There are many recruitment conferences that aim to celebrate diversity in science and enhance opportunities for scientists from traditionally under-represented communities. The Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minoritized Scientists (ABRCMS) is special among these conferences because of the outstanding quality in both the scientific program and the trainee professional development program. This year the conference took place in Anaheim, California from November 9th-12th.
Penn State and peer institutions all recognize the importance of enhancing diversity in departments but conveying the specific strengths of our own institution and programs can be challenging because strong candidates are generally saturated with information. At the ABRCMS recruiting exposition, the Penn State booth was positioned well with peer Big Ten institutions. Scott Showalter, professor of chemistry and of biochemistry and molecular biology, was one of the faculty representatives for Penn State at the conference.
“It felt like one of the most fun and engaging sections of the show,” said Showalter. “It was wonderful to see so many students, postdocs, and even junior faculty spending time among our tables, and at Penn State’s booth in particular. The message to visitors was clear: we and our colleagues in the Big Ten have created outstanding scientific programs and welcoming environments for people from all backgrounds.”
Along with Showalter, several chemistry graduate students attended the event.
First-year chemistry graduate student Isis P. Carmona-Sepúlveda was able to talk to people from her country, Puerto Rico, and their friends, to motivate them to go to Penn State’s booth so they could receive detailed information about their program of preference.
“I believe that having recruiters from diverse backgrounds is crucial to motivate prospective students to request information and even apply to Penn State,” says Carmona-Sepúlveda. “This allows students to feel welcomed and to understand that there is a space for them in our community. For example, just by the fact that I am a graduate student here at Penn State, my friends from undergrad feel motivated to apply, because of that feeling of ‘if she could, then I definitely can.’ Overall, I really liked the experience, and I hope I can continue being involved in these events and help expand Penn State’s diverse community.”
For more information on ABRCMS visit their website.