Athens, OH 18 April 2016 –
This past weekend I had the absolute privilege of attending the Association of American Physicians and American Society for Clinical Investigation Joint Meeting in Chicago, Illinois. The conference lasted from Friday to Sunday, and I sincerely enjoyed every minute of it.
The research project which I have been working on over the past couple of years is in collaboration with a DO/PhD student from the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine named Ashley Patton. Our project involves investigating the early development of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, as well as analyzing the effect of a novel group of compounds on the progression of the disease.
Attending the AAP/ASCI meeting offered us the opportunity to share our work with leading researchers and emerging students in the biomedical field. I may very well have been the only undergraduate in the room for the whole weekend, but I would not have traded my experience for anything.
Ashley and I left on Thursday to allow us some time to see the sights before the conference began. We landed at 1:00 pm, and then proceeded to soak in everything that Chicago had to offer.
Over the course of our trip, we marveled at “the Bean,” sampled some famous popcorn, tried Chicago deep-dish pizza (TWICE!), trekked up and down the Magnificent Mile, traveled the Chicago River walk, ate squid ink pasta, basked in the sun in Millennium Park, and took in the incredible skyline from the tallest floor of the “Sears” (now known as the Willis) Tower.
It was the perfect mix of business and entertainment. The majority of our time was spent listening to presentations and panels with a group of talented speakers which included everyone from a Nobel Laureate to a former NASA astronaut.
Recently, I have struggled to identify what my path will be after graduation, but attending this conference really invigorated me because I realized that many of the most gifted minds in the world have no idea what they want to do: they follow their passions at any costs, and in this way, they succeed brilliantly in their endeavors.
I think the thing that struck me the most was a quote from a panelist on the last day. Despite being a super successful scholar and entrepreneur, he said, “I am no smarter than anyone else. The only reason that I am here is that I have been willing to fail over and over and over again.”
That was my biggest takeaway from the weekend, and I can only hope that in my life, regardless of my triumphs and trials, I can show the same strength to get back up each time I fall.