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Conference Header



Trainees are a vital part of the AUCD network now and into the future. We strongly encourage any interested trainee to talk with their director or training director about attending the AUCD Conference. You'll receive a wealth of learning and networking experiences that can be found in few other places. We hope to see you at the Conference!


Trainee Conference Activities

Trainees are invited to participate in the AUCD Conference in a variety of ways, both while in DC and from afar. 

Social Media

photo of three female traineesEveryone is encouraged to interact with the Conference on social media.

  • Follow #AUCD2015 on Twitter (@AUCDnews) 
  • Follow #AUCD2015 on Facebook (@AUCDnetwork)
  • Follow #AUCD2015 on Instagram (@AUCDpix)

Conference Activities

Trainees are welcome to join in nearly all aspects of the AUCD Conference! View the conference agenda to find sessions that interest you. Several activities have been designed specifically with trainees in mind, and we hope you'll join us at as many as interest you. 

  • Trainee Networking Session
    Sunday, 4pm
    photo: trainees talking across a tableThis event is specifically for trainees/fellows/students to network with peers from around the country and meet others who work in their field of interest. Several activities are scheduled for this session, including an exciting speed networking activity for trainees to meet and discover common interests. This event will be immediately followed by a cash-bar and free hor d'ouvres reception for trainees.
  • Leadership Reception
    Sunday, 6:30pm
    This event celebrates the leadership journey of our trainees and early career professionals, and offers a space for our future leaders to make meaningful connections with others around the network. AUCD Trainees and Fellows, Leadership Institute Alumni, Emerging Leader Scholarship recipients, Center Directors, and the AUCD Board are invited to this event. AUCD will provide light food, beer, and wine.
  • Trainee Focus Group
    Monday, 12:30pm
    Bring your lunch for an informal discussion about activities that we as a national trainee network might work on this year. Hear from the Virtual Trainee about projects in the works, and share your ideas on how we can connect across disciplines, programs, and the country. All trainees at the conference are invited!
  • "Food for Thought": Trainee-Professional Networking Breakfast
    Tuesday, 7:30am
    Photo: people gathered around a tableGrab breakfast and engage 1:1 with a diverse group of disability professionals in a relaxed atmosphere. 17 network topical experts will be seated at small marked tables table in the breakfast area with space for up to five trainees to join as they please; first come first seated. Trainees are encouraged to come ready to ask about professionals' areas of expertise, roles within their centers or programs, current research or projects, etc. Trainees should also think about their own career aspirations and what guidance these professionals might be able to offer.
  • Self-Advocate Trainees
    Monday, 12-1:30pm
    A group of self-advocate trainees is hosting a meet and greet for all trainees who identify as a self-advocate or person with a disability. Interested individuals should meet in the hotel lobby on Monday at noon, then figure out where to go for lunch. This meeting will be a fun, informal way to connect with other trainees with disabilities from across the network to learn from each other and find out about each other's programs. Contact Tia Nelis or Shelly Baer to RSVP or for more information.





  • Photo: approx. 20 trainees smiling for the cameraWhy should I attend the AUCD Conference? 
    • AUCD is a nationwide network made up of some of the best and brightest in the disability field. Over 800 people will attend the conference, including students, people with disabilities, parents and siblings of people with disabilities, researchers, professors, doctors, therapists, support staff, and more. When you attend AUCD, you will learn about current research and training topics, better understand the latest innovations in disability supports and services, and network with hundreds of professionals. Many former trainee conference attendees have gotten jobs or research funding directly because of the relationships they formed at the AUCD Conference! But most of all, you'll have fun as you're welcomed as an equal partner in what we hope will quickly become your professional home.
  • What should I expect at the AUCD Conference? 
    • Have fun! 
    • Learn a lot!
    • Meet tons of people! 
    • The AUCD Conference spans several days and is packed with events. There are three plenary sessions (general sessions in a large room where there is a person or panel on stage speaking to the entire audience), 50+ concurrent sessions (small sessions scheduled at the same time, each seating approximately 40 people, where a presenter or panel speaks on a topic or research interest), poster sessions (large rooms of posters describing research or activities; you walk down the aisle and browse information and speak to poster authors at your leisure), and meetings (gatherings of people around a common interest). You are encourage to attend anything you are interested in (which is not marked private) and take advantage of the opportunity to learn and network!
  • Photo from the side: people with arms around each other posing for the camera.What can I attend? 
    • Trainees are welcome to attend almost everything at the AUCD Conference! Any plenary, concurrent, or meeting listed in the program or app that you find interesting (and is not marked "private") is open for you to attend. We encourage you to attend as much as possible to learn about issues, and introduce yourself to others in the room. You never know who you'll be sitting next to!
  • What about meals? 
    • Breakfasts and light refreshments throughout the day are generally served at the AUCD Conference, while lunch and dinner are not. See the conference agenda for specifics of each day. You are welcome to eat meals at your own expense in the hotel or venture outside of the hotel. See the conference agenda or app for suggestions on where you might eat while at the conference.
  • Where do I go if I have questions? 
    • While most everyone at the AUCD Conference is very approachable and happy to answer questions, the AUCD staff are particularly versed in Conference events and will be glad to help you as best they can. Stop by the AUCD registration desk at the bottom of the escalator on the Ballroom level, or find anyone with a red "STAFF" ribbon on their nametag.
  • Photo: trainee presenting to a room of peopleHow do I get to/around DC? 
    • The AUCD Conference is located in downtown Washington, DC. The city is accessible by three major airports and the hotel is accessible by both public transportation (subway) and taxi. Find out more by selecting "transportation" from the menu at left.
  • How much does it cost to attend? 
    • The AUCD Conference has several price points for registration, including a discounted rate for trainees and people with disabilities. More information can be found by selecting "registration" from the menu at left. Centers in the AUCD network may have funding to support the expenses of one or more trainees to attend the Conference; ask your Director or Training Director for more information.
  • What should I bring? 
    • Excitement to learn more!
    • Willingness to make connections! 
    • A positive attitude! 
    • Photo: trainee discussing his poster with a staff memberWhen you pack your bags, be sure to bring business cards with you. Networking events such as the AUCD Conference and this session are only the beginning for forging strong and lasting professional relationships. If you don't have business cards, ask your Training Director if your Center can supply some, or select from many free online services to use to develop your own business card. Business cards are an easy self-marketing tool, and it's a great way to keep track of who you have met during the Conference. Turn the business card over to jot down notes about the person whose card you just received and a reminder to contact them in the future.
  • What should I wear? 
    • The typical dress of the AUCD Conference is office wear. We suggest comfortable shoes, and you might want to bring a light sweater as hotel meeting rooms can vary in temperature.
  • Who can I contact with more questions about getting ready for the AUCD Conference? 

Trainee Scholarships

Applications for trainee scholarships to AUCD2015 are now closed.

AUCD awarded 24 scholarships to trainees to attend the AUCD conference and learn more the about the AUCD network and how it can assist trainees with their leadership journey.
Scholarship recipients come from 22 states and represent a wide array of disciplines. Four of the trainees selected will volunteer their time behind the scenes at the AUCD conference while others will participate in the conference and afterwards, create summary projects describing what they learned and the people they met. Stay tuned to experience the conference through these projects.