Welcome to the Fall/Winter edition of VT PRIME: The Quarterly Newsletter of the "PREP/IMSD Family" at VT. Happy New Year and best wishes for 2020!
If you have any feedback or comments about the newsletter, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We hope you will be able to participate in VT's 2020 VT MLK Celebrations . In our Spring issue, we will report on specific events from the MLK Celebrations and update you about the next destinations for the PREP 17.
Fall 2019 was a busy and productive one for our PREP/IMSD family. In this edition of VTPRIME,we report:
Mentor choices of the PREP 17 scholars
Degree Completions by current scholars and alumni
Accomplishment of our current scholars and alumni including: papers published, conferences attended, and awards won
Happy holidays! 2019 went by so quickly, but the decade of the 2010s has seen growth and success of NIH training grants. We now have 68 alumni with PhDs, 11 tenured track faculty and many in industry. Our current trainees and alumni continue to win awards including “Distinguished MAPRS Alumni" awards... Read More
Current Scholars: Mentor selection Following 3 mini lab-rotations each, PREP17 (featured in the Summer II VT PRIME), have selected their research mentors for their PREP tenure:
Kristina Jiles (IMSD 7)successfully defended her PhD in HNFE, making her our 28 IMSD alumni to receive a PhD. Her advisor was Dr. Carlin Rafie. Congrats to Dr. Jiles, who was recruited to VT from Hampton University through a partnership with HNFE's then Graduate Program Director, Dr. Brenda Davy (previous mentor to PREP Alum, Dr. Serena Williams.
HHMI Travel Award to PREP Scholar,Stefany Nunez Zavala (Zhang lab), to attend and present a poster at the "Women in Computational Biology" conference. The conference highlighted work by women in traditionally male dominated fields and involved "presentations and discussions on the application of computer science, mathematics and physics to biomedical sciences."
Travel award from UNC, Chapel Hill, to PREP Scholar Claudia Perez (Duggal lab), to attend the 2019 Graduate School Preview Weekend. Photo shows her with PREP alum and current UNC PhD trainee, Dominique Munson. Other PREP scholars who participated in Graduate School Previews were: Jose Monclova along with Claudia (Penn State) and Guadalupe Ceja (University of Indiana).
Demisha Porter(IMSD 11, Morton lab) was selected as a member of the 2019 Cohort ofSMDP(Science Mentoring & Diversity Program). SMDP is a program that pairs students with industry professionals in the biotechnology, medical technology and consumer healthcare industries. Several previous trainees, both IMSD and PREP, participated in previous cohorts of SMDP.
Best poster award to IMSD 12 scholar, Jose Sintas, at the MII (Macromolecules Innovation Institute) Technical Conference for his presentation "Influence of Solution Properties on Photokinetics of Vat Photopolymerization Additive Manufacturing: Optimizing Thermomechanical Properties of Printed Objects".
CBEP 2019 Conference at Clemson University
Kevin Santiago Morales (PREP) along with Dr. Zac Mackey (IMSD Co-Director) and Thomas Cha (undergraduate Biochem student in Dr. Mackey's lab)
During 2019, Trevin Glasgow(IMSD)gave three presentations at the Convention of the Association for Psychological Science (APS): - "How Do Fitness Facility Environments Promote Exercise Motivation and Influence Life. Satisfaction in College Students?" - "How College Student Engagement, Stress and School Hassles Affect Daily Physical Activity Levels?"
- "Daily Use of Technology and Its Effect on Health and Well-Being: A Multi-level Approach to Understanding Technology Use and Well-Being." He also presented at the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP) Conference:
- "Agent-Based Modeling: Current and Future Directions in Organizational Psychology."
Congratulations to Alex (IMSD 9) who will get married this January!
Alumni Updates Recent Awards
Sarah Sam (Cal Tech, PhD candidate, IMSD undegrad Alum) was awarded the prestigious F31 grant.
Dr. Nikki Lewis, Collegiate Assistant Professor, Honors College, PREP alum "received 4-VA Grant through the Technology-enhanced Learning and Online Strategies (TLOS) division to conduct a course redesign in the Honors College".Read more
Dr. Karey Sutton (PREP Alum), Director Health Equity Research Workforce, AAMC, was an invited speaker at George Washington University, as part of the Health Equity Series.
Dr Leah Banks ( PREP alum) started a new position as Assistant Director of Life Design at Johns Hopkins University in September. Her work with students in biomedical engineering reflects her passion in contributing to the future biomedical workforce.
Dr. Peter Kennelly discussed job opportunities for biomedical sciences PhDs and the challenges faced in graduate school. Dr. Kennelly focused a lot on how each scholar needs to pay attention and use the PhD to start building a successful career....Read more
Dr. Charlotte Amenkhienan, in her annual presentation to our scholars, emphasized both mental health and general well being as central to success in research and graduate school.
Dr. Diane Kawa (Director, Scientific Affairs @ BD Life Sciences) spoke about confronting challenges both in graduate school and as a research scientist in industry. She counseled that you should "be mindful that a successful career in industry and anywhere else does not follow a straight line." To be successful, "you should take the opportunities that are presented to you"....Read more
VT alum, Dr. Tanea Reed (Associate Professor and Chair of the Chemistry Department at Eastern Kentucky University) advised the trainees to not be afraid of changing paths to accommodate situations and challenges that may arise. Seek out mentors and appreciate their support and counsel...Read more
2."Reflections: Surviving The Early Years in Graduate School"
Dr. Kacie Blackman (IMSD Alum, Zoellner), currently an Assistant Professor at California State University Northridge. mentioned to the trainees to be mindful of their mental health and general wellness...Read More
Simone Campbell (PREP Alum, Sewall), PhD candidate in Neuroscience at Emory University, counseled that "graduate School is a long road trip, so be mindful of the challenges and difficulties, but celebrate the successes too."
This was Virginia Tech's 18th and best year at ABRCMS (thanks to Eni for coordinating this trip!). We had a great time! Our PREP 17 students had the opportunity to network with other students and the schools that they are interested in. The highlight of our ABRCMS was also the reunion with our alumni, who first attended ABRCMS during their tenure with us. In Anaheim we met PREP and IMSD alums: Brittany Rice (Kentucky, IMSD), and Dr. Anjolii Diaz (Ball State, IMSD), Jordan Booker (Asst professor, Missouri, IMSD), Faith Carter (Cornell, PREP), Steven Cerna (PREP), Kacie Blackman (IMSD predoc Alum, Assistant professor, Cal State University Northridge), Sarah Sam (Cal Tech, PhD candidate, IMSD undergrad alum)
IMSD Scholar Guadalupe Reynoso (first on the left) with PREP 17 Scholars: Marcos, Kerani, Claudia and Kevin @ ABRCMS
Dinner @ 2019 ABRCMS
Drs Zac Mackey and Ed Smith along with IMSD alum Dr. Kacie Blackman and PREP 16 alum, Steven Cerna.
Networking dinner with current and former PREP and IMSD scholars.
Vicky (PREP & IMSD graduate assistant) networked with other scientists at ABRCMS.