Perhaps you remember the scene in Wayne's World in which our heroes, Wayne and Garth, decide to sell the rights to their public access TV program for the tidy sum of $5000. They proceed to dance around Wayne's basement singing, "We got five thousand DOLL-ARS, we got five thousand DOLL-ARS!" and waving the check in the air. Such was the scene at Chez Laura tonight, when I checked the page for the NextBio travel grant that I applied for earlier this month. I won! Although I only got five hundred dollars. Apparently grad students come cheap, even when compared to fictitious metalheads who live with their moms. (Oh, I kid, I kid.)
NextBio, a life science search engine, was offering three $500 travel grants to MS, MD, and PhD students. I heard about this opportunity from the Emory GDBBS mailing list, proving that it pays to read those mass emails from your department. To apply for the grant, I wrote a one-page essay about how I've used NextBio in my research -- to learn more about that, you can click the link to my essay on the NextBio grants page. While I enjoy getting money, I also find NextBio to be a useful resource (and it's even free! we all know how grad students feel about free...), so I don't mind helping to promote their product. And they're helping me attend the scientific conference of my choice with this grant, which is awfully nice of them. I'd love to go to this year's Society for Neuroscience meeting in Chicago, but we'll have to see what my yet-to-be-chosen adviser thinks of that idea ($500 is awesome, but it won't cover the entire cost, so I'll need some additional sponsorship for the conference registration and travel).
As I am but a fledgling scientist, this is actually the first grant I've ever received. I'm pretty psyched about it, and I can't wait to start looking up conferences to attend (which will be another first for me).
If you'd like to support the organization that gave me $500, or to play around with a cool search tool that is way prettier than PubMed, you should check out NextBio. You can create a profile there that's sort of like a science LinkedIn and use it to save searches and bookmarks on your favorite topics, join groups related to your field, upload projects, and do lots of other stuff. It's also a potential avenue for networking and initiating collaborations with other researchers, which is always a good thing.
If you missed out on applying for this travel grant, contact NextBio and ask them to sponsor more students in the future! After all, when they support students, the students can go to conferences, learn new things, come up with exciting research topics, publish their data, submit the data to NextBio, and the circle becomes complete.
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