Last fall, five Oberlin students attended and received awards at the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS) in Nashville, Tennessee. Fourth-year Enimielen Aligbe and third-year students Gifty Dominah, Michelle Johnson, Kaetlyn Schmittgen all presented research, while fourth-year Richard McGuire attended. Alison Williams, Associate Dean for Academic Diversity and Director of the Multicultural Resource Center, who previously worked as a lecturer in chemistry at Barnard College, also presented a chemistry demonstration.
The Oberlin delegation received a number of awards for their work at the conference. Juniors Dominah, Johnson, and Schmittgen together swept the conference's junior neuroscience division, each winning a poster prize for their presentations. Dominah, Aligbe, and Schmittgen all also received travel awards from ABRCMS, while Johnson received a travel award from the Federation for American Societies of Experimental Biology's Maximizing Access to Research Careers program.
Founded in 2000, the ABRCMS aims to "encourage underrepresented minority students to pursue advanced training in science, technology, engineering and mathematics," and helps students connect with professionals in these fields. Each year, students come to the conference from 350 U.S. academic institutions.
Aligbe, who was invited to give an oral presentation of her research, says that attending the conference was moving. "Being in a room with 3,300 beautiful and intelligent people of color and low-income students and professionals was a humbling experience," she says. "I know now that I will never be alone because the people of color in sciences that have come before me paved a marvelous path that I can not wait to follow."