Hope College sophomore Paulina Kozan of Harwood Heights, Illinois, received recognition both before and during this year’s Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS), held in Anaheim, California, on Wednesday-Saturday, Nov. 13-16.

In advance of the conference, she received a travel award from the American Society for Microbiology (ASM), which manages the event, that provided support for her hotel stay. During the conference, she received a poster-presentation award for her research titled “Sex Difference in Ethanol Conditioned Place Preference in Mice.”

A neuroscience major on the pre-MD track, Kozan conducts her research in the laboratory of Dr. Phillip Rivera, who is an assistant professor of biology at Hope. In the spring of 2019, she was named the Koeppe-Kolean Scholar, receiving support to continue doing summer research for 10 weeks, after returning from a May Term in Puebla, Mexico. Earlier this fall, Kozan also attended and presented her summer’s work at the national Society for Neuroscience 2019 conference in Chicago, Illinois.

A total of six Hope students and three members of the college’s faculty attended ABRCMS. In addition to Kozan, the students were:  Erick Alvarado, a sophomore neuroscience major from Holland; Taylor Calloway, a junior electrical engineering major from Chicago; Gonzalo Moya, a junior neuroscience major from Buenos Aires, Argentina; Alondra Villanueva, a senior psychology major from Chicago; and Anna Vostrizansky, a junior biology major from Dewitt. Four of these students presented their research during the conference, where they also participated in professional development, post-college opportunities and networking.

The faculty participants were Dr. Gerald Griffin, who is the associate provost at Hope as well as a member of the biology and psychology faculty, Dr. Phillip Rivera, who is an assistant professor of biology, and Vanessa Greene, who is the associate dean of students and director for diversity and inclusion at Hope. Griffin was selected to be a concurrent speaker and gave a presentation regarding his research “Catching Anxiety: The Impact of HSV-1 on Animal Behavior.” Rivera, who also received a travel award, judged poster sessions throughout the conference.

First held in 2001, the ABRCMS was founded to encourage minority, first-generation, veteran and disabled students to pursue higher education in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields, and today is one of the largest professional conferences for underrepresented students.  This year, more than 2,500 students from more than 350 colleges and universities representing 12 STEM disciplines participated.

The ASM is the largest single life-science society, composed of more than 30,000 scientists and health professionals.  ASM’s mission is to promote and advance the microbial sciences.

Pictured from left to right are Hope faculty, staff and students who attended the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students in November:  Front Row, Vanessa Greene (associate dean of students and director of the Center for Diversity and Inclusion), Anna Vostrizansky, Paulina Kozan, Alondra Villanueva, Taylor Calloway and Dr. Gerald Griffin (associate provost, and biology and psychology faculty); Back Row, Dr. Phillip Rivera (assistant professor of biology), Erick Alvarado and Gonzalo Moya.