“IDigTRIO was such an enriching experience, despite being digital I felt like I was able to connect with the presenters and participants. Being able to hear about such different fields and research interests, I learned tips on how to keenly navigate my path to grad school. I was exposed and encouraged to think about interdisciplinary themes in science and am so thankful for this experience. I graduated now with my BSc in Nutritional Science, am currently applying for graduate masters programs abroad in Germany focusing on Translational neuroscience to study gut brain connections. The google doc handbook provided has been helpful. I specifically benefited from the advice about picking the right program because it has been hard narrowing down a degree when I’m still unsure what career path I am taking. Especially the section “Questions for grad Students” helped me consider not only whether or not I qualify for a program but to also consider what I am looking for in a grad program/school. I also learned great tips on how to reach out to PIs and helpful etiquette for virtual communication.”
-Laura (recent college graduate)
"During this conference, what was helpful was meeting new people and getting connected with others and the wide variety of biology majors. This was the first-ever conference I've been to, and I was glad I did not feel alone in it being the only exposure to get in regards to my major and not being the only one to dislike math. Thanks to the conference and meeting new people, I was able to apply for the iDigBio internship which I thought I would not even get into. The conference gave me the confidence to put myself out there and when I got accepted into this internship it was all thanks to the mentors I met and the people I stayed connected with that really got me into the internship. Through the shadowing mentor program, my mentor Victor Blanco, became my first ever mentor in relation to marine biology (my major) which was an out-of-this-world experience. He helped me understand that “my long process and feeling like I'm stuck is perfectly normal”. That failure is a lesson to be learned and acquire the necessary skills from them so I know what to do to keep moving forward to reach my goals in life. I got my drive back to continue my education and when things get too tough, I know I am not alone because he had experienced the same feelings and thoughts that I am going through when he was going for his education as well. The conference was an amazing experience and encourage others to get out of their comfort zone a little and experience this wide variety of connections that can be made by participating in it next year."
-Karina (SSS student)
"I thought the panels were very well prepared and the conversations were balanced and engaging. I particularly enjoyed the panel on applying to graduate school. In fact, I would say it was one of the most welcoming and comprehensive panels on that topic that I've attended. Through the shadowing opportunity, I discovered the wonderful herbarium collection. It was so cool to assist my mentor with annotating ferns from the vaults. I even got my name put in the database as a contributor! The person I shadowed, Lindsey Riibe, has been a fantastic mentor. We email regularly and have plans to meet for coffee in the coming weeks. She has shared valuable insight on the graduate school process and has told me about her experience with working in industry before entering a Ph.D. program (which is what I hope to do)."
- Jieli (college student)
"The iDigTRIO conference allowed me to meet a mentor. Thanks to my mentor, I now know all about opportunities in pharmacology! I now have a clearer understanding of my future occupational options."
- Ronin (SSS student)
"The conference provided participants with the necessary knowledge to know what to strive for in pursue of their career. It is an experience worth having and the information received will be helpful for years to come. One important lesson that I learned from the conference, is that it is equally beneficial to learn about the things that you don't like as well as the things that you do like."
-Sierra (college student)
"I am one of the cofounders for the iDigTrio conference. I help co-organize the iDigTrio conference, the mentoring aspect in particular because I know how challenging it is to find one’s place in academia from first-hand experience. What I did not expect was to personally benefit from the opportunities and resources we hoped students would be able to utilize. During the first iDigTrio conference in 2019 during one of the funding sessions, I learnt about several opportunities that had been oblivious to me. Despite having completed a masters degree at UF I had “access” but no knowledge of opportunities that would benefit me, because like most students from marginalized backgrounds mentors are lacking that help build connections and remove barriers to truly accessing aspects that are intentionally or unintentionally under gatekeeping in academia. Nonetheless, through knowledge from iDigTRIO I applied for and successfully obtained the Board of Education Fellowship, before starting my PhD program, in fall 2019. My participation in BOE allowed me to meet a unique set of intellectually sound and like-minded individuals who either looked like me or shared similar experiences with me, in many cases we were “the other” at UF. During the program one of the most important aspects was making connections, which in many ways “forced” me to make new friends. Friends I may not have encountered outside of BOE, due to our geographic separation and varied disciplines. This new group of friends really got me to realize the need to add more balance to my life by taking time to engage with friends for non-academic purposes. My experience in BOE provided me with a new family at UF, which now includes my friends as well as a network of professionals and mentors with whom I have maintained relationships with as they continue to guide and support me. For example, I was able to leverage the skillsets of a fellow colleague on a paper we are collaborating on. Noteworthy, over the past academic year, as a Black academic these relationships and others I have formed have really continued to ground me as I continue to be challenged by the culture of academia which is not equitable. These experiences have also helped me to be a better mentor for mentees I engage with through iDigTrio and other avenues of my academic career."
-Adania (PhD student. iDigTRIO co-founder)