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Here are some stories from students about how attending conferences and educational events has helped them with their current and future goals:
American Physician Scientist Association (APSA) Annual Meeting, Chicago, IL The opportunity to attend the APSA Annual meeting, held in conjunction with the ASCI/AAP joint meeting, and present my research, was invaluable on several levels. The primary benefit of attending this meeting was the opportunity to network not only with my future colleagues from other institutions, but also interact and discuss my research with a different group of scientists. As a student in the biochemistry department, most of of my interactions are with basic scientists, so as an MD-PhD candidate with an interest in the broader clinical and translational implications of my, it was important to me to talk to a group of individuals who were like-mindedly interested in closing the loop between bench and bedside.
American Society for biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) Hill Day, Washington, DCAs a Hill Day participant with the ASBMB, I had the opportunity to spend a day on Capital Hill as an advocate on behalf of the biomedical research enterprise. We took part in a "Policy 101" training session before breaking into small groups for a full day of congressional meetings. This was an excellent way to be involved in science advocacy and learn first-hand how policy is made and funding allocated.
Over the course of my graduate studies I've had the opportunity to present my research at a number of conferences including the Seattle Parasitology Conference (Seattle, WA), the Kinetoplastid Molecular Cell Biology Meeting (Woods Hole, MA), and the Molecular Parasitology Meeting (Woods Hole, MA). Additionally, I was able to attend and present at the Biology of Parasitism Short Course outside of São Paulo, Brazil! Through all of these unique experiences, I've developed strong science communication skills as well as received valuable feedback about my work from world-renowned experts in the parasitology field. By being able to be physically present at these types of events, I've made my laboratory, department, and university more visible in the greater world of scientific research and brought awareness to what we work for each day in the laboratory. I am very appreciative of the opportunities afforded to me, and wish the same for other graduate students.