SAS conferences offer opportunities for students and young professionals


If you're a student or young professional, you're in luck! sas_user_conferences_verysmall I've compiled a cheat-sheet of the grants, scholarships and mentorship programs offered at SAS Users Group conferences.

Why attend a conference in the first place? Simple. You can increase your SAS knowledge, network with experienced SAS professionals and generally improve your academic and professional cachet. And with the support of one of these programs, you could go for free. Sounds like a win-win to me!

These offerings are constantly updating and changing, so make sure to check your desired conference’s website regularly. A little persistence and dedication can yield great rewards. Here's the full list:

SAS Global Forum

Interested in launching your career and beefing up your SAS skills? Luckily, SAS Global Forum 2014 has many opportunities available to do just that.

  • Power to Present. Students and young professionals alike should consider the Power to Present mentorship program, which offers guidance from experienced presenters. Besides offering their insights on writing or presenting a paper, mentors can also give individualized advice on how to get the most out of your conference (what a great concept!).
  • Junior Professional Award. Mentoring can give you one-on-one guidance, but of course, you should also check out the available scholarships. The SAS Global Forum Junior Professional Award waives the fee for conference attendance and a free pre-conference tutorial.
  • SAS Student Ambassador. Students should definitely apply to the SAS Student Ambassador Program, which covers travel expenses, conference registration fees, and a tutorial session. Julie Petlick's recent blog post tells you how to apply for the Student Ambassador Program for SAS Global Forum 2014.
  • Student and faculty scholarships.If you'd like to take advantage of all the educational and professional opportunities at SAS Global Forum but don't have time to prepare a paper, you'll definitely want to check out the SAS Conference Scholarship Program.

One Student Ambassador's experience

These programs offer winners an incredible opportunity to advance their academic and professional careers with SAS. But what does that mean, really? To get a better idea of how these programs can have a big impact on new SAS users, I caught up with Stephen Mistler, a Summer Fellow in Statistical Software Development here at SAS to ask him about his experience with the SAS Student Ambassadors program.

As an Honorable Mention, he said “the award provided me with funding to travel to the SAS Global Forum 2013, where I presented two papers on multiple imputation for multilevel data.” How did that impact his career? He said the experience greatly helped him both “both professionally and academically.”

Simply put, he said it opened many doors for him: “As a result of the presentations, I was offered the opportunity to audition for a teaching position with SAS Education. The audition was successful, and I now have a position as a contract instructor for SAS! I was also invited to speak at the WUSS 2013 conference, and although I can’t make it this year due to a scheduling conflict, I feel very fortunate to have been offered the chance to participate.”

If you’re on the fence about applying, Stephen said that students “should definitely apply if they’re interested in a career with SAS.” His top tip for applicants? “The paper should be as polished and rehearsed as much as possible in order to make a great impression,” he said. Sounds like a recipe for success!  Thanks once again to Stephen for taking the time to share his experiences with us!

Regional SAS Users Group conferences

With convenient, close-to-home conference locations and dedicated members, regional group conferences are another excellent introduction into the world of SAS.

  • Grants and mentoring. Find your regional group and explore their website for the most up-to-date information about their opportunities. Luckily, no matter which group is closest to you, they all offer grants for students and young professionals that help cover the cost of attendance. Some regional conferences also offer robust mentorship programs. with SAS experts and conference veterans. The application periods for these grants and mentorships open in the spring and have an early-to-mid summer deadline, except the Pharma SAS Users Group’s application, which is due in the spring.
  • Student discounts. If you’ve missed the deadline, but still want to attend a regional SAS Users Group conference, check their registration pages for details on discounted registration. All conferences offer special student rates. They generally give the most generous discounts during early registration periods, and then decrease after that period closes, so be sure to register early to score the biggest discount!

Where to learn more

Students interested in the SAS Student Ambassador program should check out the full details for SAS Global Forum 2014 and start planning their presentations! Another great resource to bookmark is the Generation SAS Blog, which covers topics relevant to students and educators.

With tangible professional and academic benefits, you should definitely apply to one of these wonderful programs. Once again, if you have your heart set on a particular conference or program, be sure to regularly check the website for application tips, updates on application timelines, and resources to help you succeed.


About Author

Natalie Meyer

Administrative Support Student


  1. Pingback: User group grants and awards: applicants needed! - SAS Users

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  3. Pingback: What’s happening with SAS regional users groups? - SAS Users Groups

  4. Christina Harvey
    Christina Harvey on

    Thanks Quentin! We’re loving all of Natalie’s posts. Natalie was a SAS summer intern so this post was a perfect fit. Like the mentorships and scholarships she wrote about, both parties definitely benefitted! Natalie is continuing her education, but we'll see more of her posts this fall.

    And I’m glad you asked about a future blog post on what's happening with the regional user groups. Look for that very soon.


  5. Quentin McMullen on

    Great post. I agree user groups are great. I was very sorry to learn to today that NESUG has canceled all future conferences, as a result of a decision by SAS to reduce funding for RUGs, as announced here:

    Was wondering if a future blog post might explain some of the thinking behind the decision to reduce support for RUGs? The loss of NESUG feels like a tremendous blow to the SAS User Community.


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