M e e t i n g    D e s c r i p t i o n


Ponce School of Medicine and Health Sciences (PSMHS) is the major medical and research institution in the southern part of Puerto Rico. The city of Ponce is also home to 3 universities: University of Puerto Rico, Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico and Interamerican University of Puerto Rico, all of which are minority-serving institutions that offer bachelor degrees in science, biology and biomedical sciences. Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico also offers a Masterís degree in Biotechnology. Students from these schools have limited opportunities to attend national scientific meetings due to the geographic restrictions of living in Puerto Rico. This meeting experience will be particularly important for these students since many are also first generation college students whose first language is Spanish. In the past, PSMHS has provided critical access to research experience to graduate, undergraduate and high school students in the area. PSMHS faculty and graduate students often serve as role models and provide needed mentoring and guidance to undergraduate students interested in pursuing a Ph.D. in biomedical research.

We would like to invite undergraduate and graduate science students from Ponce and nearby universities, as well as science department directors and faculty, to the Southern Science Symposium: Cell Biology and Careers to be held on Saturday, November 17, 2012 at the Ponce School of Medicine and Health Sciences.

The main goal of this one-day local meeting is to:

Reach out to undergraduate (and graduate) science students and the local community to increase knowledge and create awareness of aspects of cell biology and research conducted locally, the role of the biomedical scientist and the impact of their investigations, and to inspire the professional development of young scientists

In achieving this goal, we will also meet the following objectives.
  1. Communicate awareness of the importance of cell biology in research; help the community understand what research is conducted in the area.
  2. Strengthen networking and collaborative efforts across local colleges and among graduate students and undergraduate students by providing mentoring opportunities and resources for facilitating the studentsí successful entry into science graduate programs and research careers.
  3. Bridge undergraduate and graduate research training in the region by providing a forum for underrepresented minority students to share their research and increase their knowledge of aspects of cell biology and each othersí work.
  4. Encourage, motivate and train underrepresented minority students to pursue graduate studies in the sciences and eventually advance into productive independent research careers. Provide an overview of the graduate school setting and how to better prepare for the admission process.
  5. Evaluate the effectiveness of this one-day local meeting by administering pre- and post-assessments to the attendees.

Abstract submission deadline: October 17, 2012 Registration deadline: November 9, 2012