By Jayla Harvey
The 15th Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS) in Seattle, Washington was held at the Washington Convention Center and is dedicated to “strengthening diversity and enhancing minority students in STEM Research”. Two seniors of the Cobb Research Laboratory, Nicholas Guthrie and Jayla Harvey, received the travel award to attend the five day event full of seminars and meetings. In an effort to caterer to the wide variety of interests and possible career paths the world of research has to offer in a short amount of time, there were sessions divided up for the attendees to choose from. Sessions ranged from ‘Picking the right Ph.D Program,’ ‘Community College Students; Tips for transitioning to a 4 year institution,’ and ‘M.D.-Ph.D. - Is it Right for Me?’ All of these sessions were lead by professionals in the field that gave riveting lectures about how to prepare and apply for the next steps in life and who also answered personal questions and were available for counseling the students.
Along with the preparatory sessions, there were plenary scientific sessions that were geared to expose the ABRCMS participants to new discoveries being made. Topics like ‘Unraveling Smell,’ given by Nobel Prize winner Dr. Linda Buck, speaking on newly identified families of receptors in the olfactory system and the pathways they generate that ultimately leads to our individual perceptions and responses, and ‘Ebola and Beyond: Emerging Viruses in a Globalized World,’ where Dr. David Quammen discussed zoonotic disease and their effect worldwide. The nucleus of ABRCMS is the Exhibits and Poster Sessions, where colleges, businesses and students all come together. This was a unique opportunity for students to network and closely interact with future employers or mentors. The poster disciplines included Cell Biology, Neuroscience, Immunology, Chemistry, Developmental Biology and Engineering. The conference was closed out by the keynote speaker Nontombi Naomi Tutu. She gave an inspiring speech urging minorities to continue to excel and prosper in the scientific disciplines because our points of view are vital to the STEM World. ****