The 10th Anniversary of ABRCMS: Preparing Underrepresented Minority Students for Scientific Careers

The 10th Anniversary of ABRCMS: Preparing Underrepresented Minority Students for Scientific Careers

Last week, I had the privilege of giving a keynote address at the 10th Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS) Exit icon in Charlotte, North Carolina. The conference, sponsored by NIGMS and organized by NIGMS Council member Cliff Houston, had a record attendance of 3,100, including more than 2,000 students and about 20 NIGMS staff members.

The meeting contributes in two major ways to the goal of a scientific workforce that reflects the diversity of the U.S. population. It provides a forum for promising scientists from underrepresented groups to showcase their talent and knowledge and make important training and career connections. It also gives faculty mentors valuable resources for facilitating their students’ success.

My address was organized around the themes from Randy Pausch’s lecture “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams Exit icon,” and it described key events and strategies that facilitated my own path to a career in science. I greatly enjoyed discussing science and career opportunities with many of the students at the poster session and after my talk.

Other keynote speakers at this impressive conference included Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Maya Angelou, NIH Director Francis Collins and NIGMS grantee Carolyn Bertozzi.

Jilliene Mitchell, who staffed the NIGMS exhibit booth and talked to a lot of attendees, writes:

The energy level among the meeting attendees soared through the roof of the Charlotte Convention Center. The undergraduate and graduate students were tremendously enthusiastic about networking, presenting their research, listening to scientific talks and getting advice about their career paths from accomplished scientists. The NIGMS exhibit booth received a lot of traffic, with students lined up to talk about training opportunities and faculty members lined up to discuss their grants.

Throughout the conference, I encountered many students who thanked NIGMS for sponsoring ABRCMS. One postdoc summed it up best when she said, “This is the best career development workshop I’ve been to—it’s huge!”

These video clips I took capture the mood and excitement.

The announcement for next year’s ABRCMS meeting is expected soon, and we will post information here when it is available.

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