WIC+ Travel Grant Summary – Maddie Hoffmann, 2023 Gordon Research Conference on Photosynthesis

The WIC+ professional development travel grant enabled me to attend the Photosynthesis Gordon Seminar and Conference in July 2023 in Newry, Maine. At the conference I learned about new and unpublished research being done in all areas of photosynthesis. As a physical chemist, it was particularly useful to learn from theorists and biologists that work on similar problems as me, but with different techniques and approaches. I also really appreciated the opportunity to meet international collaborators in person. Discussing projects we have been working on together for years in person was so much more exciting than on zoom! I presented a poster at both the seminar and the conference on research I recently submitted for publication. This was the perfect time to present this work because I could advertise the new manuscript to scientists in the field and I received insightful feedback for the next steps in the project.

I would like to thank WIC+ for the opportunity to attend this conference. It was a great time and helped me grow academically and professionally. I am grateful for WIC+’s support and all that the group does year-round for the department.

WIC+ Travel Grant Summary – Sarah Quinn, 2023 International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Science

Thanks to the WIC+ Professional Development grant, I was able to attend the International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Science in Brisbane, Australia this summer. This was my first time attending an academic conference, and it was fulfilling in many ways. I had the opportunity to network with a ton of scientists, including many international researchers and collaborators I had never met in person before.  I also spoke with representatives from companies that work on HIV diagnostics and treatment, further confirming my interest in a career in biotech or pharma. Presenting my poster also led to a lot of constructive conversations on my work. In addition to the basic science area I presented in, this conference also included researchers in clinical science and public health, as well as members of the community living with HIV. Getting to learn from and present to people of such diverse perspectives was an incredibly valuable experience and gave me a more wholistic understanding of the field across the entire care continuum.

WIC+ Travel Grant Summary – Yana Petri, 2023 Gordon Research Conference on Bioorganic Chemistry

I had a great time at the 2023 Bioorganic Chemistry Graduate Research Seminar and Conference. I made several new friends, networked, solidified my interests in pursuing a postdoc in chemical immunology, and left with new ideas. Overall, I experienced a general sense of inspiration and gratitude for being a part of the chemical biology field and its wonderful community of scientists.

WIC+ Travel Grant Summary – Jinyi Yang, 2023 Gordon Research Conference on Peptide Materials

I am grateful for the opportunity to attend the Gordon Research Conference in Galveston, Texas, in January 2023, made possible by the WIC+ professional development grant. The conference included inspiring research talks where established PIs shared published and unpublished results in peptide-based materials. The program also included the broader fields of polymer- and protein-based biomaterials, exposing me to a wide range of research topics. I learned a lot not only from the talks but also from the extended discussions afterward.

This was the first GRC for peptide materials and my first exposure to a community that closely aligns with my interest. The WIC+ grant also supports my poster presentation on the collagen-mimetic peptide hydrogel I have been working on for my graduate studies. Being able to receive valuable and constructive feedback from fellow trainees and established PIs while I am working on the manuscript has been immensely helpful. I want to extend my gratitude again for the generous support that WIC+ has provided during this process. I hope more colleagues in the department will take advantage of this great opportunity.

WIC+ Travel Grant Summary – Alexandra Brown, 2022 ACS Fall National Meeting

I am grateful that the WIC+ Professional Development grant was able to support my travel to the Fall 2022 American Chemical Society National Meeting in Chicago, Illinois. I gave an oral presentation on my research in the Inorganic Young Investigator’s symposium, which was an excellent opportunity to present my graduate work to both students and professors from across the country. In addition, I was able to attend a wide range of oral and poster presentations from other researchers and had a number of insightful conversations with other conference attendees. This was my first time attending an ACS conference as a graduate student and the experience gave me a chance to see a broad range of chemistry research at a single conference and provided me with practice speaking to an audience with diverse research interests. I am thankful to WIC+ for providing students and postdocs with funding to enable these travel opportunities.

WIC+ Travel Grant Summary – Chuchu Guo, 2022 Metals in Medicine Gordon Research Conference

I would like to thank the WIC+ Professional Development Grant for supporting my participation in the Metals in Medicine on Gordon Research Conference in June 2022. With the opportunity of spending five days at Proctor Academy, I learned about the latest research in this field and interacted with many great scientists in the bioinorganic community.

Under the theme of “Metals in Medicine”, the conference focused on improving human health using metal-based drug candidates and consisted of talks and posters spanning from fundamental science to therapeutic application. I learned about the frontiers in this field and got to know about the most recent clinical updates on some promising drug candidates. My abstract for the poster presentation was selected to be a part of the poster preview talks, and I learned how to introduce my work in a three-minute talk to the audience, including my peers at other institutions and some luminaries in this field. During the poster sessions, I had very interesting and insightful discussions, received feedback on my research, and gained inspiration from others. It was very helpful for me to connect with scientists in both academia and industry, who generously shared their experiences in different career paths and gave me much advice on the possibilities of my next steps. I also built friendships with PhD students and postdocs and had a great time talking about our research and life experiences together.

Overall, this conference was a wonderful experience, and I believe that it will be beneficial to my research and life in the future. I am very grateful for the generous support from WIC+ Professional Development Grant that allowed me to participate at this great conference.

WIC+ Travel Grant Summary – Vicky Jun, Chemical Biology and Physiology 21|22 Conference

I am grateful and honored to receive the WIC+ Professional Development Grant. Support from the WIC+ allowed me to attend my first in-person Chemical Biology and Physiology 21|22 Conference held in Oregon, where I was able to build many new networks within chemical biology communities all around the world. As my research interest expands to translational research related to human health, this conference was a perfect opportunity to explore my expertise and interest. I have met and talked with over ten faculty members, including young assistant professors and full professors, from all over the world (e.g., Japan, Canada, Netherlands, and the U.S.). I had a fruitful and meaningful time sharing my current work and getting feedback on proposal ideas for my independent career. I have met many students and postdocs who will be my future academic friends and colleagues. This conference has benefited me professionally and personally by letting me 1) share my work, 2) build a network, and 3) meet mentors whom I can ask for advice when I search for academic jobs in the future. Without the generous support from WIC+, I would not have solely enjoyed the conference without worrying about the cost and other needs.

I would like to thank WIC+committee members for spending their time and effort to review grant applications and provide the best support to every women+ chemist in need. Lastly and most importantly, WIC+ provided me a sense of belonging to this supportive community, which I find to be the best part of getting this support.

WIC+ Travel Grant Summary – Mikaila Hoffman, Molecular Biophysics of Membranes Meeting

The WIC+ Professional Development Grant helped me attend the Molecular Biophysics of Membranes BPS Conference in Lake Tahoe, CA in June 2022. The conference exposed me to a wide range of biophysics research that was fascinating to explore. I was also able to present a poster on my published work exploring the ligand-induced conformational changes observed in bacterial chemoreceptors using single-molecule FRET. This was an excellent opportunity to share my research with the community and get feedback that will strengthen the project moving forward. I was awarded one of three Student Poster Awards sponsored by the Biophysical Journal, and the opportunity to advertise my work in this way was quite valuable. I was also able to network and form connections that will certainly serve my future career aspirations.

WIC+ Travel Grant Summary – Natalie Golota, Experimental Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Conference

The WIC+ Professional Development grant helped me attend the Experimental Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Conference (ENC) in Orlando, Florida in April 2022. I was selected to give an oral presentation which was an extremely valuable experience. This was my first conference talk and the funding from WIC+ helped promote the progress made on the fabrication of single crystal diamond rotors and their use in magnetic resonance experiments. The work is currently unpublished and being able to share it allowed me to receive constructive feedback prior to journal submission. Furthermore, this experience helped me gain experience in preparing and presenting my research and I gained further confidence in my own work through this process. Finally, I was able to network and make personal connections that will no doubt be important for my career in the future.

WIC+ Travel Grant Summary – Vyshnavi Vennelakanti, 2022 WE Local Conference

I am extremely thankful to WIC+ Professional Development Grant for providing me the
opportunity to attend the 2022 WE Local Conference in Buffalo. This was my first time attending a leadership conference. While I did not present at this conference, I attended the talks and participated in the activities held at the conference. There were sessions on a wide variety of topics, ranging from understanding the ideas of perception and reality in the workplace, exploring our unconscious gender bias, to improving presentation skills, responding to bad behavior in the workplace, and how to lead an energetic career. Most of the sessions had a presentation component followed by active discussion among the participants. This helped me understand the different perspectives of other attendees, and also to think in unconventional ways. There were sessions that talked about how to strike the work-life balance, and how family and friends can act as pillars of support through stressful times. There were discussions related to the importance of mental health, and how to openly talk about these issues, and learn to face them. I felt that all of the sessions I attended were extremely helpful, and I took something valuable from them, which I can apply in my personal and professional life. I also had the chance to network with fellow women in STEM, and connected with them. The process of networking helped me identify not only opportunities for internships in industry but also potential next steps for a career in academia.

I thank the WIC+ Professional Development committee for their generous support that allowed me to attend this brilliant conference which has been a wonderful learning experience for me.