Serving on an SC planning committee is a highly rewarding way to become active in your professional community and build your professional network. Please review our suggestions for joining the SC Team.
If you have not previously served on the planning committee for SC or another technical conference, expect to start in an “entry-level” position. For instance, a new volunteer might serve as a submissions reviewer for the Technical Program, a member of one of the SCinet teams, or an assistant in the Students@SC program. If you do well, you may work your way up to positions with more responsibility and visibility in future years.
Keep in mind that even committee members who do a great job one year may not be invited to serve in subsequent years. The conference must balance the need to retain people with institutional knowledge for the sake of conference continuity against the need to bring in new people with fresh perspectives.
Consider how much time you really have to volunteer, and at what points during the year. Whether you are only available evenings and weekends, or can only work during the academic year, or only during the week of the conference, there are opportunities for you.
In whichever volunteer position you commit to, it is important that you be responsive when needed. SC is a high-profile conference that requires careful coordination among hundreds of committee members in order to be successful. Individuals who are reliable, timely, and easy to work with are the most likely to advance to higher-level positions in the SC community.
Contact a future chair 18 months before the commitment begins
For example, if you want to serve as a reviewer for the SC Research Posters committee, which has a submission deadline in July, you should contact the SC Posters committee chair 18 months before the submission deadline for the conference year you wish to volunteer for. Most SC committee members are chosen and announced at least a year in advance. You can usually identify the chair of your target committee by contacting the current year’s chair – they generally know who their successors will be.
Serve in similar volunteer roles for other smaller conferences
For example, when looking for committee members, the Architecture and Networks area chair of the SC Technical Papers committee may search the committees of other high-profile conferences for potential committee members.
Submit your work to SC
This is true for Technical Program reviewer positions in particular. For example, the Research Posters chair may look for potential committee members among the authors of recent years’ accepted posters, who have shown themselves to be active in their research areas and familiar with the submitter’s perspective of the review process.
Network in your community
Finally, just like in other aspects of professional life, networking (the professional kind, not the computer kind!) is very useful. Making a good impression on the people in your corner of the community can only improve your chances of being considered when they, or their colleagues, begin recruiting members for their committees.