Graduate Student Travel Award
The Graduate Student Travel Award is supported by the Office of the Provost to help University of Delaware graduate students participate in significant professional conferences pertaining to their field of study. Conference travel is essential to the academic growth and development of graduate students. It affords opportunities for presentation of student work in a professional setting, as well as opportunities for networking and exposure to the latest academic research.
In the Spotlight
Below is a sampling of the most recent award recipients.
PROGRAM: Biological Sciences
American Society for Cell Biology
Washington, D.C., District of Columbia, United States
December 7, 2019
With the support of the Graduate Student Travel Award, I attended the 2019 American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB) in Washington, D.C. With over 6,000 attendees, ASCB is the largest conference for cell biologists across the globe. ASCB is a central hub for showcasing the latest research trends in cell biology-related fields, with this year’s emphasis on imaging techniques and disease diagnostics. My research aims to dissect the molecular interactions between a pathogenic microbe and its host. I use an integrated approach to understand host-pathogen dynamics, relying heavily on techniques from cell biology, biochemistry and microbiology. As a Ph.D. student studying a highly interdisciplinary field, it was extremely useful for me to attend a conference in which from all of these research fields would be represented.
I found ASCB to be a particularly beneficial conference because I had the opportunity to interact with leading experts in my field as well as offer my research expertise to up and coming researchers. This was the first conference I had been to where I had the opportunity to serve as a poster judge for a national undergraduate poster competition, which I found to be extremely rewarding. I learned about the current research projects being conducted by undergraduate students from all over the country, and offered my feedback on how to improve their research as well as their scientific communication skills. I also presented a poster on my current project, and received useful feedback on how to tackle some roadblocks that I was currently facing with my experiments.
I am primarily interested in how bacterial proteins can target and manipulate membrane trafficking pathways in host cells so I attended talks focused on organelle dynamics and lipid-membrane trafficking. It was an invaluable experience to hear about the cutting-edge techniques being used in my field, and thinking about how I can apply them to my own project. I was particularly impressed with talks showcasing microscopy-based methods for identifying intracellular protein-protein interactions. Being surrounded by such innovative projects fueled my motivation to return to UD and get back to work.
I attended this conference with my advisor and 4 of my lab mates which made this experience even more memorable. Being able to discuss talks and posters on the spot with my lab members made the information I learned more enriching and useful. Outside of the conference, we explored historic Washington, D.C and enjoyed our time together at nearby bars and restaurants. ASCB was an instrumental experience for my graduate career and I greatly appreciate the Graduate College for funding this opportunity.
PROGRAM: Materials Science & Engineering
2019 Fall Materials Research Society Meeting and Exhibit
Boston, Massachusetts, United States
December 1, 2019
With the support of the Graduate Professional Development Award, I was able to attend the 2019 Fall Materials Research Society Meeting in Boston, Massachusetts. Throughout this five-day conference I was able to not only explore the city and enjoy the first big snowfall of the year, but also see what’s happening in cutting-edge research and technology advances. One of the most beneficial things about attending such a large conference is the wide variety of topics covered. From green energy and solar cell research to neural devices and cancer treatment strategies, they had it all. I presented my own work on biocompatible nanoparticles which have a cell membrane coating, enabling them to target bone marrow with the potential to deliver drugs in a session that also consisted of using platelets for immunotherapy and programmable logic gates to dose bacterial infections.
However, one of my most enjoyed talks was one that was different from the standard research presentation. Felice Frankel, a photographer and research scientist at MIT, focused on science photography and how by stepping back from the science and focusing on creating the most compelling visual can increase the impact and understanding of our work. This fell in line with the Science as Art competition held every year where conference attendees submit pictures from their research that look like they could belong in a museum, similar to Art in Science that UD runs every year where we aim to engage the larger community in scientific research by making them want to know more about the pictures they’re seeing. This theme of art even continued through to the organizers having a caricature artist on-site for an afternoon!
I thank the Graduate College for supporting this opportunity to present my research and connect with the larger materials science community. This was an excellent forum to work toward my professional goals of working in industry after I leave the University of Delaware due to the many interactions and possibilities available to attendees.
Recent Award Recipients
To date 1268 graduate students have received funding from UD's Graduate College to pursue professional development.
Nicolas Al Fahel
Angela Maria Bohorquez Oviedo
Vishruta Prashant Yawatkar