Learning and Capitalizing on My Knowledge in Toxicology—SOT CDI Career Development Award

By Courtney McClure posted 06-03-2021 14:26

Courtney McClure

Thanks to the SOT Diversity Initiatives Endowment Career Development Award, provided by the Committee on Diversity Initiatives, I had the privilege of taking an American College of Toxicology (ACT) course called “Advanced Comprehensive Toxicology Online Course.”

The course consisted of 19 lectures on various toxicology topics, such as pesticides, reproductive toxicology, and respiratory toxicology. My choice to take this course came from my desire to learn more about toxicology and further my career as a toxicologist. These informative and engaging courses spanned approximately two months, during which I was able to listen to each lecture and take notes. These lectures were by prominent professionals in the ACT community and beyond. I was able to access and learn from the recordings until October 9, 2020, and I have my notes to continue learning and capitalizing on my knowledge of toxicology. In my career and development, this knowledge will help me immensely.

While the format was virtual, I was still able to benefit from the program’s detailed review of many toxicology topics. This course is often used as preparation for the Diplomate of the American Board of Toxicology (DABT) certification. I also was able to take a practice test as part of this course, giving me a sense of what it would be like to take it. The overall learning outcomes were to gain a better understanding of all areas of toxicology, and the key objectives were to prepare for the DABT exam if one chooses to do so.

The neurotoxicology/nervous system section was the highlight of the course to me personally, since this is my area of interest as a graduate student. The skills I learned were how to study effectively in such a high-caliber course and how to prepare for the DABT exam. In the future, I hope to take even more advanced courses, symposia, or workshops in toxicology, specifically neurotoxicology, so that I can learn and apply even more principles of toxicology. Another action I hope to take is to be able to write a review of a topic in neurotoxicology to also capitalize on my learning.

Finally, in the coming year, I hope to perform a series of outreach activities. These outreach activities will focus on introducing young students to different careers and subjects in toxicology by bringing speakers to the virtual classrooms that are now the norm in our society. I have a strong commitment to encouraging students in their pursuit of higher education, and I believe exposing young minds to the possibility of higher education and how to go about pursuing it is vital to their success. While this may be difficult in times like these, I would still like to pursue the possibility of outreach.

All of this will continue to enhance my graduate school journey and advance my career as a toxicologist.

SOT Diversity Initiatives Endowment Career Development Award

The SOT Diversity Initiatives Endowment Career Development Award enables undergraduate and graduate students to enhance their professional and personal development and engage in additional education and career development opportunities. Administered by the Committee on Diversity Initiatives, the SOT Diversity Initiatives Fund provides the award, which aims to increase and retain individuals from groups underrepresented in the biomedical sciences. Award recipients are selected based on criteria that include quality of the proposed experience, relevance of the proposed professional activity to a career involving the science of toxicology, academic achievement, and recommendation by an academic advisor. Awards of up to $1,000 per recipient may be given.

This year’s application deadline was extended to June 10, 2021.