Today was a very busy day. I got up very early and went to ihop for breakfast then made my way to the conference. I arrived in time to attend an early morning session at 8am led by Scott Decker (Arizona State University) and David Pyrooz (University of Colorado) focused on prison gangs. I met James and Simon there and we then went to another session together on gang members’ use of social media, before then finding a quiet space to Skype back to Scotland to connect with my PhD student Robert McLean, who was in UWS’s Paisley campus when we called. James, Simon, Robert and I talked about our planned collaborative papers over the next 3-4 months, and then I called home afterwards to talk to Karen and Alan. After this I went to meet Lisa Dario from FAU and we went for lunch together in a nice italian restaurant across the road. It was really great to see her again and we talked about some funding proposals we are going to work on together next year. Lots of exciting ideas and I am really looking forward to working with Lisa.
In the afternoon I attended a couple more conference sessions including an interesting one on disadvantaged populations and policing. At 3.30, I attended the ASC Division of Policing reception and awards ceremony with Lisa, and I bumped in Cynthia Lum there who I had worked with in George Mason University in DC in March when I went there to give an outreach lecture while I was doing my Fulbright. I went back to the main bar of the hotel after this and met a whole group of my FAU colleagues – Cassanda, Vaughn, Lincoln and his wife Vanessa, Mara, Lisa. I also met two of the new Faculty who have joined since I left. It was so nice to see everyone again and catch up and have a drink together. It felt like old times!
After this I made my way to the poster session – this is the opportunity for Doctoral students and aspiring Doctoral students to display their projects and get feedback from Professors and academic staff. I bumped into James, Simon, Andrew Johnson (who had been on our panel yesterday) and Sean Redmond and said my goodbyes to James who leaves tomorrow morning. Finally, I made my way to the Cincinnati University reception – an annual event that I always try and attend. I talked to my good friend Frank Cullen and met all of his Doctoral students again who I had met in April when I was there lecturing. It was nice to see them all again.
On the way out I was asked to take a photograph of Frank with some Polish colleagues, and after I had done this I walked out of the ballroom area of the hotel with a guy called Chris Eskridge and his wife. They were talking to me about Scotland and that they had visited there a few years ago, and it turns out Chris is the Executive Director of American Society of Criminology and coordinates the organisation of the conference every year, with over 4000 delegates. It was great to meet him, and he then introduced me to Emil Plywaczewski who heads up the top Law School in Poland. A very impressive guy – this is such a really great conference for meeting the top criminologists in the world. I chatted to Emil for a while before leaving the Marriott to walk back to my own hotel.
All in all, a very busy and interesting day, and so many opportunities today to meet people who I have worked with from different parts of America as well as making new connections.