DSAC Symposium 2017: A Student's Perspective

By Jessica Coates and Amielle Moreno


1st Place Image Award Winner Stephanie Pollitt (Neuroscience Program)

Excitement filled the air as GDBBS students packed Cox Hall to showcase their hard work and research efforts at the 14th Annual DSAC Student Research Symposium. Each year the Division Student Advisory Council (DSAC), hosts a research symposium to give students the opportunity to practice communicating their science and receive faculty mentoring in the form of positive feedback, reassurance, and praise.   

I recently got the opportunity to sit down with Stephanie Pollitt, this year’s first place winner for poster presentations. A third year student in the Neuroscience program, she works in the laboratory of Dr. James Zheng. Pollitt amazed the judges and other GDBBS spectators as she shared her work on understanding the process by which neurons in the central nervous system form during development. It was particularly amazing to hear about the intersectionality between her research and other fields of biology. The LASP1 protein Pollitt works with has been implicated in neurological disorder and several cancers bringing in crowds from the GDBBS genetics to cancer biology students.

When the request for abstracts was circulated among GDBBS students, Pollitt knew she had to partake in this opportunity.  She loves to discuss her work with scientists from different backgrounds. Hearing her excitement as she shared her research led me to wonder how she developed the skills to effectively communicate her science to such a broad audience. Pollitt attests her success in communicating her project to the training she’s received as a GDBBS student and consistent practice. Prior to participating in the DSAC symposium, Pollitt practiced relentlessly with her labmates and other graduate students.

She encourages all GDBBS students to participate in the DSAC symposium as an essential part of their graduate careers. Stephanie credits the DSAC symposium as a safe space to receive constructive feedback but also foster scientific communication. We will all go on to discuss our science at local, national, or international conferences.  Stephanie believes the DSAC symposium allows students to gain new and interesting perspectives on their work they may not have received from the advisor or committee members. For anyone interested in learning more about the DSAC symposium, don’t hesitate to visit their website (http://biomed.emory.edu/news-events/events/dsac-research-symposium.html).