AGU's Chapman Conference program has been facilitating small collaborative meetings on topical and specialized subjects for more than 35 years. These meetings allow for debate and an exploration of possible solutions to scientific problems, while providing a professional networking opportunity for younger scientists. Venkat Lakshmi, professor of hydrology, climate, and water resources and former chair of the Department of Earth and Ocean Sciences at the University of South Carolina, was selected in January as the Chapman Conference program chair through 2015. Lakshmi, a former Eos editor, recalls with enthusiasm organizing a 2012 Chapman Conference in Hawaii: the proposal writing, the grant writing, soliciting presenters, and gathering scientific material. He is now using his experience organizing meetings and mentoring students at his university to help advance the Chapman program. Eos spoke with him about his new role and his vision for the program.