Seven Hamilton students and two faculty members attended the four-day Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS) in Anaheim, Calif., on Nov. 13 to 16. The conference was an opportunity for students of color in the sciences from around the nation to see research presentations, learn about future educational and professional opportunities, and network with faculty members and professionals.
This opportunity was sparked by workshops hosted by Christian A. Johnson Excellence in Teaching Professor of Philosophy Todd Franklin to analyze the gap between students of color and other students in STEM. Konama Pokuaa ’21, Kaela Makins ’21, and Joel Adade ’22 were present at this October discussion, because “we are all students of color who wanted to chime in on the discussion of (retaining) students of color in STEM,” Pokuaa said.
She learned about ABRCMS during the discussion and wanted to figure out a way to attend. Franklin helped the students with receiving funding and organizing travel arrangements. The students who ultimately attended the conference were Pokuaa, Makins, Adade, Donna Le ’21, Urbana Anam ’21, Nwe Sar ’22, and Lea Barros ’22. They were accompanied by Franklin and Max Majireck, associate professor and chair of the chemistry department.
ABRCMS followed a packed schedule of student presentations, poster sessions, speakers, workshops, professional development sessions, and networking. The Hamilton students returned with not only new skills and professional advice but also encouragement and inspiration to continue pursuing their goals.
Pokuaa said, “I have never been in the presence of so many talented, intelligent and inspiring scientists of color ever before, so it was really enriching … The aura of opportunity and encouragement I received from this conference is something I think will have an impact on my future career goals forever. It was nice to see so many people who look like you in positions that you aspire to be in one day.”