Celebrating Diversity

Irelene Ricks

Keystone Symposia's Diversity in Life Science Programs (DLSP) is pleased to acknowledge 2016-2018 as emphasis years to “Celebrate Diversity.” The DLSP kicked off the two-year event with the First Annual Andy Robertson Lecture (ARL) in tribute to the late Dr. Andy Robertson, former Keystone Symposia Chief Scientific Officer. Dr. Laina King, the first DLSP director, gave the first ARL at the June 2016 Scientific Advisory Board meeting.

The DLSP's Fellows Program is thriving and is now up to 51 active Fellows from the class of 2009 to 2017! Fellows participate in a number of DLSP professional development programs, including the Health Disparities Working Groups and the Early Career Investigator Travel Award (ECITA) program for underrepresented (UR) trainees at the assistant professor or research scientist level. Throughout the year, there is an opportunity for Fellows to also engage with scientists in different fields and institutions regarding discovery science, workforce development, and mentoring. The Fellows have also launched their own LinkedIn community to communicate with each other about job and training opportunities, mentoring advice, and work/life family balance issues.

Keystone Symposia offers scholarships to trainees at the graduate student and postdoc levels to attend Keystone Symposia conferences to present their poster research and network with peers and senior scientists.

The Keystone Symposia/Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS) Scholars Program provides UR postdocs and graduate students who attend the ABRCMS meeting that year to compete for an opportunity to receive a travel award to a Keystone Symposia conference of their choice.

The DLSP Office works with a number of organizations to keep our trainees informed and fully participatory in their own professional development. Groups like the American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB), the National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Research Mentoring Network (NRMN), and the Leadership Alliance give Keystone Symposia Fellows a chance to network with peers, receive additional training, and build strong leadership skills.

Most of all, the DLSP strive to showcase the brilliant scientific talent within the diversity portfolio. Please watch a sampling of just some of our DLSP activities over 2016: See Fellows from different cohorts team up to provide guidance on “What Trainees Can Expect When Attending a Keystone Symposia Conference” to discussions about the value of effective mentoring for career advancement for a Fellow who is working in industry, and research presentations to the larger science community!

If you have questions, always feel free to contact me at irelener@keystonesymposia.org.

I invite you to join us at Keystone Symposia conferences from 2016-2018 — come and celebrate diversity with us!