Newswise — Bethesda, MD -- The Genetics Society of America (GSA) is pleased to announce the inaugural group of GSA Trainee-Organized Symposia, which are organized by student and postdoctoral members of the Society. These outstanding workshops will receive up to $2,000 in funding to cover direct meeting costs, such as speaker travel, facility rental, and promotion supplies. The goal of the GSA Trainee-Organized Symposia program is to advance knowledge, encourage exchange, foster new connections and collaborations, and further the mission of the Society by facilitating the efforts of our early career members to convene a group of people who share a common interest in a branch of genetics. Proposed workshops were evaluated based on their relevance to the GSA mission, the need for and the uniqueness of the event, the benefit to early career geneticists, and the availability of other relevant support. "We are delighted to be able to support our student and postdoc members as they take an important step in their career development through organizing local and regional events that will help serve the genetics community," said Adam P. Fagen, PhD, GSA's Executive Director. "GSA will continue to promote opportunities for our trainee members to assume leadership roles in the Society and in our field." The details of the GSA Trainee-Organized Symposia and their organizing committees are below.

The University of Toronto Interdepartmental Monthly Career Development and Skills Workshop Series will help trainees identify and achieve their career goals. This will be accomplished through a series of workshops that each focus on distinct career options that are accessible to life sciences trainees. Each workshop will contain three components: (1) a panel discussion featuring professionals who will provide insight into the featured career; (2) an interactive practical skill development session pertinent to the featured career path; and (3) an open networking component that provides trainees a chance to interact with the presenters one-on-one. This workshop series will educate trainees about the multitude of careers available to them, empower trainees to effectively identify career opportunities and network, and enable trainees to develop the skills necessary to succeed in a diverse career landscape. The workshop series is organized by Amanda Ottilia Veri and Samantha Yammine, who are doctoral candidates in the Department of Molecular Genetics at the University of Toronto. The Advocating Translational Genetics/Genomics Conference in St. Louis (ATGC-STL), hosted by Harris-Stowe State University (HSSU), aims to pioneer early exposure to quality research in genetics and to promote genetic literacy of under-represented students at the pre-college, undergraduate, and graduate levels. The symposium will offer activities for a wide range of genetics scholars and provide the opportunity for students to present their work in the genetics field, interact with university faculty, and obtain information on undergraduate and graduate level opportunities in genetics research. Underrepresented St. Louis public high school students will be chosen to attend the symposium, where they will be introduced to a diverse array of genetics research by experienced undergraduate student volunteers, who will guide them through oral and poster presentation sessions. With the support of longstanding GSA members Dr. Sandra Leal of the University of Southern Mississippi, Dr. Jana Marcette of HSSU, and Dr. Wendi Neckameyer of Saint Louis University, in cohesion with HSSU administrators, the ATGC-STL committee aims to foster an environment that enables emerging scientist to explore the field of genetics research. The ATGC-STL committee is composed of Chelsea Pretz, Joseph Bradley, and Davinelle Daniels, who are undergraduates in the Biology Department at HSSU. The Vancouver Worm Research Meeting (VanWoRM) is a trainee-organized seminar series that unites C. elegans researchers in Vancouver, BC, for seminars and networking. VanWoRM convenes every other month, with the goal of establishing connections and sharing current research findings between C. elegans researchers at the University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University. Furthermore, VanWoRM hosts a biennial Northwest Worm Meeting, inviting researchers from the University of Washington and Western Washington University to Vancouver for a day-long symposium. VanWoRM and the Northwest Worm Meeting cover a diverse range of topics representing the interests of ten Vancouver-based labs and five Washington-based labs, including stress and aging, genome stability, gene expression, developmental biology, and neurobiology. The VanWORM series is organized by Simon Fraser University graduate student Kwangjin Park in the Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry and University of British Columbia graduate students Jennifer Grants in the Department of Medical Genetics and Grace Goh in the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology.

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About the Genetics Society of America (GSA)The Genetics Society of America (GSA) is the professional scientific society that has represented the collective interests of individuals working to deepen out understanding of the living world by advancing the field of genetics since 1931. Its more than 5,500 members span all educational and professional levels and count 20 Nobel Laureates in their ranks. The Society promotes research and fosters communication through a number of GSA-sponsored conferences including regular meetings that focus on particular model organisms, and two peer-reviewed, peer-edited scholarly journals: GENETICS, which has published high quality original research across the breadth of the field since 1916, and G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics, an open-access journal launched in 2011 to disseminate high quality foundational research in genetics and genomics. GSA demonstrates its deep commitment to education by sponsoring professional development and outreach activities to equip the next generation of scholars in the field. For more information about GSA, please visit To receive regular updates about the Society and its membership, follow GSA on Facebook and on Twitter @GeneticsGSA.