By Benjamin Koertge

A little over a month ago, I was having a hard time believing that it had already been a year since ISPI’s 2013 Conference in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Seemingly out of nowhere, I found myself in Reno, Nevada, along with nine other Chico State students and friends, ready to tackle ISPI’s latest conference. Initially, Reno felt like a perplexing city and was quite unfamiliar. However, after reuniting with ISPI’s April Davis, Craig Grimm, Brian Gresham, and event coordinator Ellen Kaplan, I felt completely at ease. Having the experience from last year’s conference, as well as the additional support from Chico State students made the transition to Reno even smoother. Reece Hauf (president of Chico State’s Instructional Design & Technology Society and head volunteer coordinator) and I had made the schedule for this year’s conference a few days prior, and once we discussed the jobs and responsibilities to our classmates, everything began to fall into place.

I considered myself even luckier this year because I was asked to provide photographic coverage of the conference, along with fellow IDTS-er (as we say) Ras Smith. In addition, we were able to provide numerous ISPI members with professional LinkedIn head-shot photos, which also was a lot of fun to shoot. Even though taking photos took up a lot of time at the conference, I still made sure to take part in as many activities, educational sessions, and speeches as I could. Just like in Toronto, I enjoyed the Speed Mentoring activity most of all. In my previous conference article published May of 2012, I had commented on how much I enjoyed Carl Binder’s Six Boxes speech and I was fortunate enough to have him as one of my mentors in the session! Even though my envisioned career path was not in his realm of expertise, he was still able to provide me with excellent advice and insights. I also had the pleasure of having Margo Murray as another speed mentor. She also was immensely helpful and truly exceeded my expectations. After telling her my plans to travel after I graduate college, she offered to look at my itinerary and link me up with the many contacts she has acquired around the world. I was very grateful for her generosity and I hope to take her up on the offer.

As was the case with last year, I left the conference with numerous professional contacts, new friends, and an ever-increasing interest in the performance improvement field. I hope to be able to attend next year’s conference to do it all over again. I imagine it will be here before I know it.

About the Author
Benjamin Koertge is a senior at California State University, Chico. He is currently studying media arts and minoring in instructional design, where he serves as vice president for Chico State’s Instructional Design and Technology Society. He graduates in the fall of 2013, and hopes to utilize his knowledge of performance improvement to pursue a career in video production.