This year, with the help of our members, sponsors, and friends, NEDRA celebrated 30 years of promoting prospect development and related fields. Truly, April's conference was a milestone event. A table in the hallway displayed all sorts of historical memorabilia from earlier days of our organization and our industry. Photos from conferences past shared space with old copies of Who's Who and the Social Register, as well as stacks of floppy disks (yes, those things that look like three-dimensional representations of the "save" icon). A binder held old issues of the NEDRA News from the days before "blog" was a word. Those who had been in the industry for a long time reminisced about the early days of their work, while those more lately come to the field learned about the tools that were in use before the days of ubiquitous internet. Conference attendees also shared their favorite memories of NEDRA, leaving notes with their favorite program, the name of someone they'd met through NEDRA, their favorite conference memory, and more. We also wrote memories on slips of paper to add to a time capsule, to be opened at some point in the future to remember our first 30 years.
Other highlights of the anniversary celebration included a beautiful cake, cut by NEDRA president Amy Begg and Marianne Pelletier, the conference attendee who'd been a member of NEDRA longer than anyone else present. On Thursday night, after the iWave-sponsored networking reception and after dinner, attendees partied at a private NEDRA karaoke event with (of course) a 1980s theme.
While we celebrated our history, we also celebrated some of those people who make NEDRA great. Jill Meister of the University of New Hampshire (and president of Apra) received the Ann Castle Award for her many contributions to our profession. We also congratulated our scholarship recipients. Varounny Chanthasiri of the Whitehead Institute received the Helen Brown Group-NEDRA Conference Scholarship. Sam Kjellberg of the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra and Nina Emmi of Bates College received the Heater Reisz Memorial Scholarship.
From Julissa Arce's inspiring keynote, to the interesting and informative educational sessions, to the karaoke party, to the end-of-conference think tanks, there were many opportunities to learn, network, and have fun at this year's conference. It was a great reminder that while we've had 30 great years, the next 30 are likely to be even more exciting!
© 2018 New England Development Research Association