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Help us get to ScienceOnline!

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ScienceOnline2013 is going to be amazing. The seventh annual “unconference” on science and the web, Scio13 is happening in Raleigh, North Carolina from January 30th through February 2nd. Quite serendipitously, Rachel’s 21st birthday is on February 3rd. She’d like to thank the good people of ScienceOnline for throwing her the greatest birthday party of all time. It will also serve as a belated bash for Arielle, whose birthday is on January 2nd.

If you’re not familiar with ScienceOnline, it’s pretty magical. Every January, Raleigh is host to a veritable flood of science communication gurus and junkies. Together, they put together three days of programming in “unconference” style. Everyone who’s been to a conference, especially one in the sciences, knows that the best stuff happens not in the lecture hall, but just outside of it. ScienceOnline brings those conversations to the center of attention. Sessions are proposed in a planning wiki by anyone with a cool idea, commented on and perfected, and then chosen based on group interest and pizzazz. At the conference, moderators start and lead discussions instead of clicking through power points. The result is part brain trust and part slumber party, with a guest list that makes our hearts go all fluttery.

For a young science writer, this conference is a gold mine. A bastion of knowledge. She can finally meet all the writers she follows on Twitter, including that one she cried over a tweet from a couple months back. She can get advice on what to do after grad school. She can learn about cool new science she should be writing about, learn new ways to write about it, and learn how to use new online tools to make sure other people read about it.

Most importantly, she can hug Bora.

So yes: We, Rachel and Arielle, roommates and proud SHERPies, have our hearts set on attending this extraordinary gathering. We’ve already made it through the Survivor-esque registration, so the worst is over. Unfortunately, we still have to pay for it.

SHERP provides us some funds to attend conferences, but we’re trying not to blow it all in our first semester of the program. Instead we’re digging into our own pockets, and asking the good people of the internet to help us out.


Good luck saying no to these faces…

Our goal is to crowd-fund $700 to cover our hotel and airfare. Anything over that will go towards the cost of our registration, dinner on Friday (the only meal on our own–seriously, Scio is awesome), taxis, and overpriced coffee at LaGuardia. If we actually receive money we can’t use to cover legitimate expense (read: Rachel will not use your money to buy whiskey sours), we’ll hand it back over to ScienceOnline with a donation after the conference.

To shamelessly copy Jacquelyn Gill, who successfully crowd-funded her trip to Raleigh last year, we’re going to pledge to interview one Scio13 attendee for every $100 we raise. Yes, you’ll get to read adorably tag-teamed interviews by the pair of us. All interviews will also feature beautiful photographs by Arielle. . . and throughout the conference, we’ll both be tweeting, blogging, and photographing up a storm.

Other things we’re willing to offer for donations: Baked goods, open-mic serenades, hugs, karaoke partners, drinking buddies, portraits, and more hugs.

Please consider helping us out by donating or sharing this post!

The best way to donate is via paypal: RAFeltman [at] gmail [dot] com. If you’d rather send a donation by mail, email us for our home address.

Thanks for your help!

Update: As of 11.30.12 we have received $495!