Undergraduates who see this blog may already be preparing to submit an abstract and planning to apply for the Pfizer SOT Undergraduate Student Travel Award. Other undergraduates, however, may benefit from the encouragement of their research mentors or other SOT members. Phillip Wages, PhD, recipient of the award in 2011, wrote a Communiqué blog describing the effect mentors can have and how their fostering his involvement in SOT was very influential in his career progression. He has recently completed his postdoc and is working for PepsiCo. You can provide similar encouragement to nudge a student toward a path in toxicology!
Now is the time to remind everyone that the deadline for this award is October 18, the same day abstract submissions are due. The abstract is required and is evaluated along with the personal statement, adviser recommendation, and academic record.
The undergraduates who receive the award will have a wonderful experience. They will have travel and lodging support for the duration of the 2020 SOT Annual Meeting and ToxExpo. They also will be honored at a Pfizer-sponsored event and matched with a Pfizer scientist mentor for the meeting.
Natalie Johnson, PhD, now a faculty member at Texas A&M University, was among those chosen in 2006, the first year of the award. As she reports in her blog, “I cannot overstate the impact this experience had on me as a student confronting the challenge of choosing a path as graduation approached.” Pfizer deserves much credit for recognizing that SOT had the opportunity to better engage undergraduates by providing recognition and support for them to attend the meeting. Pfizer originated the award, an important contribution to the SOT Strategic Plan and foundational now for the continued SOT focus and current Strategic Objective to “develop a robust pool of scientists engaged in toxicology.” The newly chartered Faculty United for Toxicology Undergraduate Recruitment and Education (FUTURE) Committee administers the program.
For more information, including the application and nomination forms, please visit the “Pfizer SOT Undergraduate Student Travel Awards” web page on the SOT website. Contact Betty Eidemiller for questions related to the Pfizer SOT Undergraduate Student Travel Award.
SOT also offers additional opportunities for undergraduates, including the three-day Undergraduate Diversity Program at the start of the Annual Meeting, with travel and lodging provided. Several Regional Chapters have special funding for undergraduate travel and activities in conjunction with their meetings as well as poster awards. The best way for students to be informed of SOT programs, internships, and other news of interest is to become an SOT Undergraduate Student Affiliate.