January 2020 President's Corner

January 2020 President's Corner

Hello all!

Every year around this time, the SAA President invites everyone to come enjoy all the excellent student programming at AAA 2020 + HearTECH Expo, give their tips for making the most of the conference, and, generally speaking, talk up one of the biggest perks of SAA membership: the HUGE conference discount. This year, rather than trying to build on the already great information past presidents have provided (seriously, please check out their previous posts, they are all excellent !), I’m excited to introduce something brand new: HearTECH Expo!

For anyone who’s planning to attend their first AAA annual conference this year in New Orleans, you’re in for a GREAT first conference. For anyone like me who’s returning, I don’t think I’ve been as excited for the conference since my first AudiologyNOW! (#tbt) in Orlando! This year’s new expo hall has been entirely re-designed and will feature some incredible new destinations, like:

  • The Future Hub
    • This is a new central learning and exhibit hub sponsored by the Hearing Industry Association (HIA).
    • The Future Hub will be an opportunity to learn directly from industry leaders and experts, including:
      • 6 TED-style talks by leading manufacturers
      • Keynote addresses on resilience in a changing industry and creating patient-centered spaces from the perspective of an architect
      • A CEO panel with manufacturers to discuss trends shaping the future of the hearing industry
      • A PhD Fair including a presentation by Kelly King, AuD, PhD at NIDCD
  • Hands-On Pavilions
    • If there’s anything we learned from the SAA’s Education and Externship Survey last year, it’s that students are looking for additional opportunities to learn about hard-to-access equipment and populations. Fortunately, this year’s HearTECH Expo will include hands-on opportunities with experts in areas like real-ear verification and cochlear implants!
    • This will include chances to try new and hard-to-access equipment hands-on and to get feedback from people who lead the field in working with this equipment and these patients. If you have questions about anything, we’ve taken the cue from a popular fitness chain and made sure this will be a judgement-free zone. Bring your curiosity and your clinical skills to these new experiences and go away ready to start seeing patients in a whole new way!
  • Innovative Tech Tour
    • For help navigating a whole new expo, this year there will be an Innovative Tech Tour to guide you through the expo hall and make sure you don’t miss anything!
    • If you complete the entire Tour, you’ll be entered to win prizes like an iPad, Airpods, Bose audio sunglasses, and more!
    • Beyond these prizes, this is a great opportunity to learn outside of the hands-on experiences and Future Hub by visiting with vendors and asking about clinical equipment and devices you use every day. Don’t forget to bring those difficult patient cases with you, as some of my best brainstorming has been done with representatives at previous conferences!
  • Awesome Expo Activities
    • For those of you who remember some of the highlights from previous exhibit halls, you won’t be disappointed! This year’s Expo will also include:
      • Professional headshots
      • Fun activities, including mixology classes, a palm reader, and other New Orleans flair!
    • Lastly, no Expo would be complete without a good happy hour, so make sure that you don’t miss Thursday’s Happy Hour sponsored by the exhibitors and including even more fun activities and, of course, plenty of good food and drink!

I hope you got half as excited reading this as I did writing it, and I can’t wait to see you all in New Orleans for AAA 2020 and the NEW HearTECH Expo 2020!

AuDly Excited,

Riley DeBacker, SAA President