Essay

May I introduce you to a community of engagement?

This essay received an honorable mention in our “Meeting Connections” contest
Audrey Shor
By Audrey Shor
April 5, 2022

I was a bright-eyed, bushy-tailed assistant professor attending my first scientific conference since transitioning to academia at a primarily undergraduate institution from clinical research. To say the transition was a challenge is an understatement.

While I had heard of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in grad school, my focus was on oncology societies at that time. I had no idea just how transformative this conference was going to be for me. Attending ASBMB in Washington, D.C. in the spring of 2011 was an amazing experience and the exact level of diverse inspiration I needed to embrace my transition. I felt welcomed and at home.

Between the hallway conversations, science talks and array of workshops that I had to choose from, I was almost overwhelmed by the myriad of ways I could elevate myself. Attending the education workshop was the springboard to crafting my identity as an educator who actively engages with my students both in and outside of the classroom. This workshop inspired who I am today and helped me forge relationships with mentors near and far.

The interactions with others at this session all helped in my transformation; some resulted in deeper subsequent collaborations, others merely inspired me to think creatively about my engagement with peers, students and the community. Everyone who shared their experiences at this session shaped a piece of who I am today: Tim Herman, Shannon Colton, Peter Kennelly and Ellis Bell ignited all that I have accomplished.

After a year of feeling isolated and lost, I had found my people and knew how to scaffold changes in my approach with teaching, I had a better idea of how to use my clinical experience to introduce research efforts that could be accomplished with little to no funding or equipment, and I had fantastic ideas for community engagement.

These seeds of thought led to my involvement with the National Science Foundation’s Connecting Researchers Students and Teachers, or CREST, project to engage undergraduates in science and later with BioMolViz, a group that promotes biomolecular visual literacy. The experience transformed my approach in the classroom and laboratory. I began using hands-on, applied learning, with elements drawn from process-oriented guided inquiry learning, problem-based learning and course-based undergraduate research experience — known as POGIL, PBL and CURE. I was inspired to apply for seed funding via the ASBMB’s Hands-on Opportunities to Promote Engagement in Science, or HOPES, program, to initiate amazing community engagement experiences for my students and community.

As a result of this meeting, not only did I have more fun in my new profession, but I also shaped better future scientists and clinicians. I only hope that I have since had a chance to inspire others as well.

MEETING CONNECTIONS

Have you made a friendship or connection, forged a collaboration, gleaned insight or had another meaningful experience at a scientific meeting?

To celebrate the return of the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology’s annual meeting as an in-person event, ASBMB Today held an essay contest based on this question. This entry won an honorable mention.

Enjoy reading ASBMB Today?

Become a member to receive the print edition monthly and the digital edition weekly.

Learn more
Audrey Shor
Audrey Shor

Audrey Shor is a senior medical writer at ApotheCom. She was previously an associate professor of biology at Saint Leo University.

Get the latest from ASBMB Today

Enter your email address, and we’ll send you a weekly email with recent articles, interviews and more.

Latest in Opinions

Opinions highlights or most popular articles

Science meets soccer: It’s all about passion
Essay

Science meets soccer: It’s all about passion

Jan. 23, 2023

"As in sports, success in science is not only about intrinsic talent or natural abilities. It requires genuine commitment, eagerness to learn, discipline, teamwork — and truthfully, sometimes a bit of luck."

Equal benefits for postdocs
Jobs

Equal benefits for postdocs

Jan. 17, 2023

Postdocs on federal fellowships should receive equal benefits as peers, write Mallory R. Smith and Thomas P. Kimbis.

China now publishes more high-quality science than any other nation
Essay

China now publishes more high-quality science than any other nation

Jan. 15, 2023

Thanks to investment and a growing, capable workforce, the country’s scientific output has increased steadily and become more novel and creative.

Diversity is essential to helping students find their feet in college
Essay

Diversity is essential to helping students find their feet in college

Jan. 14, 2023

“Part of feeling disconnected … came from my naive assumption that a 21,000-person college would be a place where I would immediately feel at home with others who share my Asian American cultural roots,” the author writes.

So you wanna be in science communication?
Jobs

So you wanna be in science communication?

Jan. 13, 2023

The managing editor of BioBuzz writes about her career path, day-to-day work and advice for newcomers.

Another hill to climb
Wellness

Another hill to climb

Jan. 12, 2023

The stress of managing expectations in a competitive work environment is compounded for those from historically marginalized and underrepresented backgrounds.