ABRF through the Eyes of a Greenhorn
An interview by Nicole White
It was November 2015 and Sandra Davis had no idea what a core facility was, that is until she met Tim Hunter. The chance meeting took place when Sandra, an undergraduate student at Jarvis Christian College in Hawkins, Texas, attended the 2015 Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS) in Seattle, Washington to present her current research at a poster session. Tim, who is the warmest, most hospitable individual a person can meet, was participating in the ABRCMS meeting as an ambassador for the ABRF / FASEB MARC Travel Award recipients. It was during the ABRCMS meeting that Tim invited Sandra to attend the 2016 ABRF Annual Meeting in Ft. Lauderdale, which Sandra had never heard of nor did she know anything about ABRF.
“It was awesome.” said Sandra as I was interviewing her on the phone. “My school is small so I didn’t know a lot or have a lot of experience with cores before ABRF.” Sandra is set to graduate from Jarvis Christian College this May, and following graduation she will be pursuing a Master’s degree in the Fall. However, she is leaving all doors and options open to her career path for medical school or even in pursuing a PhD after her Masters. “I’m not sure which avenue to choose, but seeing all of the core facility information opened my eyes as to how cores help research,” said Sandra.
Selected as a 2015 ABRCMS ABRF Best Poster Award / 2016 FASEB MARC Travel Award winner, along with Diana Cardero, Sandra’s research was on the drug compound Benzofuan-2-barvoxylic acid and its effects on cancer Tk6 cells, and she was excited to see that this compound in her research shows promise on the compounds abilities to target cancer cells while keep the healthy cells around it viable. Though her research sounds exciting and promising, Sandra stated the most impressionable memory of her experience at ABRF was teaching Tim how to do the ‘Water Sprinkler’. I guess we’ll have to try to find some video or images of that for our next blog post!
In all seriousness, Sandra was impressed with the ABRF 2016 Annual Meeting. Despite a relatively few number of undergraduate students in attendance, Tim made sure to introduce her to many of the attendees, and from these introductions, Sandra now has a network of professionals working in cores, which has allowed her to develop more connections and access to research. Overall, the ABRF 2016 Annual Meeting met Sandra’s expectations; however, she would like to see more undergraduate and early graduate level students in attendance, and suggests that the ABRF Mentoring Program would be a great fit for individuals like her who are just getting familiar with ABRF. Sandra plans to attend future ABRF meetings, and I certainly look forward to seeing her in the future as well.