Presenting at ABRCMS Boosts Confidence of UMBC STEM BUILD Trainees

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Twelve University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) STEM BUILD trainees and affiliates participated in the 2021 Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS). 

Alexi Misciagna, a senior bioinformatics major; Kevin Gibbons, a junior biological sciences major; and Senali Dansou, a junior biochemistry and molecular biology major, all attended the conference and received awards for their presentations.  

“Working with my mentor to create my lightning talk and then giving it inspired confidence in my ability to present my research, especially in a live setting and for such a large audience,” said Misciagna, who is studying nutrient transport in the Cellvibrio japonicus bacterium with Jeffrey Gardner, Ph.D., associate professor of biological sciences.  

Another student who benefitted from the presentation was Dansou. He works with Deepak Koirala, Ph.D., assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry. Koirala’s lab focuses on the structure and function of RNA.

“By participating in ABRCMS, I learned how to concisely discuss my research with scientists from different fields,” he shared. “This will help me implement better communication skills when I attend other scientific meetings or conferences.” 

Misciagna also appreciated the opportunity to network with other early-career researchers in a breakout room after her presentation. 

Talking with others “helped put in perspective what I want to do after graduation and boosted my confidence to apply to graduate and post-baccalaureate programs,” she said. Preparing for the conference, presenting, and interacting with others did “not only further motivate me to go after opportunities, but also provided insight on how to get there.” 

Networking at the conference also had immediate benefits for Gibbons, who studies ovarian cancer with Achuth Padmanabhan, Ph.D., assistant professor of biological sciences. 

“I got the opportunity to speak with so many graduate schools and graduate students about different PhD programs,” Gibbons said. “From these connections I was even invited to apply to several summer research programs for summer 2022. Overall, ABRCMS was an amazing experience!”

UMBC STEM BUILD participants Achalefac Akem, Zoha Faraz, Bailey Godwin, Amir Ledbetter, Caroline Moore, Rameesha Mustafa, Gloria Ogordi, and Jemima Sammanasu also attended ABRCMS.

The Diversity Program Consortium Coordination and Evaluation Center at UCLA is supported by Office of the Director of the National Institutes of Health / National Institutes of General Medical Sciences under award number U54GM119024.
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