Presenting a Workshop

By: Jessica Tran

Have you ever considered presenting a workshop, but thought, ‘Would anyone really be interested in hearing what I have to say?’. Presenting a workshop can seem like a daunting task, but trust us, the answer is yes! Everyone has unique information to share with their histology peers, just from the knowledge they have acquired in their day to day routine.

We interviewed Jessica Tran, a first-time presenter from last year’s Symposium/Convention in St. Louis, to hear first-hand what its like to take the leap into the presenting world.

Jessica: My name is Jessica Tran. I am a certified histotechnologist. I currently work in the dermatopathology lab at Oregon Health and Science University.

NSH: What motivated you to apply to be a presenter?

Jessica: After three years of working as a histotechnologist, I thought it would be fun to travel and meet with and learn from other people in the same field as a great way to grow professionally. The NSH Conference in St. Louis in 2018 was the first time I attended as well as the first time I was a presenter.

NSH: How did you come up with your topic?

Jessica: My topic was called “Grossing in Dermatopathology: Fundamentals, Tips, and Tricks.”

I knew I wanted to present about this topic because it was something I was comfortable with and do every day at work – grossing skin specimens. I have accumulated so much knowledge from being the primary grosser in the dermatopathology lab where I work, so I wanted to share some personal tips and tricks about grossing that I have acquired over the years.

I thought my presentation could be helpful to other attendees who work in labs that deal with skin specimens.

NSH: What was your experience like and what did you learn from presenting?

Jessica: My experience was everything I hoped for and more. I had never formally spoken in front of a group of 80 people before, so I was a little nervous at first. But when I started to speak and interact with the participants, I became more comfortable – I discovered that most of the people who attended my session also worked in a dermatopathology lab just like me!

During my presentation, I really enjoyed answering questions people had for me, as well as learning from histotechs who were willing to share ideas regarding alternative techniques they had used where they worked. I saw that my presentation had the power to spark conversation in the room, and everyone was respectful. I was very grateful for the opportunity to facilitate discussion, interact with, and learn from other fellow professionals. Moreover, I really appreciated everyone who came up to me and complimented me about my presentation afterwards – and even the next day! The compliments made me feel very happy and welcomed to be a part of NSH.

NSH: What were some of the challenges as a presenter?

Jessica: One of the challenges I had was: Do I have enough material to make a 90-minute long presentation? Initially, I did not have expectations of how many people would attend my session or know what kind of experience anyone would have, so I decided that it was best to break my topic down to the very basics. I love to simplify complex ideas, and so that was what I did. I tried my best to present in a way anybody – whether or not they were a histotech – would understand.

To keep everybody’s interest, I used more pictures (simple drawings that I made myself) than words in my presentation. I decided that making 60 PowerPoint slides would get me in that 90-minute ballpark. Fortunately, that ended up being a perfect amount of slides.

Since my topic was basically information that was already in my head, I was confident that I was ready after practicing my presentation by myself about two or three times.

NSH: Do you plan on presenting again?

Jessica: Yes, this was a wonderful experience for me and I would definitely present again. Thank you, NSH!

NSH is now accepting abstract submissions for the 2019 Symposium/Convention in New Orleans. If you are interested in trying your hand at presenting, visit the Convention website.

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