Travel Awardee Reception – Free money to fly to LA!

Saturday night I went to the ‘Education, Inclusion and Diversity, and Professional Opportunities for Women Committees Travel Awardee Reception’ because I was getting a Committee for Professional Opportunities for Women Travel Award! Including certificate, ribbon, and check! A grad student from our lab also tagged along in hopes of free food, and there were iced tea and cookies!

As we sat down to get ready for the awards, I decided I’d take a picture of these treats. When it turned out that my one cookie looked a little sad, I propped it up with the larger assortment from my neighbors. Then a lemon was offered so I could spice up the aesthetics of the tea. The awardee next to me was appalled saying, ‘What social media platform are you posting that on? Cause I’m going to heckle you so hard.’

When the short ceremony started, they mentioned there would also be another place where travel awardees were to be honored: the international travel awardee luncheon 12-1pm Sunday. Furthermore, they encouraged everyone (diverse or not) to attend Committee on Inclusion and Diversity Networking Event: Resources and Opportunities from 3-4pm on Tuesday.

Over the course of the reception, I was surprised by some of the numbers.  Apparently of the ~4000 attendees at this conference, there were only 447 applicants to these travel awards, and of 447 travel award applicants there were 148 winners. That means you should all have applied. Those are good odds guys! I got $500!

They also thanked the sponsors, which I think is worth mentioning here again: The Journal of General Physiology, Institute for Biological Recognition and Catalysis, and the NIH. And here’s the breakdown of the numbers for each travel award: from the CPOW there were 17 winners from 52 applicants, from the CID there were 14 winners from 25 applicants, and from the Education Committee there were 76 winners and 216 applicants.

It just so happened that earlier, the same day of the reception, a friend of mine asked if I’d ever applied for a travel award to attend a conference, and I could tell him that I had and even was just about to receive my check! I gave him a few pieces of advice: talk about how attending that conference will be particularly useful for you, how you fit the criteria for the award, but the most important advice I could give him was to just give it a shot!

After all the awards were passed out, I had tweeted my completely staged photo of the event, my neighboring awardee heckled me on the social media platform, and a group of us sat chatting until the janitors came in and started collecting the trash, a sign we should probably move on to a bar or the ongoing conference talks or something else appropriate for a Saturday night. All in all, a good night.


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