The SOT Committee on Diversity Initiatives (CDI) hosted SOT booths at the 2022 Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics & Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) National Diversity in STEM Conference (NDiSTEM) and the 2022 Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minoritized Scientists (ABRCMS) to spread information about and encourage interest in the science of toxicology, toxicology careers, and SOT. SOT student award opportunities also were promoted at the booths.
SACNAS held the 2022 NDiSTEM conference in San Juan, Puerto Rico, October 27–29. A record attendee number of 5,767 undergraduates, graduate students, and professionals in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) participated in the meeting. CDI hosted a booth that was visited by many attendees and was managed by SOT member Ofelia Olivero who volunteered to attend the conference. Dr. Olivero spoke with 57 visitors to the booth, including undergraduate and graduate students and faculty.
While in Puerto Rico, Dr. Olivero also was hosted by SOT member Loyda Méndez for a ToxScholar visit at the Universidad Ana G. Méndez. In her presentation “What Can You Learn from a Mouse?,” she discussed her AIDS research and then explained more about toxicology, career options, and SOT opportunities for undergraduate students.
The 2022 ABRCMS meeting was held in Anaheim, California, November 9–12. The 2022 meeting was the 20th anniversary of this amazing conference that has become a “go-to” conference for students in STEM from underrepresented backgrounds. CDI hosted a booth to help increase awareness of the field of toxicology, and it was great to connect or reconnect with former and current SOT Undergraduate Diversity Program awardees. CDI Chairs Kari Sant and Corie Ellison had the opportunity to meet students and mentors from around the US and help connect them with the many career development opportunities and awards available through SOT
To kick off the meeting, Dr. Ellison served as a mentor for a roundtable discussion with students titled “Opportunities in STEM Discipline Discussion.” In addition, SOT member José Manautou delivered a scientific presentation titled “The Intersection of Toxicology and Metabolic Syndrome”, and Dr. Ellison gave a presentation titled “Using Computational Pharmacology and Toxicology Methods to help Create Safe Cosmetic Products.” During both sessions, students took advantage of the opportunity to ask the speakers about their science and career journeys in toxicology. While serving as a poster session judge, Dr. Sant also had the opportunity to meet students in toxicology or related fields and help connect students with SOT resources and graduate programs in toxicology.
Overall, the SACNAS NDiSTEM and ABRCMS meetings are unique and rewarding opportunities to introduce students from around the United States to toxicological research and careers. If you plan to attend the 2023 SACNAS NDiSTEM conference in Portland, Oregon, in October or the 2023 ABRCMS meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, in November, let SOT staff member Jenna Hartsell know so that CDI can connect with you there!