On November 13, SLU McNair staff and scholars traveled to Anaheim, CA to attend the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS). This was the first time through the current grant that SLU McNair has participated in ABRCMS. Following the conference theme, “Invest in the Future of STEM,” Dr. Avery August wrote that the conference aims to “inspire our future leaders…[who] will continue to diversify the biomedical research workforce in ways that represent our society.”
McNair Scholars Wesley Agee, Dalia Harris, Derek R. McFarland Jr. (Harris-Stowe), and Brandon Hughes (SLU) joined over 5,500 participants, including other emerging researchers, faculty, and graduate school recruiters. All four scholars gave poster presentations in their respective disciplines of biology and psychology, fielding rigorous questions from conference judges and other experienced researchers. “Presenting my first poster presentation at the the largest biomedical research conference for minority students is something that I will cherish.” reflected Dalia Harris. Also attending the conference and serving as one of the conference judges was Dr. Laurie Shornick, an associate professor of biology and SLU McNair faculty mentor. “This was my 2nd year serving as a judge for ABRCMS. I love attending this meeting because it is wonderful to see so many students excited about science. I always learn something that I can bring back to SLU that will enhance my teaching, mentoring and research,” expressed Dr. Shornick.
Additionally, scholars participated in various professional development sessions and networking meals with peers and established faculty in their fields. Wesley Agee recalled, “Getting to connect with student and faculty researchers from across the country was an invaluable opportunity. I was able to bond, network, and learn about some phenomenal research.” Brandon Hughes echoed the sentiment: “Amazing research and networking with plenty of superb present and future researchers!”