Paulo Ferreira de Souza Marizonna, Ph.D. ‘17
In May 2015, I attended my second LERA meeting, or third if Regional ILERA meetings are considered. Attending LERA Meetings is an incredible opportunity to learn about other research being conducted in labor relations, get feedback on my own research, and, mainly, to interact with other researchers and students in the field.
When I attended my first LERA meeting in St. Louis, 2013, it was natural to compare it to my previous experience in the 7th ILERA Regional Congress of the Americas/5th Brazilian Conference of Labor and Employment Relation held in Sao Paulo, Brazil, 2011. Although I was able to recognize only a few of the faces from 2011, I could notice that both events were marked mainly by the passion of the presenters and panelists over their research topic and the sense of community that I felt that existed within the Labor Relations field. This sense of community allowed me to feel welcomed attending a conference as a practitioner in Brazil, as well as a graduate student in St. Louis. One clear difference, however, was the size and activity level of the labor relations community in the US. Coming from my previous experience in which very few Brazilian practitioners attended the conference, as well as a very limited number of Brazilian scholars, I was excited to see the size and diversity involved in St. Louis and Pittsburgh.
Attending LERA Meetings is crucial for my graduate student experience at Cornell for different reasons. First, it is possible to get in contact with high quality research being conducted in the US and other parts of the world. Second, the panels that one attends are important opportunities to connect with the labor relations community, mainly at the ILR reception and in the Ph.D. Consortium. Lastly, presenting a paper at LERA is a great opportunity to receive useful feedback on an ongoing research project.
In Pittsburgh, I had the chance to present my current research project on alternative dispute resolution (ADR) in Brazilian companies on the panel Dispute Resolution in Multiple Contexts. The feedback that I received from the panel discussant and from audience members was very helpful and it is already being reflected in my research. Moreover, presenting this research also led me to be contacted by a British scholar in the audience, which in the future might result in a collaborative research project. Besides that, attending panels such as Transformation of the World of Work and Labor Movements in Asia and the AILR/LERA Best Papers Symposium provided me with interesting insights both on theory and research methods. Finally, the Ph.D. Consortium was once again a high point in the conference. Discussions with faculty members from different schools about job market strategies, as well as the interaction with Ph.D. students from different programs will definitely prove useful in the near future, and maybe can also result in research collaboration.
All in all, I must say that I am already looking forward for attending the 68th LERA Meeting in Minneapolis in May 2016.