited to meet me! Even one of the conference chairs took time out of his schedule to introduce himself and chat with me about my interests! I didn’t know anyone at the conference but I immediately felt like I was with family. Everyone was nice and genuinely interested in the other attendee’s work. Most of us have never met and friendships were quickly made. I met and talked to analysts from many different companies such as NIH and Hershey, while at the same time learning more about the statistical analysis software from actual SAS developers. Everyone was friendly and patient even though I was so new to the program.

I gradually discovered that I was not alone in my statistical coding inexperience. There were many people in attendance who were either looking to expand their knowledge on some of the most basic of coding processes or simply get their foot in the door to further a career in statistical analysis. I found I was always able to talk to someone who could sympathize with my struggles and accomplishments. I was offered so much advice and assistance that I am still trying to catch up with it all even though it has been several months since the conference!

I have since then dove head first into the world of SAS and haven’t looked back. I know that no matter where I am in my education, I will always find someone close by who is struggling and triumphing in much the same way I am. I know that help is available whenever I need it and I have a fantastic list of contacts that I can rely on to walk me through just about any problem I run into.

I cannot begin to describe how much I have benefited from attending the conference. I have a clear direction in where I would like to take my research and what I would like to accomplish with it, which in itself is an irreplaceable feeling. It is still difficult to believe that such an amazing experience began with the most basic understanding of a program combined with the willingness to take a risk and submit my work to an event I was convinced would reject me. Considering my experience, I urge any student or beginner SAS user who is considering attending a SAS conference to do so and to take advantage of the scholar programs available. It is an experience that you will never forget and it will set you on a path that you will never regret pursuing.

~Deanna (Dede) Schreiber-Gregory
NDSU Undergraduate of
Psychology and Statistics

NOTE: Originally published on Generation SAS, a great blog to learn about the latest programs for students and faculty, resources for teaching and research, as well as SAS tips and techniques.

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About Author

Julie Petlick

SAS Student Programs Manager

Julie Petlick works in the SAS Education Division as part of the Global Academic Program team. Julie is responsible for the SAS Student Program and is dedicated to supporting teaching and learning.

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