The SSE Sponsorship Highlight presents personal stories from individuals who have received SSE funding. This month we highlight the recipients of the 2018 Graduate/Postdoc Travel Supplement, which provided a travel stipend to the Evolution 2018 meeting in Montpellier, France.
“In 2018, my Evolution travel award brought me to the serpentine cobblestone streets of Montpellier, which opened into several new avenues of research and teaching professional development. After giving an oral presentation on my interdisciplinary research in the symposium on “Horizontal transfer of genetic material,” I started up a new collaboration with one of my audience members. Attendance at the pre-conference “Teaching Evolution” workshop gave me tips and tools I now use in my classroom. Separately, one of those “only-at-a-conference” serendipitous conversations ultimately led me to visit the University of Minnesota, observe their innovative teaching labs, and give a research seminar to their Biotechnology Center. In between all of the great science talks and posters, I also found time to sit for many long French dinners, chatting science and the good life during reunions with my postdoc and PhD labs. Thanks to SSE for the great travel awards, and I’ll look forward to my next Evolution Conference!” - Alita Burmeister
“The SSE travel award granted me the possibility to attend my first (of hopefully many) Evolution meetings. I was only halfway through my Master´s studies, and being accepted to present my research in this meeting came as a surprise but filled me with pride and joy. Even though I am based in Europe, attending such a meeting is challenging for a student without receiving external funding. I am very grateful that the SSE funded my journey to Montpellier, allowing me to immerse myself in the evolutionary community and also meet and present my research to people who I cited and without whose work mine would not have been possible. The amount of exchanged knowledge between passionate people from a variety of cultures and backgrounds has shown me again one of the reasons why I love being a scientist.” - Hanna Algora
“The Evolution 2018 meeting in Montpellier was an opportunity for me to share the culmination of my Ph.D. research over the previous five years to the international evolution community. During this time, I was transitioning to my new postdoc, so I would not have been able to attend the conference without an SSE travel award. The assembled professional network was exceptional for young researchers like me, but I also felt lucky to enjoy the delicious local eats, drinking the wines of Pic Saint-Loup, and watching Griffon Vultures on my first visit to the Alps after the meeting (pictured).” - Erik Enbody