Marissa E. Wechsler, a senior in the Department of Biomedical Engineering in the College of Engineering, was recently recognized by The Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS) for her oral research that she presented at the 2014 conference, held November 12-15 in San Antonio, Texas.
“It was awesome to be recognized at ABRCMS!” said Wechsler. “I put so much hard work into conducting my research and preparing my presentation, that when they called my name for my award it was kind of a blur, but I was ecstatic.”
The topic of Wechsler’s oral presentation was Novel Methodologies to Induce Lineage Specific Differentiation of Human Mesenchymal Stem Cells for Biomedical Applications.
“I’m extremely proud of the way that the students at ABRCMS are able to explain and defend their research,” says conference chair Clifford W. Houston, Associate Vice President for Educational Outreach and holder of the Herman Barnett Distinguished Professorship in Microbiology and Immunology, University of Texas Medical Branch. “By meriting recognition for research excellence, it is especially apparent that these presentation awardees are already on the road to successful careers in science.”
This was the second time Wechsler has attended the ABRCMS meeting.
“Unlike other conferences which I have attended within my discipline, this conference provides a lot of professional development seminars and information on how to apply for graduate school such as, writing personal statements, asking for letters of reference, and tips for taking the GRE,” she said. “In addition, I really enjoyed networking with the recruiting staff from various graduate schools, and the professors and post docs, who encouraged me to continue my research and education to obtain a Ph.D.”
ABRCMS, one of the largest professional conferences of its kind in the nation, is designed to encourage underrepresented minority students and students with disabilities to pursue advanced training in the biomedical and behavioral sciences, including STEM disciplines. The conference also provides faculty with resources for facilitating student success. Approximately 3,600 people attended ABRCMS in 2014, including 2,270 students, 510 faculty and program directors, and 610 recruiters for graduate and summer research programs. Over 1,700 of the attending students participated in poster and oral presentations in 12 subdisciplines of the biomedical and behavioral sciences. All undergraduate and postbaccalaureate presentations were evaluated by active-researcher scientists, and the students with the highest scores in each scientific discipline and for each educational level received monetary awards.