Campaign for Minority Science Conferences

by Center For Learning, Education And Research In The Sciences

Impact Area: Education, Science

Campus Area: Arts and Sciences

Funding for this Project ended on 2016-05-02


Raised out of $5,000




Days Remaining

How will your project impact Oberlin?

While Oberlin College historically has been a leader in admitting African American students as well as training ground for numerous students who go on to earn PhDs in the natural sciences, these two worlds tend to exist separately. We would like to merge these two groups, and create a community of students of color in the sciences that will grow Oberlin’s ability to recruit and retain STEM majors from this underrepresented population. And to foster this community, we’d like to send more students to more minority-serving national science conferences each year. To do this, we need your support.

As an ongoing collaborative project between the Multicultural Resource Center (MRC) and the Center for Learning, Education and Research in the Sciences (CLEAR), we hope to send a total of 12 students each year to minority-serving national science conferences like Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS), Society for Advancement of Hispanic/Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS), or National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers (NOBBChE).

At these conferences students are empowered to:

  • Present their research to their undergraduate peers, graduate students, and professionals from across the country;
  • Practice their presentation skills in oral and poster presentation formats;
  • Earn recognition through competitive awards for their presentations;
  • Network with a diverse gathering of professionals in their disciplines;
  • Benefit from practical professional development sessions;
  • Connect with the community of scientists from a diversity of ethnic, racial, and socioeconomic backgrounds.
Students who attend these conferences are heavily recruited for graduate and medical schools. They also return to Oberlin with renewed confidence and a re-energized commitment to the pursuit of a higher degree. These students have also created a support network for STEM students on campus and successfully petitioned to create a residence hall specifically for science students that opened in the fall of 2015.

The goal of our project is to transform Oberlin into a hub of science students of color and to achieve leadership not only in the sciences, but in equity and social justice as well.

In 2015, generous support from this fund – as well as conference travel awards – allowed us to take seven students to Seattle to present their research at ABRCMS. One student was selected to give an oral presentation, and two were awarded prizes for their poster presentations. The students were accompanied by five faculty and staff members, making this the biggest Oberlin team to attend ABRCMS in the three years we have attended the conference. Help us continue this important work by making a donation to support our students!

Read about our first team's experience in 2013 at ABRCMS here:

And about our 2014 ABRCMS team here:

  • avatar-male
    Marcelo Vinces

    Director, CLEAR

$ 36

Ma'ayan Plaut

$ 100

Marcelo Vinces

$ 500

Dr. Lillie J Edwards

Thanks for your generosity!

April 9, 2015

We would like to thank the generous support of those who have donated funds to this campaign. So far we have raised $325 of our $9500 goal.

It will require approximately $1300 to take one student to one of these conferences, including conference registration, airfare, lodging, meals and other transportation expenses.

If we could get at least to the $1300 amount, we can ensure coverage for one student. So please spread the word for us by email, Facebook, Twitter, or by word of mouth. Every little bit helps!

And thank you again!

Two days to go and one milestone reached!

April 30, 2015

Great news! With only TWO days left of the campaign, we have reached the $1300 milestone that will allow us to guarantee FULL coverage of ONE student to ABRCMS, SACNAS, or a similar science conference!

HUGE thanks to the many generous donors who have made this possible!

To remind you of the impact of these conferences, here is what one student had to say after returning from SACNAS:

A few weeks ago I attended the SACNAS conference and I regret that I could not have gone sooner in my college career. As a fourth year science major and an underrepresented person of color, attending this conference meant a lot to me personally and professionally. It was important to see that there are others like me in the sciences, although it my not seem that way as an undergraduate student at Oberlin College. Hearing the stories and narratives of others that are similar and different to mine was very uplifting and I wish I could share that with the rest of my community. Attending this conference also gave me the final bits of motivation that I needed as I begin to cross this finish line. I wish I had gone as a sophomore so that I could learn how to navigate the conference sooner and take full advantage of it. Luckily, there is a lot of support given to first time attendees but learning how to navigate a conference such as SACNAS also depends on experience. As a sophomore I would have had more time to put what I learned into use. I would have known about fellowships, how to apply to graduate school and that applying to research experience for undergraduates is a great thing. These things are not very obvious for first generation, low income, students of color like myself, but I am glad there are institutions out there who support these initiatives.

I hope you appreciate how critical these conferences are to students. Many thanks!

New milestone reached!

April 23, 2015

We've reached a milestone by passing the $450 mark this week. That means we have guaranteed one student's registration fee to one of the amazing science conferences!

Why is it so important to us that we send Oberlin College students to conferences like SACNAS and ABRCMS? Here's a recent editorial in Science Magazine that highlights a few good reasons:

Many thanks to our supporters!

Half way though - a report from the 2013 team!

April 15, 2015

Half way through the campaign, we'd like to thank the very generous donors! Here's how your donations help a student attend a conference full of scientists, scientists who are of color, women, first in the family in college, and from otherwise underrepresented groups in the sciences:

$450 for registration
$350 for airfare
$350 for hotel
$60 for meals
$35 for ground transportation

Read about the award-winning Oberlin team at the 2013 ABRCMS meeting here:

Your support can allow us to do it again!

Thank you!