Friday, December 4, 2009
Department of Biological Sciences Attends ABRCMS
In early November, the Department of Biological Sciences participated in the ninth Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS) in Phoenix, Arizona. The conference, sponsored by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), encourages underrepresented minority students to pursue advanced training in biomedical and behavioral sciences.
Stephanie Hughes, a doctoral student in the department, fully understands the import and impact of this conference. She was first introduced to Carnegie Mellon at ABRCMS last year after meeting the Assistant Head for Departmental Affairs, Emily Stark. “Before the conference, I had not considered Carnegie Mellon as an option [for graduate school]. However, after meeting Emily and discussing research opportunities, Carnegie Mellon moved to the top of my list. She showed a genuine interest in my fortune and was very eager to help,” said Hughes.
Stark again represented the department at this year’s event. “This conference is so impressive in both its scope and its professionalism,” stated Stark. “The undergraduates are amazing: enthusiastic about science, optimistic about succeeding, eager for guidance and opportunities. ABRCMS just exudes positivity.”
Not only does this gathering foster relationships with prospective students, but it also allows exhibitors to showcase their undergraduate research initiatives through student presentations. During this year’s ABRCMS, over 1,000 students participated in the poster and oral presentations. Among them, undergraduates Cortlyn Brown and Richard Decal, alumni of the 2009 NSF-Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program in the Department of Biological Sciences, presented posters highlighting their projects. Brown’s work in Dr. Eric Ahrens’s laboratory centered on evaluating multimodal nanoemulsions for 19F MRI with biosensing properties; Brown received an ABRCMS Chemistry section award for her presentation. Decal was a member of Dr. Brooke McCartney’s laboratory, where he studied the correlations among salt-bridges, phosphorylation and APC2 function in the destruction complex using Drosophila as a model system. Olivia Molinar, a 2008 NSF-REU alumna, also attended ABRCMS.
“Some of us underestimate the impact that a national conference will have on us; though attending my first conference at ABRCMS was an enlightening experience. I had the opportunity to network and listen to very interesting talks. It also provided me with great advice about applying to graduate schools,” stated Molinar.
Related links: Department of Biological Sciences’ NSF-REU Program | ABRCMS