Graduate Student Leadership Committee Chair: “I Ain’t Afraid of No Showdown”

Submitted by Alessandro Venosa, Chair, Graduate Student Leadership Committee

Every year in the two to three weeks preceding the SOT Annual Meeting, I sit down and begin planning my talks, symposia, workshops, CE courses, and poster sessions, as well as the evening receptions organized by the Specialty Sections. In my first year while attending one of these receptions in San Francisco in 2012, a faculty member from my school grabbed me and said, “I am the judge for the Tox ShowDown, come with me!”  I replied, “Tox WhatDown?”  No answer; just a seat on a riser in a room filled with about forty people, my name on a tent card next to eight other scientists, including now 2014–2015 SOT Vice President Peter L. Goering. A couple of minutes into the game, I realized that there was no need to be alarmed. Both audience and participants were having a blast, and I actually knew some of the answers to the questions asked, whether toxicology related or seemingly random. I had so much fun that the following year, I volunteered to help with the organization of the event in San Antonio.  

The Tox ShowDown is an event where you can find a stress-free environment composed of trainees and PIs in the same room, trying to figure out which one is Iceland’s signature distilled beverage between brennivin, akvavits, lapponia, or naerfot—I still don’t know. Now, three years later, we are working on organizing the newest edition of the Tox ShowDown, and we are looking to recruit scientists as contestants to complete the three teams. Academia? Industry? Government? Bring it on! 

Are you interested or know someone who knows “everything” about toxicology? Do you think your PI is the perfect fit for this kind of challenge? Please ask him/her to participate!!! Contact me via ToXchange at Alessanddro Venosa or GSLC Secretary Meghan Cromie and we’ll test your toxicology skills as well as your ability to laugh at one of the funniest and most entertaining SOT events. Phil Wexler will once again serve as emcee and master of ceremonies, and Sue Ford will return as timekeeper. Harry Salem will serve as our distinguished judge.

The 2015 Tox ShowDown will take place on Tuesday, March 24, at 7:30 pm at the Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina Hotel. So this year, be sure to add the Tox ShowDown to your calendar of evening events! There also is a phenomenal door prize possibly waiting for you!

Visit the SOT website for more information about the Tox ShowDown, and be sure to visit the photo gallery for fun images of the Tox ShowDowns from 2013 (San Antonio) and 2014 (Phoenix).

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