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

ARPA-H threatens the biomedical innovation pipeline
Blotter

ARPA-H threatens the biomedical innovation pipeline

May 25, 2022

Congress must find a way to fund the new agency without crippling the NIH and the curiosity-driven research it supports.

Risk aversion is ruining science
Essay

Risk aversion is ruining science

May 21, 2022

To nurture scientific discovery, universities and grant institutions must do a better job of rewarding failure.

Trolling is taking a toll on science journalism
Science Communication

Trolling is taking a toll on science journalism

May 19, 2022

Science journalists say they face threats of online harassment — and that newsrooms are doing little to protect them.

Good fellows
Editor's Note

Good fellows

May 18, 2022

“To be a fellow, a member must be generous with time and talent — not just someone whose CV includes pages of individual BMB achievements.”

3 ways to make ‘belonging’ more than a buzzword in higher ed
Education

3 ways to make ‘belonging’ more than a buzzword in higher ed

May 18, 2022

“Studies have found that belonging is a key to college student success. … (It) is especially important for students of color who attend institutions that were not designed with them in mind.”

Making a bigger footprint
Essay

Making a bigger footprint

May 17, 2022

“I have resolved to assist the society in any way I can to build its international membership profile … I look forward to many of you joining me in this endeavor.”