Submitted by Chris Curran, OVSOT member
The Society of Toxicology (SOT) Ohio Valley Regional Chapter participated in a pilot project organized by the SOT Undergraduate Education Subcommittee and sponsored by the SOT Education Committee to increase attendance by undergraduates at Regional Chapter Annual Meetings. The OVSOT has a long history of supporting undergraduate researchers because the chapter has many universities with summer undergraduate research programs and a substantial number of primarily undergraduate institutions doing toxicology research. So, this chapter was a good match for the pilot project.
The OVSOT Annual Meeting was held at Purdue University on December 1, 2017. Since the university is on the western edge of the OVSOT region, that meant longer travel times and overnight hotel stays for most attendees. Therefore, OVSOT used its portion of the pilot project funding for hotel rooms for students from more distant universities and for registration costs for local Purdue students. Altogether, more than two-thirds of the 19 undergraduates attending the Regional Chapter meeting received some type of support. The undergraduates learned about careers and developments in computational toxicology from keynote speaker Dr. Thomas Knudsen of the US Environmental Protection Agency, participated in a Lunch-With-An-Expert event, and had the opportunity to network with OVSOT members from academe, industry, and government.
The OVSOT has sponsored an Undergraduate Best Poster competition since 2010. Three students received certificates and cash awards for their posters. The First Place winner was Assem Imangaliyeva of Purdue University, Second Place to Xinyue Hu from the University of Louisville, and Third Place was awarded to Boghos Taslakjian of Purdue University.
The support from SOT was greatly appreciated, and OVSOT looks forward to a long-term commitment to recruiting more undergraduates into toxicology careers and helping them to connect with SOT national initiatives, including attendance at the SOT Annual Meetings. OVSOT President Jennifer Freeman (right) presents the Undergraduate Best Poster award to Assem Imangaliyeva and below to Xinyue Hu (left) and to Boghos Taslakjian (right).