I had read updates about the SOT ToxScholar program several times on the SOT website, but I never thought this information actually applied to me. To be honest, I’m not sure who I thought was eligible to apply for this program. Sure, I had read about the application process. I realized that a person giving a talk at an undergraduate institution was eligible for support. I even recognized that the program had great value. But I never saw myself as one of the ToxScholar applicants . . . until I was invited to give a talk at Washington College in Maryland. At that point, one of my colleagues said, “Hey! You should apply for ToxScholar funds from SOT.”
So, somewhat reluctantly, I went to the web page again and prepared myself to fill out an extensive application and be in limbo for weeks to find out if my trip had been accepted. But wait! It was only a one-page application, and the only supplemental information was a letter of support from my Washington College sponsor. That wasn’t too bad at all—I could make time to do that. And then . . . it only took two weeks to get approved! With my congratulations letter, I also received pre-prepared presentation material in an email—SOT had already done some of my work for me. All I had to do was collect survey data from the students!
While the ToxScholar program paid for my flight from Ohio to Maryland (and covered one meal), Washington College matched the funds to cover my room and other meals. While at the college, I gave a research talk (geared toward the undergraduate audience) and a general toxicology lecture to provide students with information about our profession and the benefits that joining SOT could have for their current and future professional development. In all, I reached about 35 students and subsequently followed up with two regarding “next steps” to a career in toxicology.
Applications are accepted at any time, so what are you waiting for? You, too, could be a ToxScholar!