Plant Scientists Share Their ASPB Stories for #GivingTuesday

One of the many ways that ASPB supports plant science is to provide professional development opportunities for plant scientists now and for future generations. We recently asked 10 plant scientists to share their stories with us and to tell us about how ASPB has impacted their career and research. On #GivingTuesday, help us expand our reach to other plant scientists by donating to ASPB. 

Lauren Pope, Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship Recipient

The experiences I gained through the ASPB SURF award helped confirm that plant science is where I want to spend the rest of my life! The connections with other plant scientists, the ability to travel to meetings, and the research and communication experience will benefit me for years to come. The work I completed through my ASPB award has culminated in my undergraduate honors thesis and has contributed to a recent publication in Plant Physiology. I am now the first member of my family to apply to graduate school and hope to continue my research interests in plant science by earning a PhD, followed by a career in academia. I owe a lot to ASPB for allowing me this opportunity, and I can’t wait to be able to give back to this organization in any way that I can.

Rishi Masalia, Community Engagement Award Recipient

The experiences I gained through the ASPB community engagement award helped confirm that public outreach specifically in the field of plant science is something I want to continue to work on. This award lead to the completion of the ‘Between the Palms‘ interview series where I was able to travel to an ASPB conference to interview a diversity of plant scientists to talk about career paths. Targeted for younger scientists, this series was shared from the ASPB account in the fall of 2017, and has already facilitated career dialogues and networking opportunities. Moreover, my engagement award has directly lead to other opportunities within and beyond ASPB to help me grow my science communication skills, which will help me promote the field of plant biology and secure a science communication oriented career.

Ravi Maruthachalam, Early Career Award Recipient

It is a great honor for me to be one of the recipients of the competitive and prestigious ASPB Early Career Award. I am very much indebted to ASPB for instituting this award that bestows the best recognition for young plant researchers – especially for those at the beginning of their careers like myself. This recognition inspires me to achieve excellence as an independent researcher, having started my own plant research group at one of the best research institutes in India  (Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER)- Thiruvananthapuram).  I hope to support ASPB in many ways: for its services, support, and recognition, which I feel will further motivate and attract many people towards a career in plant biology.

Molly Edwards, BLOOME Grant Recipient

I can’t tell you how much it means to me to be part of a scientific community that values outreach and education as an integral component of the research we do! With my Plant Biology Learning Objectives, Outreach Materials, and Education (BLOOME) Grant, I’ve been able to travel the country to film women plant biologists at work and share their stories on my YouTube channel, Science IRL. The BLOOME Grant has allowed me to take Science IRL places I never thought possible, and the support and guidance I’ve received from the ASPB community as I’ve developed this project have been invaluable. Thank you, ASPB!! 

Gabriela Auge, Plantae Fellow

My time as a Plantae Fellow helped me to improve my communication skills and also led me to feel more self-confident about being a communicator. My growing interest in science communication felt fulfilled by the different activities I was involved in every week. As a fellow, I have met lots of people with similar goals and interests, and I have established fruitful relationships outside the exclusivity of research. I am now a better communicator, a better teacher and a better mentor. I am thankful to ASPB for powering the Plantae platform (along with the Global Plant Council), and for allowing me the opportunity of being a Plantae Fellow.

Pedro Diaz Vivancos, Travel Grant Awardee

I would like to express my gratitude for receiving the ASPB Travel Award. The Plant Biology Annual Meeting brings together some of the world’s leading experts in plant biology. As a young researcher, attending the meeting gave me the opportunity to participate in such a positive environment. I engaged in a much-appreciated discussion of topics related to my research field, and attending the meeting gave me a unique opportunity to exchange experiences with my colleagues in the field. I really appreciate the feedback from other researchers as well as the connections I have made.

Sarah Wyatt, ASPB Excellence in Education Award Recipient

Being a recipient of the ASPB Excellence in Education award is an honor that I will not soon forget. It is a recognition of what I do for the society and for my field.  As a long-time member of ASPB, it has been one of my goals to bring the best and brightest into research in plant biology, and ASPB has been the foundation along the way.  The annual meeting was the first place I saw the breadth of the field and had an opportunity to meet fellow scientists from across the country.  Over the years, the society has expanded its offerings for young scientists through the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships, Conviron Fellows, BLOOME outreach and education grants, and training on professional development for students, post docs and faculty.  ASPB provides more than access to high-quality research; we provide a professional home, a place to grow as a scientist.  

Paty Goytortúa, SURF Recipient 2017

Being a member of ASPB as a SURF recipient has been an honor and a big opportunity to further my training and skills. Learning from amazing investigators such as my mentor and the ASPB community has prepared me for graduate school and allowed me to grow as an accomplished academic researcher. The SURF award is helping me achieve my dream of developing ideas that provide solutions for vulnerable communities by enhancing their quality of life. Thanks to ASPB, I have have had the opportunity to interact more closely with plant processes, analyzing their incredible adaptation capabilities in maize. I am fascinated by how amazing plants are and the valuable contributions they provide.

Maria Julissa Ek Ramos, Travel Grant Awardee

I have been a member of ASPB since 2004 and over the years have received many opportunities and support in my career. Among these opportunities, the travel grant awards have made the biggest difference. Thanks to this award, I have been able to attend several ASPB meetings where I met two of my former supervisors and current career mentors and several wonderful collaborators. ASPB is a great society that feels like family. Through ASPB, I also participated in a workshop that helped me to obtain key skills to become a great teacher. Other workshops have also enriched my CV and eventually were the most important requirements to being hired as a junior Professor and after a few years, to be promoted to Professor.  I love being a part of this society and strongly recommend it to all researchers I know at any step in their careers. There is always something for you to grow and be the plant scientist you want to be.

Jenna Gallegos, ASPB/ AAAS Mass Media Fellow recipient

Writing for the Washington Post as an ASPB-sponsored AAAS Mass Media Fellow was a truly enlightening experience. Learning about the challenges science journalists face opened my eyes to how we as scientists can better communicate our findings to improve the quantity and quality of science news. Plant science is especially underrepresented in the media and consequently underfunded. As a plant scientist in the newsroom, I covered issues like food security, precision agriculture, pollination, and crop rotations, which might have otherwise flown under the radar. Reading several manuscripts a day and interviewing scientists in unfamiliar fields also challenged me to think critically and grow as a scientist. I am forever grateful to ASPB for investing in my experience and supporting the larger goal of the AAAS Mass Media program: “to enhance coverage of science-related issues in the media in order to improve public understanding and appreciation of science and technology.”

Will you join us on #GivingTuesday, November 28?  Here’s how you can participate:

  • Social Media: We will be posting on Twitter and Facebook all day with reasons to help ASPB support the next generation of plant scientists. Please help us spread the word with a retweet or a share.
  • Donate!
  • Word of mouth (and email): Invite one (or more!) colleagues to donate or to share our social media updates.

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