Last year, GSA launched a new initiative to support our student and postdoc members who have ideas for local workshops on topics related to genetics research. The Advocating Translational Genetics/Genomics Conference in St. Louis (ATGC-STL) held at Harris Stowe State University (HSSU) was one of the first Trainee Organized Symposia to be funded through this mechanism. The organizers, Joseph Bradley, Davinelle Daniels, and Chelsea Pretz wanted to create an opportunity to expose young, underrepresented groups to a wide range of genetics scholars stating, “We chose to host ATGC-STL at HSSU, a historically black university because these institutions are crucial to diversity in the science community.”
The event engaged over 100 attendees from a broad range of backgrounds in a number of seminars and a poster session. Scholars had a chance to present their research, interact with university faculty and peers, and obtain information on undergraduate and graduate level opportunities in genetics research. One of the most notable moments of the symposium was when two high school students presented with experienced, professional researchers during the “Genetic Seminar Presentation” session. These students, who had summer research opportunities in which they were paired with a research lab at Washington University in St. Louis (WUSTL) through the Young Scientist Program, shared their research experience with their peers and highlighted the possibilities of early exposure to research outside of the classroom. Conference participants raved about the academic-specific workshops and mentor-mentee pairing, which ensured that attendees were able to make meaningful connections that lasted beyond the event.
“What really made this conference such a success was the support shown by Harris-Stowe State University. While this was truly a student-focused and student-led endeavor, the Harris-Stowe faculty and staff were extremely supportive. The conference, like most successful STEM projects, was truly a collaborative effort. In the coming years, we hope this conference continues to be a pipeline for many more aspiring geneticists.” – ATGC-STL Organizers
The deadline for the next round of proposals for Trainee Organized Symposia will be July 10, 2016. Learn more about the review criteria here.