Yubin Phoebe Pak University of North Carolina School of Medicine; University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (ABRCMS 2022 Travel Awardee & Poster Presentation Award Winner)
The Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minoritized Scientists (ABRCMS) isn't just a conference; it’s where groundbreaking research meets big dreams. It’s a community where you can kick start your journey in STEM, much like past ABRCMS participant and student Yubin Phoebe Pak did. Yubin shares her personal experience presenting at the ABRCMS conference, offering encouragement to those who are considering submitting their own research and applying for travel grants:
"Presenting my research at ABRCMS was an incredible experience that enhanced my poster presentation skills. The conference provided me with mentors who offered valuable feedback, bolstering my confidence in communicating my research. Despite my initial nervousness, the supportive environment helped me recognize the significance of my hard work and feel proud of my contributions to the field of science. This experience taught me that it's perfectly normal to experience imposter syndrome, but it is also essential to acknowledge my accomplishments. I deserve to feel proud of the work I've done and the contributions I've made, and you should too!
To students considering applying for a travel award, I encourage you to seize the opportunity despite any nagging self-doubt or fear you might be feeling about presenting in a conference environment. The application process is accommodating and easy to navigate as you prepare the requisite materials for your application. I advise everyone who is interested in applying to seek assistance from former awardees or mentors within your school or research labs. They genuinely appreciate young researchers displaying initiative. Once complete, you'll feel a sense of accomplishment for having prepared your travel award application, even if you don't secure it. These experiences will prove invaluable as you gear up for future endeavors like research grants and larger conferences.
At the 2022 ABRCMS conference, I won a presentation award for my research in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Winning an abstract award was totally unexpected! Nonetheless, receiving an award taught me a valuable lesson about my perspective on self-acknowledgment and validating my hard work. Research can be daunting and requires immense humility, especially for those from underrepresented or disadvantaged backgrounds. However, it's equally important to acknowledge your own efforts and potential, irrespective of any discouragement that may come from others, even if they are prominent figures in research or even your own advisor. Persist in following your passion and know that we are united by a common overarching objective: advancing humanity through the exploration of scientific knowledge. So many people, including those in the ABRCMS community, believe in you and your abilities!"