Global Scholar-in-Training Program Seeks 2023 Class of Awardees 

The AACR is pleased to offer the Global Scholar-in-Training Awards (GSITA) to eligible early-career investigators in countries building cancer research capacities who wish to participate in the AACR Annual Meeting. These awards are intended to enhance the education, training, and professional network of scientists from these countries engaged in basic, clinical, translational, or epidemiological cancer research. The program is currently accepting applications for the fifth class of GSITA awardees. The 2023 GSITA awardees will be invited to attend the AACR Annual Meeting 2023, scheduled for April 14-19, 2023, in Orlando, Florida.     

GSITA awardees are selected through a rigorous, peer-reviewed process. The 2022 scholars, representing Argentina, Colombia, Brazil, China, India, Jordan, Nigeria, Peru, and Serbia, were chosen for their outstanding promise as early-career researchers, with the hope that they would apply the education and inspiration they received from the meeting to their work in their home countries.     

As scholars around the world finish up their applications, several of this past year’s awardees shared their thoughts on how their experience helped prepare them for the next stage in their career.    

Mary Adewunmi,  
PhD student, Nigeria

Mary Adwunmi
Mary Adewunmi

The AACR Annual Meeting provided excellent connections to the right people that have indirectly led me to where I am today and informed me where I could be in the future. During the meeting, I saw different possibilities I can explore in finding better ways to diagnose and treat cancer. At the time of the meeting, I was seeking a scholarship for my PhD. Today, I am a fully funded medical PhD student at the University of Tasmania in Hobart, Australia, specializing in colon cancer and artificial intelligence. GSITA assisted me in announcing my PhD proposal to the world, and before I realized it, I received much desired scholarships that will help me complete my doctoral degree. 

As I watched some of my fellow researchers receive NextGen Awards, I was inspired to start a group called CaresAI, a group of early-career AI engineers, bioinformaticians, and medical doctors coming together from different nations to carry out cancer research utilizing AI and bioinformatics pathways. My hope is that perhaps some future NextGen stars will emerge from our collaborative efforts (never say never!).  

My home country has influenced my career in both good and adverse ways. I believe Nigeria is perceived negatively by some countries; as a result, I was refused several visa permits for significant presentations. I am hopeful that my experience with the GSITA program will help expand my knowledge as a cancer researcher, but also, the world’s awareness of the potential that exists in the Nigerian scientific community. 

Delfin Lovelina Francis, MDS 
PhD student, India 

Delfin Frances
Delfin Lovelina Francis, MDS

My AACR Annual Meeting attendance was an excellent experience that gave new direction to my research. The extent of scientific sessions and poster presentations were fantastic. The networking and the contacts we received is nothing I can express in words. My most memorable experience during the meeting was attending the Women In Cancer Research roundtable, an event which gave me more confidence and courage to advance my career beyond barriers. This conference attendance served to be a turning point in my professional life, providing me with more connections to guide, share, and design my future in a global platform. I know that this opportunity will open more doors for me in the future.  
Since the meeting,  I have continued to connect with GSITA over Slack to keep up our spirits and get updated in research opportunities. Our GSITA group has become a family, motivating each other and growing science every day. 

Marijana Pavlović, PhD 
Research associate, Serbia 

Marijana Pavlovic
Marijana Pavlovic, PhD

Attending the AACR Annual Meeting 2022 was an excellent experience that will play an important role in my career path. Being a freshly started postdoctoral researcher at the time of the AACR Annual Meeting, I was determined to attend all the sessions concerned with my project on pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma. As a GSITA awardee, I was able to attend very insightful professional development sessions and social events that allowed me to meet many great researchers.

The most precious part of the GSITA award for me was the visit to the Louisiana Cancer Research Center, where a professor approached me at my poster and, after a short talk about my research, proposed a collaboration. Doing scientific research in a middle-income country has many challenges, especially in terms of financial support for attending international conferences, which makes this award even more important for me. I would encourage early-career researchers, especially PhD students, to apply for the GSITA award; this priceless experience may open many doors for future career goals but for sure will inspire you to do more cancer research. 

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Hassan M. Abushukair 
MD student, Jordan 

Hassan Abushukair
Hassan M. Abushukair

Attending the Annual Meeting was a pivotal point for my career. On one hand, you have exposure to cutting-edge research developed by world-renowned scientists. On the other hand, you have the benefit of personalized career development, whether it be through official events or small talk with peers and senior scientists at sessions, or even while waiting in line for coffee. As a medical student from a developing country aspiring to become a physician-scientist, the Annual Meeting was the perfect opportunity for me to establish my focus on translational cancer research. Through networking at the meeting, I was able to connect with incredibly talented peers and senior researchers. Some of those interactions have flourished into current research projects, mentorship opportunities, and a research internship spot in the U.S., which I was able to begin two months after the meeting. To say the least, the GSITA program gave me more than I ever hoped for, and now it is my duty to give back this insight to my community.  

Rahul Kumar 
PhD student, India 

Rahul Kumar
Rahul Kumar

I am sincerely grateful for the honor of receiving the GSITA award. GSITA made it possible for young investigators from countries having limited resources to attend the Annual Meeting and gave us a platform to meet brilliant scientists from all across the globe and discuss their work and culture. This will have a big influence on my research and career.

The GSITA Meet and Greet session was very helpful in network building with other GSITA awardees. I also found the professional advancement session extremely helpful, providing us excellent guidance on chooosing the right career from where we can sail our boat. The meeting also connected me with resources on grant writing and awards for researchers from low or middle-income nations. Right now, I am about to finish my graduation and the guidance we received at the Annual Meeting on finding a suitable postdoc position helped me navigate the application process. I’ve finally shared my experience in my home institute, and doing so has increased my professional influence. 

Michelle Guevara Nieto, MSc 
PhD student, Colombia 

Michelle Guevara Nieto
Michelle Guevara Nieto, MSc

Attending the Annual Meeting provided me with the environment to discuss my work with other experts in the field, initiate future collaborations, and receive feedback that has impacted my research strategy. As a GSITA awardee, I had the privilege to attend professional advancement sessions that offered me the opportunity to interact directly with top researchers and visit the Louisiana Cancer Research Center, an NCI-designated Cancer Center. I had the chance to talk and interact with professors, particularly about do’s and don’ts for early-stage investigators like me. The AACR Annual Meeting was a unique opportunity to achieve my goal of networking and plan my next stage after finishing my PhD. This award gave me resources and expertise that are much more difficult to access in my home country, Colombia. These resources are so valuable as I navigate the path to a successful career in cancer research.  

Pablo Antonio Sanchis 
PhD student, Argentina 

Pablo Sanchis
Pablo Antonio Sanchis

The AACR has always been an inspirational organization for me and my lab in Argentina, but I did not truly understand the depth of the AACR until I got the GSITA award, which allowed me to attend the Annual Meeting 2022. Participating in an international meeting, surrounded with more than 15,000 scientists from all over the world, with shared efforts in decoding cancer complexity, integrating science, and transforming patient outcomes was a unique experience that definitely helped me to fine-tune my career path. I have no doubts that it will continue to shape my work. The collaborative environment, the networking hubs, the fruitful poster discussions, and the professional advancement sessions, where I listened to scientific leaders and early career researchers, have been a motivational engine to set up my short- and medium-term objectives. I returned from the conference very inspired and eager to discover new things and continue contributing to the field from my home country. 

Barbara Paranhos Coelho, PhD 
Postdoctoral research fellow, Brazil 

Barbara Paranhos Coelho
Barbara Paranhos Coelho, PhD

Receiving a GSITA award to attend the 2022 Annual Meeting expanded my awareness of the many career opportunities that I can pursue, not only in my home country, but also around the world. In addition to listening to experts in the field, I was able to network with peers and begin collaborations. The professional and career advancement sessions were inspirational and motivated me to keep working toward my goals as a cancer researcher. Overall, it was an amazing experience and I look forward to attending future AACR Annual Meetings.