The Domestic ToxScholar Outreach program is managed by the Faculty United for Toxicology Undergraduate Recruitment and Education (FUTURE) Committee. Applications are accepted if funds remain to support travel and event costs so that a toxicologist can provide insight into toxicology and toxicology careers at institutions where undergraduates may not otherwise learn about the opportunities in the discipline.
When Kristini Miles, who teaches toxicology at Spelman College, hosted my ToxScholar visit, we invited John Moore, MS, CIH, CSP, President and Principal Consultant of EHS, to attend the presentation. Here is his summary.
On Monday, November 11, 2019, I arrived at the beautiful campus of Spelman College to meet and hear a colleague, Dr. Marquea King, give a presentation on toxicology to Spelman students.
She did a great job as she explained applied toxicology practices to 14 Spelman students. She used great stories to relate her experiences to the students. She went through the history of toxicology and relevance of the profession, and then shifted to discussing careers in toxicology. She discussed how she was active with SOT and has stayed involved with SOT since 1999. She has not missed an SOT Annual Meeting since that time and now mentors students and early career toxicologists. She did a great job making her presentation very interactive and answering the students’ questions on the fly.
Dr. King informed the Spelman students of ways that they could get involved with SOT, including applying for Undergraduate Diversity Program awards and other awards. She encouraged students to sign up as SOT Undergraduate Student Affiliates because not only is there no cost to them to do so, but also the benefit of being connected to such an esteemed group is priceless!
Her ending remarks were, “You have to know how to think.” She recommended that future PhD candidates consider postdoc positions to get a good sense of whether they actually enjoy doing what they believe they may like to do.
When asked the question, “What does it take to be a good toxicologist?” her response was, “Integrity, flexibility, be open minded, and know that you don’t know it all. Surround yourself with smart and supportive people.”
Mentoring is important (Dr. King’s own graduate advisor still plays an important role in her life and career decisions), and she learned early to be about her business. She goes back to her alma mater, Virginia Tech, to speak and encourage students there. “You owe it to the next group to mentor them,” she said. “It’s all about choices. Be encouraged to continue to move when you don’t like it; it’s sometimes scary and uncomfortable, but it’s OK.”