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Echols Champions Minority Student Research Conference

Posted: November 17, 2015

Kayla A. Echols, Plant Biology Ph.D. Candidate in Dr. Yinong Yang's lab, commends the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students.
Kayla A. Echols (left) in Seattle

Kayla A. Echols (left) in Seattle

On November 11-14, 2015, I attended the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS) hosted in Seattle, WA. Now in its fifteenth year, the conference provides one of the largest, professional conferences for underrepresented minority students with resources to pursue advanced training in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

My attendance was funded by the Alcorn State-Penn State Bridges to the Doctorate program. The Bridges program is funded by the National Institute of Health (NIH), an R25 grant. The principal investigator is Dr. Pamela Hankey-Giblin, Professor of Immunology. Bridges was designed to foster students’ matriculation into doctoral programs.

This was my third time attending ABRCMS, and each conference has proved useful. In 2012 and 2013, I attended sessions such as “Choosing a Ph.D. Program” and “Effective Mentoring for Promoting Student Success.” This year, I spent my time recruiting students for the graduate school at Penn State.

The sessions offered at ABRCMS serve as useful methods to measure professional development. As an undergraduate, students network with science professionals, graduate students, and graduate schools. These interactions are opportunities to explore programs of interest and funding. Undergraduate students can be funded to attend the conference through the ABRCMS Student Travel Award or the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) MARC Travel Award.

For graduate students and postdoctoral scholars, institutions such as FASEB, National Institutes of Health (NIH), St. Jude’s, and the American Society for Plant Biologists are in attendance and actively searching for potential candidates for employment and fellowship awards. Postdoctoral scholars and faculty scientists who serve as judges may fund their trip through the ABRCMS Judges’ Travel Subsidy. The subsidy provides up to $1,850 in support.

See Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students if you would like more information or are interested in attending.