I was the Chair of the local planning committee and the Western Regional Director. During the planning process I realized that we needed some abstracts. Some were submit voluntarily by NACTA members and then I "requested" some CSI staff to write and submit abstracts for the Conference. I wanted to make sure the conference had enough content. We ended up with about 30 abstracts. In 2000 at the Conference 28 abstracts were presented. In the past 10 years Conferences focused more on poster and oral presentation with abstracts. During this time Greg Smith from the USDA (now National Institute of Food and Agriculture) suggested that individuals receiving SERD (Science and Education Resources Development) grants also attend the NACTA Conference and present their work. This happened for the first time at the 2008 NACTA/SERD Conference held at Utah State University in Logan.
This year the submission of abstracts for oral and poster presentation exceeded all expectations. The NACTA abstract submission site received 225 abstracts! Each of these was reviewed by three reviewers on the NACTA Journal Review Board -- 675 reviews! At the upcoming 2010 NACTA/SERD Conference, Penn State, poster and oral presentations are scheduled for 186 abstracts! Based on the abstract submissions the increase is due to the partnership with SERD and to increased interest and desire by individuals to present at the NACTA Conference.
For many years, the attendance at NACTA Conferences hovered around 120, plus or minus 10 to 20. Last year at the 2009 NACTA/SERD Conference the attendance was 360. This year for the Conference at Penn State the attendance could be close to 400 assuming two registrations per abstract and the other attendees!
NACTA Journal Editor