Sponsorship Highlights

Sponsorship Highlights: SSE Sponsorship Highlight: Evolution 2019 Travel Awards for Brazilian Researchers

Contributed by kjm34 on Aug 23, 2019 - 08:52 PM

Due to a budget surplus from the Evolution 2015 meeting in Guarujá, Brazil, this year the tri-societies (SSE, ASN, and SSB) were able to offer US$500 travel stipends to 20 Brazilian researchers to attend Evolution 2019 in Providence, RI. Continue reading to hear from some of the recipients about what this funding meant to them.

"This year I received the Travel Award for Brazilian Researchers to attend Evolution 2019. Brazilian budgets for science have been receiving huge cuts and this is a difficult time to do science here. This travel award clearly helped me to present part of my Postdoctoral project during the meeting, a study focusing on linking micro and macroevolution. I had the unique opportunity to receive really nice feedback coming from both micro and macroevolutionary biologists, something that is only possible in a meeting such as Evolution. I also had the opportunity to talk about prospective postdoctoral positions with many researchers, including one that became my future advisor. I had such a great time during the meeting and hopefully I will be at Cleveland in 2020!" - Laura Alencar

“It was already difficult for young researchers to get funding for international conferences from Brazilian agencies, but this year it was an impossible task. I would definitely not be able to attend the Evolution 2019 meeting in Providence without an SSE travel award. Even though it covered only half of my expenses, it made a great difference. I am so glad I was able to spend some of my personal savings to attend it because I am sure I got the most out of it! ... I was able to network with researchers from all around the world and explore future collaborations. And last but not least, I learned a lot from all the great talks and posters showing the cutting-edge research done by the Evolution meeting community. I am already looking forward to the next one!” - Luciana Resende-Moreira (pictured left)

“Attending Evolution 2019 was the best conference experience so far in my short career as a scientist. It was my first Evolution and I had a great time attending many inspiring talks and talking with incredible and kind scientists from around the world. It felt like home due to the efforts to make everyone feel comfortable and safe. Besides the scientific exchange, perhaps this was the greatest lesson: in a world in which many walls have been created, Evolution 2019 tore them all down to show how integrative science can be. However, as a PhD student in a country that is strangling science and education budgets, my participation wouldn't have been possible if I hadn't received a travel grant. I'm really thankful for having had this amazing opportunity to reinforce how inspiring and fascinating biological evolution is.” - Luiz Henrique Varzinczak

“I am grateful to the SSE for the travel award to attend the Evolution meeting in Providence, Rhode Island. As a Brazilian scientist I am aware of the importance of having funds for meetings and collaborations which make an enormous difference in our work. Attending the meeting allowed me to present a talk titled “Testing the main Amazonian rivers as a barrier across time and space within widespread taxa”, which is part of my PhD work. Besides the presentation, the meeting sessions also provided an excellent opportunity to connect with old and new colleagues, collaborators and friends. I also learned so much with all the amazing talks. Overall, the meeting was so much fun and incredibly stimulating. I can’t wait for the next one.” -  Renata Pirani (pictured right)

"Attending Evolution is always exciting. The possibility to talk about my work with world's highest experts in my field (and especially seeing that they are just as human as me) made both myself and my work more mature. Also, as a person who suffers from mild anxiety and severe imposter syndrome, having my ideas and results cause such good impressions on the people that visited my poster certainly lifted my spirit! Before registering, I found out that there would be another conference in Europe following Evolution (the joy and the pain of working on the interface between two areas...). However, the budget for science and technology in Brazil has suffered severe cuts in the past years. The funding from SSE has allowed me not only to attend to go to Providence, but also allowed me to use my personal funding to attend to the conference in Europe. I returned home overwhelmed with the experience, and full of good feedback and new ideas. Lastly, I must give a shout out to the three societies (SSE, SSB and ASN) for being role models on how to organize meetings, especially regarding providing a safe, supportive environment for everyone. Looking forward to seeing you in Cleveland next year!" - Gustavo Burin

"Receiving the travel award for Brazilian researchers enabled me to take part in the Evolution meeting for the first time. I was amazed by the number of attendees and by the friendly and comfortable atmosphere of the event. I thank SSE for the opportunity to get in touch with researchers from all over the world, watch several great talks, and discuss preliminary results from my recently started postdoc with people working on similar topics. Indeed, the participation at Evolution 2019 strongly enriched my current study on ecological speciation and inspired me for some future projects. Hope to join the next Evolution and meet you all again!" - Bárbara Leal

“I just started my PhD this year and I was already able to participate in a huge conference as Evolution, only due this award. This was an excellent opportunity for me to share my work and have a lot of feedback from so many prominent researchers after my poster presentation about “Evolution of facial color patterns in didelphid marsupials”. I had the chance to meet and begin collaborations with professors that I only knew from the papers. Besides, I also volunteered as an “EvoAlly” and learned how to help and act for a safe environment during a conference, and I’m planning to apply this knowledge in the next event with a code of conduct. This was a great meeting with a lot of learning and I’m looking forward to attending the next one!” - Gabby Guilhon (pictured left)

"This was my first Evolution Meeting, and I only had the chance to attend due to the "Travel Award for Brazilian Researchers". My experience was the best ever! During my participation in the event, I did a workshop about "Science Communication" with one of the most experts in this field (Dr. Jory P. Weintraub from Duke University), in which I learned different strategies to improve the communication of my work. Also, I attended a variety of talks from which I expanded and updated my knowledge about evolution. Furthermore I presented my research about “Cestodes Mitogenomics” and it was a valuable experience, since a lot of researchers came to talk and change experiences, increasing my network. I would like to thank the SSE for the award and the Evolution Meeting 2019 community for this incredible experience." - Bruna Trevisan

"It was my first Evolution Meeting and the first international event that I could go to. I received the Award for Brazilian Researchers and I did a crowdfunding to help with the travel cost and, luckily, I received funding from my University to help me to participate. I never thought that I could participate in this event, I live in Brazil and now we are fighting against the science attacks and the cuts in the funding budgets for students. We are living in dark days without hope and future, but the Evolution Meeting experience shows me that we can’t lose our hope,. I was introduced to great studies, incredible people, and many talks that helped me to understand more about evolution. I loved the experience, and the SSE team. I felt the love that they put into the event, and I really hope that I can go in a future event. Thank you very much for everything." - Érica Souza

“Participating in Evolution 2019 was a good opportunity to learn more about the state-of-the-art of evolutionary biology. The immersive experience of the conference allowed me to talk one-on-one to people from different geographical regions who share interests with me. Also, it allowed me to talk with people working on areas beyond my field, providing me with a more integrated understanding of evolution and of the methodologies we use to access it. During the meeting, I presented results from my PhD studies. The feedback I got from the audience was very valuable! The faculty-student networking lunch and the workshops were also fruitful spaces for professional growth. I am very thankful to SSE for the sponsorship they offered me for participating in this event. As Brazilian biodiversity and science are currently under political attack, this kind of initiative helps us keep up the good work during the obscurantist wave. I also would like to thank all the conference attendees: you made Evolution 2019 great!” - Cecilia Fiorini

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