The Amgen Scholars 2014 Symposia: Perspectives on the Path

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The Amgen Scholars 2014 Symposia: Perspectives on the Path

Europe Symposium

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U.S. Symposium

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The two #AmgenScholars 2014 Symposia provided perspectives on the path to #science careers. Learn more: http://bit.ly/1MzTaH9
Wednesday, December 16, 2015 - 8:00am

CAMPAIGN: Amgen Scholars Program

CONTENT: Blog

Amgen Scholars Symposia—in the form of conferences held in Los Angeles for US Scholars and in Cambridge, England, for Scholars from throughout Europe—give Scholars much-needed perspective as they imagine potential careers in science.

In 2014, at the Program’s two annual Symposia, Amgen Scholars heard presentations by established scientists whose career trajectories embody advice regarding perspectives on the path to science careers.

The Symposia—in the form of conferences held in Los Angeles for US Scholars and in Cambridge, England, for Scholars from throughout Europe—set the Amgen Scholars Program apart from other summer research experiences. The gatherings give Scholars much-needed perspective as they navigate daily challenges in the laboratory and imagine potential careers in science.

“In college, you just learn about the science itself but not what you do day to day as a science researcher, which differs in academic, medical, and industrial settings. That was something I got to see through the Symposium and through the whole [Amgen Scholars] experience,” says Christopher Ayoub, a Washington University in St. Louis Scholar, who is studying biology and anthropology at Oberlin College.

In July, Christopher joined 263 other Scholars from ten host institutions in the United States at the University of California, Los Angeles, to hear presentations by leading scientists in industry and academia. The Scholars also took a day to visit Amgen’s Thousand Oaks, California, campus for a firsthand glimpse into biotechnology to actually see how new medicines get discovered, developed, and manufactured.

Linda Liau, a neurosurgeon and researcher at UCLA who has developed personalized vaccines for her patients suffering from an aggressive form of brain cancer, gave an inspiring and memorable talk about her professional journey. “Dr. Liau’s presentation was phenomenal,” says Massachusetts Institute of Technology Scholar Kendall Kiser of Brigham Young University. “Professionally, everything she has accomplished is that to which I aspire. She was also exceptionally approachable. After her presentation, she stayed to speak one-on-one with Scholars, including me.”

Another viewpoint that Scholars gleaned from the Symposium is that there’s no single “right” career route. “That was encouraging and reassuring because at the time, I was really unsure what I wanted to do,” Christopher says. He has since decided to pursue an MD/PhD, although—in part inspired by the Symposium—he is open to change.

The Europe Scholars, 75 in total from three host institutions, gathered at the University of Cambridge for their Symposium in early September. The students heard engaging talks by preeminent scientists, including David Baulcombe and Margaret Stanley of the University of Cambridge and Patrick Baeuerle, former vice president of research and site head at Amgen Research Munich. The students also networked with one another over poster presentations of their summer research.

“Several of the talks and experiences shared by the faculty members as well as conversations with fellow Scholars left me with clearer ideas about how to approach a career—and a life—in science,” says Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München in Munich Scholar Virgínia Casablancas Antràs, who studies biomedical sciences at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona in Spain.

In particular, Virgínia took away from the Symposium the notion of the importance of exploring different areas and working hard to find the one that suits you. Likewise, “We shouldn’t be afraid of failure, and mistakes and bad outcomes are necessary parts of even the most successful paths,” she says.

To read the entire report and learn more, please visit the Amgen Scholars Program 2014 Annual Report.

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To learn more about the Amgen Scholars Program, please visit our website and check out the #AmgenScholars hashtag on Twitter. Visit AmgenInspires.com and follow @AmgenFoundation to stay up to date with all STEM-related news from the Amgen Foundation.  

Keywords: Education | Amgen Foundation | Amgen Scholars Program | Biomedical Sciences | Biotechnology | Brigham Young University | Innovation & Technology | Philanthropy & Cause Initiatives | STEM

CAMPAIGN: Amgen Scholars Program

CONTENT: Blog

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