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:
SETAC has always been a more relaxed venue for getting to know other scientists in the field, and I have continued to rely on the annual meeting as a platform for growing my network. I have only just wrapped up my first year in science not as a graduate student but as a young professional in industry. One of the greatest challenges, besides my new job as an environmental toxicologist, has been integrating with experts who have been in the industry for many years. It is easy to be intimidated by their breadth of knowledge and the close relationships they have with one another. Attending the SETAC North America annual meeting in Minneapolis through the help of the SETAC North America Endowment Fund Early Career Travel Award has been crucial for me to meet my peers and grow my relationships, which so many of us in industry rely on time after time.
This year in particular was special to me as I was able to judge posters and presentations and be a meeting buddy for those new to the meeting or for those simply seeking advice about how to successfully pursue their dream. SETAC has given so much to me, so it has been great to give back and I found this experience very rewarding.
SETAC, in my opinion, has always been and always will be a place for me to grow. The SETAC community has always felt like one big family, where each of us shares a similar passion and goal; to advance the field of environmental science to benefit not only the environment itself but society as a whole. I am continually impressed by those who have donated to this fund and funds alike and those that continue to be involved in SETAC long after graduate school. These efforts undoubtedly reflect SETAC’s mission to support technical, scientific and educational activities. Thank you to all who contributed to the Endowment Fund and my attendance at this year’s meeting, you have helped me cap off a very successful first year of my new career!
I’m very grateful to the SETAC North America Endowment Fund’s Recent Graduate Travel Award. I am so honored to be selected as one of the only two recipients of this award from academia. The award afforded me the opportunity to attend the 2017 SETAC North America annual meeting in Minneapolis. I had a wonderful experience there. What made this year more special to me is that my Ph.D. supervisor Dr. Kenneth M.Y. Leung and my current PI Dr. Daniel Schlenk both received the SETAC Fellow award!
After recently graduating from The University of Hong Kong, I worked as a postdoc at UCR on the molecular mechanism of crude oil toxicity in wild fish. Therefore, this year I spent most of the time on two topics, aquatic toxicology and ecology and systems biology for ecotoxicology. I gave a platform presentation in the system biology session on my new findings in the regulation of microRNAs in fish exposed to crude oil. I obtained some critical feedback, and this study was later published in Environmental Science & Technology Letters after the meeting. I had also co-authored two poster presentations and made some great networking connections with others in my field.
As the -omics used in toxicology studies is in its infancy and remains challenging, the -omics session gave me exciting ideas and cutting-edge methods. Attending and giving oral and poster presentations also allowed me to get acquainted with the most recent discoveries circulating in nanotechnology, which will be the focus of my future study. Additionally, attending the poster section also enabled me to identify potential collaborators and make new connections, especially some great scholars from Canada, where I am moving to continue my research. This year, I also attended the Chinese SETAC dinner event, which allowed me to meet some old and new friends, who traveled far from my home country.
I had a tremendous time in Minneapolis. Once again, I am extremely grateful for the support I received from the Endowment Fund to attend this great SETAC meeting in Minneapolis. I will definitely keep encouraging students and colleagues who are new to SETAC.
Thanks to the SETAC North America Endowment Fund’s Early Career Travel Award, I was able to attend the SETAC North America Meeting in Minneapolis! Not only was I able to network with amazing scientists from academia, government and industry, I was also able to present my own research as a platform talk and obtain feedback about my work. As a postdoctoral fellow, these types of experiences are critical for me to begin establishing myself as an independent researcher.
During the meeting, I saw some of the newest and most interesting science happening in the fields of environmental toxicology and chemistry, which has expanded my knowledge and given me much to think about in terms of the next avenues that I want to pursue research-wise. I am truly grateful for the creation of the SETAC North America Endowment Fund Early Career Travel Award and to all of the SETAC North America Endowment Fund donors for their generosity: With these awards you provide early career scientists with the ability to attend SETAC meetings and brighten our futures!
Thank you for helping me to attend this year’s  SETAC North America Annual Meeting in Minneapolis by organizing and funding the Early Career Travel Awards. As a recent graduate in my first year working in state government, this travel award genuinely made the difference in my ability to attend the meeting. With travel costs supplemented, my supervisors agreed to cover my time while at the meeting and the cost of a short course on Sunday. This is a win-win for everyone.
I hope to use the knowledge gained in the short course on projects here locally, and I made some great connections, especially with other people in my region working on water quality, data visualization and science communication. In addition to the scientific program of SETAC Minneapolis, I was happy to have attended our regional chapter meeting (Pacific Northwest) and both Early Career Committee events (social event and committee business meeting). I look forward to being more involved in the Early Career Committee moving forward!
I first became involved with the third YES meeting in Krakow, Poland, back in 2013, while I was the leader of the SETAC North America Student Advisory Council. I was inspired by the fantastic meeting that these SETAC Europe students had put on and knew that bringing this meeting to North America was a must. I'm thankful that with a bit of inspiration, a lot of patience, a great program committee and only a few minor bumps on the road along the way, the 5th SETAC Young Environmental Scientists (YES) Meeting was a great success.
My work through SETAC and through the past three YES meetings has not only been a great deal of fun, but it has inspired me to work through the moments of stress and doubt that I have about my own scientific career. Seeing and enabling students and young researchers to come together and share their passions in science makes me believe that the future of scientific research has outstanding potential to make strides forward. I come back from every SETAC event inspired, and this one is certainly no exception.
Now that the meeting is over, I'm already using my spare brain cells for new ideas, research questions and projects, things that I know I can bring to life thanks to the confidence I get from the work I do with such great people and such a great organization like SETAC. There is a great benefit from being active in professional societies like SETAC, because they can provide the inspiration and the impetus we need to go further on our own than we ever thought possible. I'm thankful for SETAC both as a student and now as a recent graduate for the confidence and inspiration I need to make Environmental Quality Through Science a reality!
University of Minnesota
I’m extremely grateful for the support of the SETAC North America Endowment fund that allowed me to participate as a graduate student in the SETAC Pellston Workshop on Hazard and Risk Assessment Approaches for Endocrine-Active Chemicals from 1–5 February 2016. It was an amazing and eye-opening experience to interact with so many international leaders in the field of endocrine disruption. I now have a better understanding of how a diverse group of scientists can tackle a truly daunting problem using an evidence-based approach and end up with a consensus recommendation for the global community. This was an especially impressive accomplishment given the high potential for controversy over how to approach hazard and risk assessment of endocrine disrupting compounds. Since participating in this workshop, I find I have many new ideas and a deeper comprehension of the regulatory context for my experimental work, along with a renewed motivation and enthusiasm for producing an excellent dissertation.
University of Florida
With support from the SETAC North America Endowment Fund, I had a tremendous experience at the SETAC Pellston Workshop on Environmental Hazard and Risk Assessment Approaches for Endocrine-Active Chemicals, especially as a student participant. The workshop highlighted the best of SETAC: tripartite organization, high-quality research and relevant scientific discussions. The workshop participants welcomed me as a young researcher, and I felt comfortable engaging these scientists about workshop topics. While at the workshop, I had the opportunity to network with some of the best scientists in the field, and I gained valuable experience working alongside these individuals to produce meaningful products for publication. Although there were several late evenings of work, I still enjoyed the Florida weather and returned to my own work refreshed from the overall workshop experience. I hope other students can have these unique opportunities, and I am grateful for the SETAC North America Endowment Fund to support these remarkable experiences.
University of Maryland College Park
Thanks to support from the SETAC North America Endowment Fund and its generous donors, I was able to attend the SETAC North America 36th Annual Meeting in Salt Lake City, Utah, and take full advantage of all the educational and professional opportunities that the conference had to offer.
Through viewing the many posters and platform sessions at the meeting, I was able to catch up on the latest science in the field. Even more valuable were the opportunities I had to interact one-on-one with other scientists and to gain advice on ways to refine my own research project. I presented my graduate research on sediment toxicity and contamination at the Monday night poster session, and I gained valuable insights from peers and mentors in my field that will help guide my continuing research. The SETAC meeting offered unparalleled opportunities for networking; this year, I participated in the Student-Mentor Lunch, the Women in SETAC Luncheon, the Student Noontime Seminar and the Career Navigation event. I also expanded my skills in science communication with two professional training courses – one on interacting with the media as an environmental scientist and one on communicating about research to non-scientists.
Without a travel award from the Endowment Fund I would not have had the freedom to participate in these incredible educational and networking opportunities. I am so grateful for the support!
Mario Alberto Arzate-Cárdenas
Escuela Nacional de Ciencias Biológicas, Instituto Politécnico Nacional
In 2011, I was just about to complete my Ph.D. thesis at ENCB-IPN, when I attended the SETAC North America Focused Topic Meeting in Mérida, Mexico. I presented my results about the effect of age on several biomarkers of cladocerans.
Although it was not my first oral presentation, it is always intimidating talking to such a multidisciplinary and experienced audience. Nonetheless, I was given a grant to attend the SETAC North America annual meeting in Boston, Mass. Thanks to the SETAC Endowment Fund, I could attend the meeting in 2011. Otherwise, it would have been much more difficult because of my budget.
I was so exited about having the opportunity to meet people from all North America but I was amazed since I could meet and now keep in touch with people from all over the world. I had the chance to interact with peers, exchange points of view and had the advice of several professionals, even some authors I have also cited in my first publications! It was a really good time. The Boston meeting remind me that science and taking care of our planet is still possible as many more people are getting involved with new technologies and approaches to natural and anthropogenic processes. I loved being in Boston, a wonderful city and a great experience! The meeting encouraged me to continue my research in ecotoxicology, now incorporating native species to assess emergent pollutant effects. Thanks SETAC! I have no words to say how glad I am to be part of this.
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.
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 Z. Gu
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
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.