Never had it crossed my mind that I would someday visit Texas, let alone enjoy it. I must admit that over the years I have acquired many preconceived notions about Texas, so when I departed from Albany International Airport on April 21 heading to San Antonio, I wasn’t quite sure of what to expect.However, I was pleasantly surprised upon my arrival.
The 41st Annual National Popular Culture Association conference was held at the Marriot Rivercenter and Riverwalk Hotels in downtown San Antonio, just blocks away from The Alamo and directly adjacent to the infamous River Walk.
Junior Lindsey Gullet and I embarked on the journey with professor Sanjukta Ghosh, each prepared to present our own separate papers at the conference.
“I’ve taken students several times, and I think that every time my students get better and better,” said Ghosh. “This time, a faculty member said how wonderful the presentations were.and that she envied me for the students that I have. and that is such a compliment for both the students and for the college,” she said.
The papers were on three very different topics. Mine was on the use of Latino workers in HGTV; Lindsey’s was on an analysis of women athletes in Sports Illustrated and professor Ghosh’s on the media’s treatment of Shirley Sherrod.
“As far as our presentations go, I was a bit nervous overall,” said Gullet. “Luckily we didn’t have to present until Saturday morning, so Friday we were able to get a feel for the conference and how it was being run,” he said.
On Friday we attended a variety of different panels, ranging from one on the analyses shows such as Jersey Shore, Sarah Palin’s Alaska and of The Food Network, to one on different ways to teach English Comp, like by using Lil’ Wayne lyrics.
When Saturday rolled around, we were greeted by an unexpected problem: our Power Points did not appear to be working.
“We had never had any problems with any of our technologies,” said Gullet. “But of course, Murphy’s Law, we had a few minor problems getting started.”
Luckily, Gullet’s PC managed to play his Power Point. I however, was stuck with a Keynote presentation on a Mac that refused to display on the projector.
So, without panic, surprisingly, I had my audience gather around my small computer screen so they were able to listen to the video clips that I had inserted into my presentation.
Despite the minor inconvenience, the presentations went very smoothly, and I thoroughly enjoyed the positive feedback that we received.
In addition, my misperceptions of San Antonio at least, had been proved wrong. We had ample opportunity to explore the area surrounding the Hotel, visiting both the Alamo and the River Walk, and I found that everyone was friendly and it seemed to be a both a very clean and very safe City.
“It was a good experience to get some public speaking and to talk to some other people from other schools,” said Gullet. “The conference itself was fairly well put together, and it was a great experience to see presenters from other schools and from across the U.S. and well, from across the World,” said Gullet.