The annual retreat is a long-standing tradition in the Department of Genetics and Development. Each September, we have a two-day retreat featuring research presentations by both students and faculty. This provides an opportunity for all researchers in the department, at all levels, to exchange ideas and to tell others about their most recent work. It also serves as an introduction to the department for the new graduate students, where they can get an idea of the work being conducted in different laboratories to help them choose the labs where they would like to rotate. Primarily, however, it is an important social event.
The scientific sessions consist of short talks and a poster session. The quality of the oral and poster presentation easily matches that of many international meetings. But at the same time, the atmosphere is relaxed, and there is plenty of free time to talk to others and participate in extracurricular activities.
Cherished traditions include the annual skit, which is written by the second year students, performed by the first years, and which frequently roasts the faculty members who interact most often with the students. The t-shirt contest brings an opportunity for those with visual art talent to shine, and the winning shirt is given to all retreat attendees. Students and postdocs are eager to present their posters in our poster contest, which comes with a financial prize for the winner.