Written by Michelle Chang, a senior at the University of California, Berkeley, and a 2017 NSF REU Student Scholar on the marine debris research track:

It was an incredibly amazing experience for me to attend the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABCRMS) in Phoenix, Arizona. The conference was a 4 day experience (November 1-4), with many opportunities to explore graduate schools and network. ABRCMS promotes cross-discipline collaboration and multi-disciplinary research, therefore, there are 12 disciplines represented at this conference: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Cancer Biology, Cell Biology, Chemistry, Computational and Systems Biology, Developmental Biology and Genetics, Engineering, Physics and Mathematics, Immunology, Microbiology, Neuroscience, Physiology, and Social and Behavioral Sciences and Public Health.

This year, 2,200 students were accepted to present their research and 500 received the travel award, and I was fortunate to be one of those students.

I presented my research on Friday, November 3 during a poster session for 1.5 hours. I spoke with 4 judges, of which 3 scored me. It was truly an exciting and enriching experience to share science and the work we did this past summer with people in similar and different STEM disciplines! I really enjoyed the conversations I had with other scholars and the judges as it gave me the opportunity to look at our research in new perspectives.

In addition to sharing our research and learning about the other research in the field of public health, I developed great friends at this conference.

I want to thank:

  1. NSF for providing me this opportunity to conduct research and present my work
  2. ABCRMS for supporting me with the Travel Award, which funded my flight and hotel stay for the duration of the conference
  3. UCF staff: Shannon and Tami for organizing all the logical conference reimbursements, such as registration fees and ground transportation
  4. Organizers of the conference: Irene V. Hulede, Ronica Rodela, Leah Gibbons, Khoa Le, and Tiffani Fonseca.
  5. All co-authors: Rachel, Chino, Erin, Rigo, Lain, Christine, Dr. Visaggi, and Dr. Hawthorne for being such a great team to work with this past summer!

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