Early Professionals


Postdocs who graduated more than one semester prior to the meeting may apply for an AOU Postdoctoral Travel Award.

To be eligible, postdocs must be:

  • Sole or lead author of a poster or oral paper presented at the annual meeting.
  • Not eligible for Marcia Brady Tucker Travel Awards (e.g., graduated more than a semester prior to the meeting). However, postdocs are eligible even if they previously received two Marcia Brady Tucker Travel Awards as a student.
  • A member of the AOU. Postdocs who are not members currently are encouraged to join.

Applicants will be expected to supply an extended abstract to be considered for this award. All applicants also must submit a regular scientific abstract through the meeting website. Awards are contingent on acceptance of the scientific abstract by the Scientific Program Committee.

Travel award application information and submission portal



Below, learn more about how early professionals can give five-minute talks during a special symposium, and about a social event geared toward early professionals. Please note – the social is free (sign-up during registration) and open to ALL early professionals, regardless of participation in the Mini-Talk Symposium.



Thursday, July 30, 2015
OU Student Union, 4pm to 5pm

The Early Professionals Committee is hosting a special symposium designed to highlight the exciting research performed by professionals in the beginning stages of their careers (i.e., those who are no longer students but still in the early stages of their careers). During this lively and fast-paced event, early professionals will present 5-minute talks using automatically advancing slides to showcase their recent research advances, the techniques they employ, the future directions their research will take, and generally who they are as ornithologists. Please note that participation in this symposium does NOT preclude you from also submitting an abstract for the normal program; you may participate in both.

I thoroughly enjoyed participating in this symposium in 2014.  It was great fun and allowed me to create a talk that was very different from the typical conference format.  You can get creative and share whatever you love most about your work.”  —  Dr. Emma Greig




  1. All presentations must be created in, or converted to, Microsoft’s PowerPoint program or in PDF format, and have automatically advancing slides. You can spend as much time as you like on any individual slide, and have any number of slides, but they must advance automatically. In other words, after your presentation has begun, you shouldn’t need to touch the computer again at all.
  2. Your presentation must FINISH at 4 minutes and 30 seconds. This will allow 30 seconds for transitioning to the next individual’s presentation.
  3. Your presentation will be checked prior to the beginning of the symposium, and there will be no exceptions to these rules. Check your e-mail for details regarding this component.
  4. There will not be time for questions at the end of your talk. All questions will have to wait until the social event following the symposium (see below).

Additional suggestions/important information:

  1. The goal of the symposium is to introduce yourself to the audience, which will probably contain scientists both in and outside your field, and get them excited about your research. You are encouraged to be broad, and present the big picture. This forum is meant for you to showcase who you are as a scientist and what your contributions are to the field (both present and future), and NOT the specifics of your most current paper. You have less than 5 minutes to tell a story, so don’t get your audience lost in the minutiae. There are a diversity of ways to approach this presentation; make it your own. The goal is to communicate who you are as a scientist – how you achieve that goal is up to you . . . in four and a half minutes.
  2. You do NOT have to limit your talk to just the work you’ve completed – future thoughts, ideas, goals, etc. are certainly fair game, and are encouraged.
  3. Just as with an elevator speech, you can’t tell the entire story. Hit the important parts.
  4. We have specially invited senior scientists from non-profit organizations, government agencies, R1 universities, and small liberal arts colleges to attend this symposium. You will be assigned to a senior scientist based on your career aspirations and any suggestions you provided during the registration process. At the end of the symposium, there will be a social event wherein this scientist will provide you with feedback to help you prepare for future job talks, interviews, tenure talks, or other aspects of professional development.
  5. If you have any questions, comments, concerns, etc., please contact Mike Butler at butlermw@lafayette.edu.



Yes, just submit both presentation abstracts separately via the online submission system.



Thursday, July 30, 2015
OU Student Union, 5pm to 7pm

Immediately following the Early Professionals Mini-talk Symposium, the Early Professionals Committee will host a social event for all individuals in the beginning stages of their careers (including those who did not present during the symposium). At this event, early professionals will mingle with each other and senior scientists from academia, government agencies, and the private sector. This informal event will allow those in the beginning stages of their careers to receive advice and guidance from senior scientists who have served on search committees and tenure review committees, as well as to network with their fellow early-stage colleagues. Light snacks and beverages will be available. Registration for this event is free (but is required in advance).