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A Whirlwind of Science in The Windy City- Part 1

Hey guys! I know it has been a while since I’ve posted a blog, but a busy graduate student has to prioritize, and unfortunately a blog post on the lab website is a pretty low priority when compared to data, finals, and socializing. But to make up for my absence, I will be writing several new posts by next Friday. And hopefully I will implement some of the advice I received at the conference I attended next week and be posting much more regularly.

Registration at the McCormick Convention Center in Chicago

So for this post, I will introduce you to my first big conference that I attended: the Experimental Biology (EB) conference in Chicago. Additionally, I attended as a member of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB). In our department, it is tradition to send all of the second- year graduate students to the EB conference together. However, there were a few hoops we had to jump through in order to go. First, we all had to register with an abstract. Once our abstract was approved, we had to apply for travel award funding from both the ASBMB and through the University of Kentucky. To apply for funding from the ASBMB, we needed to become a member of the society, prove our abstract was accepted, get a letter of recommendation from our PI, write a small essay describing our financial need and enthusiasm for attending the meeting, and then if we were offered the award we had a series of mandatory events. So the process was not terribly easy. However, it was a wonderful learning experience and I am happy to say that the hard work paid off and I was offered a travel award through the ASBMB and through my university! Score for my CV!

The gang enjoying a traditional deep dish pizza!

Since we went with all of us together, we took a 12 passenger van up there and back, altogether around 12 hours sitting 3 adults to a seat. While it was not the worst travel experience, I have definitely had better. It was worth the uncomfortableness to be able to all be together though. I am very glad we all went and nobody was left out. We all stayed at the Hilton, sharing 3 to a room. I had the best roommates (s/o Zoe and Rebecca) a graduate student could ask for, and the hotel was nice with a shuttle that ran back and forth to the conference center all day. It was also located in a nice part of downtown, making it easy to go out for dinner or walk around and see a little of downtown Chicago.

So now that you know the story of how we all got to Chicago to attend the EB, my next post will be about the conference itself, with an emphasis on the ASBMB career day (spoiler: it was the most useful day of the entire conference and I enjoyed it immensely), and then a follow up post on all of the wonderful, fun, non-science things we took the opportunity to do while in Chicago.

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