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Endowment Fund Testimonials
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The SETAC North America Endowment Fund was established in 2005 to develop and grow invested funds in perpetuity. The fund is used to support technical, scientific and educational activities in accordance with the society's mission. See what some of the recipients of Endowment Fund grants have to say:


Nishad Jayasundara

Nishad Jayasundara
Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University

I feel honored to have been selected as the student representative to participate in the SETAC Pellston workshop on ecosystem services. I thoroughly enjoyed being part of a highly dynamic group of scientists and policymakers, who were dedicated to not only generating a set of documents on ecosystem services but also to teaching and sharing knowledge. Through the workshop, I became familiar with the most up-to-date literature on ecosystem services and had an opportunity to interact with some of the experts in the field to discuss a wide range of topics pertaining to the subject. As a researcher with very little experience in the field, it was challenging and at times overwhelming to be among the best in the field, but the program structure and the group dynamics were such that the workshop became a highly productive, incredible learning experience. The opportunity to interact and build a network across individuals from many disciplines ranging from academia, industry and government settings was truly a privilege and created a wonderful platform for future collaborations. I am sincerely thankful to the organizers for this experience, and I hope such opportunities continue for many years to come for other students.



Gaby Rodriguez

Gaby Rodriguez
National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM)

In 2011, I received support from the SETAC North America Endowment Fund to participate in the SETAC annual meeting in Boston, Mass. I was informed that I was nominated at the end of the SETAC North America focused topic meeting on "Pollutants in the Environment Fate and Toxicity," which took place in Meérida, México, in 2011. At that time, I had just started my new job at UNAM. I had a ton of work but only some financial support for travel expenses from my new employer, and I had definitively no grants. Boston’s meeting was out of our budget. My thoughts were that maybe, just maybe, if I was lucky enough, one of my students would win a student travel award (and she did!), and she would take our work to the meeting. The SETAC Boston meeting was one of the best meetings I ever attended. Not only was the city beautiful, but it was also a very interesting meeting from a scientific point of view. I was able to meet many colleagues that I only knew from their scientific publications, and I reunited with many others that are regular attendees of SETAC meetings. I really appreciate what SETAC did for me and my student. We learned a lot, we had a lot of fun, and we left Boston with many new friends that would become coworkers in the near future. Since then, my situation has improved. New students arrived and joined my new projects, and every time we use part of our grants to attend SETAC meetings. We loved the Long Beach and Nashville meetings, and we are sure that, if we have our visas on time, we will meet all the SETAC family in Vancouver.



April Gu

April Z. Gu
Northeastern University

One of the research areas of my group is ecotoxicity assessment of nanomaterials, so I was interested in joining SETAC, to meet other scientists with whom I could share ideas and to get inspired. I am very grateful for the SETAC North America Endowment Fund Travel Award, which allowed me the opportunity to experience my first SETAC North America annual meeting in Portland, Ore., in 2010. The warm welcome and smiling faces at the registration desk made me feel immediately at ease, even though there were no familiar faces around me yet. A gentle man with kind smile helped me through the registration process and suggested that I should join the new member breakfast. It turned out to be Executive Director Greg Schiefer. At the breakfast, I met people from different backgrounds, ranging from universities to government research institutes and consulting companies. I thought the meeting must cover a variety of topics that can catch wide interests. With the intention to explore the various topics covered at SETAC, I tried to attend a number of sessions covering a range of presentations related to ecotoxicology, nanotoxicity and emerging contaminants. The presented subjects were quite diverse but with coherent themes. I met familiar faces as well as people who I had only known through their research. The quality of the presentations was generally very good, with an enthusiastic audience who was asking intriguing questions. I also visited the exhibition and on-site bookstores, and I viewed the products related to various environmental issues, which was also a pleasant experience. In overall, I had very positive impressions and experiences with SETAC, and I have decided to become a member. The next SETAC North America meeting will be held in Boston, my hometown, which I will definitely attend. I will also encourage my students to attend. I hope I will not only benefit from SETAC but also contribute to the growth and development of the society in the future.



Crystal Lee Pow

Crystal Lee Pow
North Carolina State University

It was an honor to receive a travel award from the SETAC North America Endowment Fund. The award afforded me the opportunity to attend the conference in Nashville, Tennessee. The 2013 SETAC North America meeting was my first national conference since beginning graduate school, so having the opportunity to attend presentations and poster session in topics related to my research was great. I also attended the Student/Mentor Dinner and the Service Project, which were two great networking opportunities.



David Dreier

David Dreier
Baylor University

I was fortunate enough to receive support for travel to SETAC North America annual meeting in Nashville, Tennessee, which would have been difficult without the assistance of the Endowment Fund. At the conference, I had the opportunity to present my work and get feedback from individuals in my particular area of interest, which has been instrumental to developing my research project further. At the same time, attending seminars, workshops and poster sessions allowed me to explore the current state of the science. As an undergraduate, in particular, this conference facilitated meaningful conversations between me and potential graduate school programs. In fact, some of the first interactions I had with one of my graduate school advisors was at SETAC North America! As a student, it was also great to have discussions with my peers to begin developing a network of my own. We had a wonderful time in Nashville, and it was great to catch up with old friends and mentors from previous collaborations.



Eleanor Robinson

Eleanor Robinson
Baylor University

As a recipient of a SETAC North America Endowment Fund Travel Award, I was financially able to attend the SETAC North America meeting in Boston, Mass., in 2011. I presented my first national meeting platform presentation and was overwhelmed by the interest and support received from SETAC scientists. I appreciate the support SETAC has provided for students over these past years. Attending SETAC meetings gave me the opportunity to network with an amazing and diverse group of scientists from across the globe. In addition, I learned about recent updates in my field of research that I was able to apply to my own work. It was a phenomenal experience!



Jesus Alvarada Flores

Jesus Alvarado Flores
Universidad Autónoma de Aguascalientes México

I have been a researcher in aquatic toxicology since studying biology as an undergraduate at university. I then completed a master's degree in toxicology where I worked with bioaccumulation of metals. Later, I completed a PhD in biological sciences, and my experience increased in the area of endocrine disruption in rotifers. During my PhD studies, I participated in the Asociación Mesoamericana de Ecotoxicología y Química Ambiental, A. C. (AMEQA) meeting in Mexico, which led to my obtaining support from SETAC to attend the SETAC North America 33rd Annual Meeting in Long Beach California in 2012. That experience was one of the most outstanding in my training as a researcher and as a person. The dynamics of the congress, courses, poster and platform presentations were excellent for me, interacting with people and exchanging information on aquatic toxicology, and analyzing their results changed my perspective of research. All of these things are awesome. I definitely recommend going to SETAC meetings. I belong to AMEQA, which is linked to SETAC, and so know about the meetings and participate in them. The trip to Long Beach was enriching, and I surely would like to participate again and contribute with topics in aquatic toxicology, especially in endocrine disruption. Finally, a special thanks to Doris Vidal and Nikki Turman, who helped me a lot at the Long Beach meeting, and all the members of AMEQA México.



Keegan Rankin

Keegan Rankin
University of Toronto

I wanted to thank the Endowment Fund for awarding me with the SETAC Travel Award to attend the 2013 meeting in Nashville, Tenn. This was my first time attending a SETAC North America annual meeting, and I very much enjoyed the experience. The atmosphere was relaxed, and the attendees were approachable, which made for motivating discussions. I had the opportunity to establish many new contacts during coffee breaks and poster sessions, and believe my research benefited from their insights. It was also great to catch up with old friends and former colleagues over a couple drinks at the various conference events or while out for dinner. I feel this was a valuable experience, and it will benefit my future research and ultimately my career. Once again, thank you for providing me with this great opportunity.



Mark Bradley
Mark Bradley
McGill University

My attendance at SETAC meetings so far has enhanced my professional and academic development, and it introduced me to a wonderful professional community. Receiving support from the SETAC Endowment Fund enabled me to attend the 2013 SETAC North America annual meeting in Nashville, Tenn. This support was crucial because my opportunities for conference travel funding as a professional student were limited. My continued involvement with SETAC in Nashville built on the experiences of my first SETAC meeting in Long Beach. The feedback I received from varied perspectives was valuable for my presented work, and the lessons I learned continue to benefit me during my doctoral studies. Thanks to the interdisciplinary nature of SETAC, I could network with colleagues from a variety of professional sectors, aligning with a wide range of my interests. Working as a student volunteer in one of the Nashville platform sessions, I got to know the chairs of the session, one of whom works on projects related to mine. The student activities, such as the Noontime Seminars, were a great way to get to know other early career SETAC members. In Nashville, I encountered familiar faces from SETAC Long Beach, and I continue to look forward to catching up with contacts from past meetings and expanding my SETAC network. Before, during and after SETAC meetings, I was able to explore Nashville, Long Beach, and Joshua Tree National Park with fellow conference attendees. This was an additional fun and informal chance to build friendships within the SETAC community. For these benefits and more, I am grateful for the support I received from the Endowment Fund to continue my involvement with SETAC.



Melina Soto

Melina Soto
Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México

While I was completing my master's degree at UNAM in Southeast Mexico, studying the estrogenic effect of sunscreen compounds on a tropical reef fish called the sergeant major, Abudefduf saxatilis, I had the opportunity to attend the SETAC Focused Topic Meeting in Mérida, México, where I gave a presentation about my work. I was quite stressed and excited because it was my first talk in English in front of a large and intimidating audience! I then had the huge honor to be given a grant to attend the SETAC North America annual meeting in Boston, Mass. First of all, if it wasn't for that fund, I would not have been able to attend. The travel expenses were too high for my small budget. It has been an amazing experience from the beginning to the end. I have been able to present my work to a large number of people, attended very inspiring and interesting talks, volunteered to help with activities with kids, met very easy-going and well-known researchers, and exchanged a lot of contacts. It opened my network from Brazil to Australia! Though I am actually working in coral reef restoration, not directly connected to ecotoxicology at first sight, the knowledge and curiosity I have gained through the years thanks to SETAC are always of use when working with the environment. I am very, very glad I was given this opportunity to live such an experience and will not be able to thank this amazing organization enough.



Heather Shipley

Heather Shipley
University of Texas at San Antonio

I received a 2010 SETAC Travel Award to attend the SETAC North America annual meeting in Portland, Ore. I would not have been unable to attend the SETAC meeting if I had not received this support. At the time, I was an assistant professor just starting my career. It was my first time at a SETAC meeting and it was a great experience. By attending this meeting, I was able to see the latest research that was being conducted. My research focuses on environmental chemistry aspects of environmental engineering, and I found plenty of sessions and talks to attend on environmental and analytical chemistry that were similar to and relevant to my work that I could apply and connect with others about potential collaborations. I also participated in the student judging of presentations and posters for masters and doctoral students. I found this quite a rewarding process.


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