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Katherine Walter

WICR Scholar Awardee 2014
Graduate Student, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
Medical University of South Carolina
Charleston, South Carolina

"While the experience of attending a conference is valuable in and of itself, I feel that the WICR events allowed me to walk away with specific skills that I will almost assuredly use in the future. For example, the "The Art of Engaging in a Successful Interview" session was extremely informative, for me especially, because of my lack of experience with this topic. As a new graduate student, my only previous experience with an interview in the field of research was my admissions interview. While this was valuable, it does not compare to what faces me after graduation and I was extremely appreciative of how blunt and direct the panelists were about what to expect for post-graduate interviews. The interactive element of this session also enabled me to meet others in my field (an opportunity I have not previously had before outside of my institution) as well as force all of us to think critically about events in our past that can successfully represent our positive attributes, or "front wheel" skills, as Matthew so eloquently put it. I know that in a few short years, I will be pulling out the paperwork from this session and actively using them to help me move forward in my research career!

"Another session I really appreciated was the career mentoring session. As a new researcher, I feel as though I am in need of direction and being able to meet Johanna Lampe was extremely valuable. We were able to talk through some of my thoughts and concerns and as a result, I have gained much more confidence in my abilities. I loved Nancy Davidson's talk as well—what an incredible woman! Seeing where she started to where she is now was astounding. I especially appreciated her pointing out the "bumps in the road" throughout her career because her timeline was quite intimidating at first, but her showing that obstacles did, in fact, occur made it all the more realistic for us young researchers.

"My first large-scale poster session was inspiring, intimidating, and informative all at once. I did not anticipate the massive amount of interest my research sparked within the AACR community and I loved having the opportunity to network with scientists from all over the country. In addition to this, I was able to form potential collaborative relationships with other researchers, which is something I would have never dreamed possible at my first national conference.

"In summary, the events I was able to attend at the Annual Meeting showed me the vast network of peers within the WICR that are available to me for support and encouragement. It is helpful to have so many wonderful women at different levels of their career, all with the same purpose. I look forward to being able to become more active within the WICR and I am extremely grateful for this tremendous opportunity."