Awards: SSE Sponsorship Highlight: Graduate/Postdoc Travel Awards

Contributed by kjm34 on Oct 03, 2018 - 07:35 PM

SSE was pleased to be able to offer 103 graduate/postdoc travel awards [1] to the Montpellier meeting. We doubled the number of awards this year for the Second Joint Congress, and added three awards that were made possible from donations from members. Thank you! Continue reading to hear from a few of our travel award recipients.

“Last month’s meeting in Montpellier was my first Evolution meeting. Two years ago, when I was putting together the application for my current post-doc fellowship with the CNRS here in the south of France, I needed to include what meetings I could attend to present our findings. I was thrilled to see that the 2nd Joint Congress on Evolutionary Biology would be taking place so close and so included this in my proposal. It all seemed so distant two years ago, while I was still a PhD student -- dreaming of being a post-doc in France, attending this amazing-sounding meeting. Now that it's come and gone, I'm glad to say that my expectations were only surpassed. The meeting provided great opportunities to see some mind-expanding talks, meet people whose names I knew from countless papers but had never encountered in person, and enjoy good times with friends old and new. It is most reassuring to see that an assembly of such great science is also an assembly of such great people. Many thanks to the SSE for supporting my attendance to such a fantastic meeting!” - Eric Gangloff

“As a self-funded student, planning conference travel is always slightly difficult as I rely on travel grants, saving money and asking my supervisors to cover whatever little bits they can. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to cover both accommodation and travel to the Joint Evolution Meeting in Montpellier, so getting the travel award from SSE was a big help allowing me to get accommodation at a great location only 15 minutes from the conference centre. The conference itself was a great display of the wide variety of research in the field of evolution and afforded me the opportunity to see this first hand. Never have I seen so many scientists in the same place, and while a little overwhelming, it was absolutely fantastic to be included in such an event. I greatly enjoyed my time at the conference, and have greatly expanded both my knowledge and interest in the field and am very grateful to have been assisted in my travel expenditures and for the opportunity to share my research to such a broad and diverse audience.” - Tiffany Armstrong

“I am grateful to the SSE for travel award to attend the Evolution meeting in Montpellier. The joint meetings are a personal favorite of mine. As a European who has spent most of my training in North America, it is great to have all friends, collaborators, and colleagues in one place for once. Attending the meeting allowed me to both present a talk in (”Sexual conflict through Mother’s Curse and Father’s Curse” in Symposium 56 ”Manifestation and resolution of sexual conflict”) and co-organize a symposium (with Hanna Johannesson, ”Modes of inheritance and genomic conflicts”). Both sessions provided an excellent opportunity to connect with colleagues, old and new. Overall, the meeting was so much fun and incredibly stimulating. I can’t wait for the next one.” - Arvid Ågren

“The SSE travel award was instrumental in funding my travel from Western Australia to Montpellier to attend my first Evolution meeting. I presented my doctoral work on the use of exon capture for teasing apart closely related species of mimetic sea slug and I received valuable feedback during the poster session that helped to improve the quality of this work, as well as my communication skills. I have since taken these analytical suggestions onboard while preparing the manuscript for publication. The meeting also provided countless opportunities to connect with leading researchers in my field and propose ideas for potential postdoctoral appointments in the future. Additionally, the excellent selection and quality of the oral and poster presentations ignited many interesting ideas and helped to improve my understanding of different methodologies and analyses. Overall I had a very positive experience in Montpellier. Thank you again to the SSE, I will see you at the next Evolution meeting!” - Kara Layton

“Through the aid of the SSE student travel award, I was able to present at the Second Joint Congress on Evolutionary Biology in Montpellier, France. At this meeting, my dissertation work received substantial exposure to both empirical and theoretical and evolutionary biology research communities. For my poster entitled “Exploring mechanisms of diversification in Malagasy gemsnakes,” I had the opportunity to meet with colleagues from around the world and exchange ideas about future collaboration while also learning more about their current research programs. The networking I engaged in throughout this conference will be incredibly beneficial as I search for postdoctoral positions and funding opportunities over the final year of my doctoral studies. Already, the exposure and information provided by this meeting has helped identify several promising postdoctoral fellowships at universities and museums across the states.” - Arianna Kuhn

“Eating figs from bright green tree that dangles over the stone wall on the way to the tram, stopping at the boulangerie for a croissant to eat when listening to Hopi Hoekstra, sharing wine with friends who are now on the way to becoming old friends - is this what going to conferences as a postdoc is like? As a new postdoc in between funding sources, I was doubtful that I would even be able to go. However, I am fortunate that my old college roommate (a fish biologist at UMBC) convinced me to give it a shot. I abruptly applied to any funding sources I could find at both my old and new institutions and SSE. Given the high cost of travel to France, I would never have been able to afford the trip without the SSE grant and an additional partial grant from my graduate school. In Montpellier, I was able to talk with scientists from France, Canada, Switzerland, Australia, Japan, England, and Sweden, and discussed a collaboration based on my graduate research that will hopefully take me to Germany. The talks I attended helped me think about some of the problems I was facing in my research. In particular, I learned a lot about the contemporary thinking about plant polyploidy, a topic that comes up often in my work and I struggle to understand. My experience made allowable by the travel grant was unforgettable, and I thank SSE for making the opportunity possible.” - Acer VanWallendael