Funding Your Conference Participation
There are many places you can go to solicit support for your travel to/from a professional conference. Possibilities include:
Your Research Advisor
The first place to go is your research advisor. Your advisor is going to be more interested in supporting your participation if you are presenting your research findings for research supported by an external grant as your advisor may have solicited funds specifically for this purpose as part of his/her grant application. Why? Research presentations are part of the “currency” in academe and count toward tenure and promotion. External presentations facilitate the transition of research findings into published findings which are also part of the “currency” in academe and valued by the private sector as well.
Your Academic Department or College/university
The second place to go if your advisor cannot support your travel is your academic department or college/university. The department may be able to partially or even fully support your travel to a conference. If you are presenting your research finding and/or are an upperclassman/woman and are planning on going on to advanced study in your discipline these facts may bolster your case.
Many professional societies such as the American Chemical Society and Psi Chi, provide support to college students who want to attend their professional conferences. Support is often available from these groups at the local, regional, and national levels. A normal requirement imposed by these groups is that applicants be student members of the professional organization. Preference is likely to be given to students who have never attended a professional conference and are planning to go on to advanced study in their discipline. You will find a number of these travel grants listed on WebGURU.
Another approach to consider is fund raising! If you know of several other students who are interested in attending the same meeting, consider partnering with them and organizing bake sales, selling laboratory notebooks, lab goggles, lab coats, or other supplies that your peers might need, etc. Hold a garage sale.