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 Beckman Scholar Symposium for Research Excellence

Friday, April 23, 2021

9:30 A.M. - 4:30 P.M.


All events will take place within a virtual platform. Registrants will receive links to the sessions they plan to attend.


9:30 - 10:15 A.M.

Opening Remarks by Stephanie Stockwell, Ph.D., JMU Biotech Program Director

Alumna Keynote Address by Lisa Brown, Ph.D., JMU Class of 2009, Tempus Labs

Title: “Innovation in Mental Health” Dr. Brown will discuss her journey from JMU to Medical Science Liaison and how mental health played an important role in the journey. She will also discuss the challenges of mental healthcare and how innovation can improve outcomes for patients in this space.

Lisa earned her Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences at Albert Einstein in 2015 studying microbiology and infectious disease with Arturo Casadevall, MD, Ph.D. She then went on to a career in medical affairs by joining Assurex Health/Myriad Neuroscience as a Medical Science Liaison. At Myriad, Lisa managed an international team of MSLs until 2020 when she moved on to Tempus Labs as their first NeuroPsych MSL. Lisa has published multiple book chapters and over a dozen peer-reviewed publications. Lisa is passionate about using science and technology to improve mental healthcare and also has a special interest in psychopharmacomicrobiomics.

10:30 - 11:00 A.M.

Student Keynote Address by Isabel Romov, JMU Beckman Scholar, Wright Lab, Class of 2022

Title: “Towards Fixing a Broken Heart” Muscles of the heart are under consistent mechanical strain while it performs its job of pumping blood throughout the body. Some mutations in heart muscle lead to the heart being unable to withstand this stress, resulting in heart diseases associated with sudden cardiac arrest. The Wright lab focuses on ways we can aid the heart when it possesses these mutations, and Isabel has been specifically focusing on the development of an assay to evaluate potential small molecules that may provide relief for these diseases.

Isabel grew up and went to high school in the Vienna/McLean area of Northern Virginia. She is a current junior, Biotechnology Major and was announced the inaugural Beckman Scholar at the end of her sophomore year in Spring 2020. She has been involved in Delta Gamma at JMU as well as Beta Beta Beta, the Biological Honors Fraternity. Her post-graduation plans are to go to grad school and pursue a Ph.D. in Biochemistry, eventually working for biotechnology companies that aim to study, prevent, and cure debilitating diseases.

11:15 A.M. - 12:00 P.M. Concurrent Sessions

Student Session A: “Passion Plus Purpose: Strategic Extras”

  • Description: Hear directly from a panel of JMU Biotech students about how they have used extra activities such as athletics, student orgs, research, volunteering, internships, study abroad, and minors to enhance their Biotech coursework and advance their careers.
  • Primary audience: Current and prospective JMU students
  • Moderator: Dr. Morgan Steffen; JMU Biology and Biotech-affiliated Faculty Member


Student Session B: “Alumni Resume Roundup”

  • Description: Discover insider tips and tricks for crafting a knock-out resume! During this session, you will be paired with a JMU Alumni or industry partner to receive individualized feedback on your professional resume. Come prepared to share your draft resume with an assigned mentor.
  • Primary audience: Current JMU students on the hunt for new opportunities
  • Moderator: Lindsey Scott from JMU University Career Center


Faculty Session C: “Research Mentor Collaboratory”

  • Description: Come together with faculty colleagues to share insights, challenges, and strategies for impactful mentoring within primarily undergraduate student research labs.
  • Primary audience: JMU faculty working in STEM
  • Moderator: Dr. Stephanie Stockwell; JMU School of Integrated Sciences, Biotech Program Director, in partnership with the JMU Center for Faculty Innovation
12:15 - 12:50 P.M.

Lightning Lunch—Bite-Sized Student Research Talks

  • Description: These fast-paced 5-minute lightning talks by student researchers will give you a taste for some of the diverse and impactful projects going on in JMU Biotech.
  • Primary audience: Prospective and current students
  • Moderator: Dr. Ray Enke; JMU Biology and Biotech-affiliated Faculty Member

JMU Biology Departmental Seminar

Dr. Karina Alvina, Assistant Professor at the University of Florida, College of Medicine


Student-only Session: Breaking Barriers in STEM

  • Description: A diversity, equity, and inclusion roundtable for students, by students
  • Primary audience: Current JMU students only, please. No faculty or outside participants.
  • Moderators: Michael Friedman and Claire Ravenburg; JMU Biotech Class of 2021 and JMU Chapter of the National Organization for Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers (NOCChE)

Student Session A: This is Me! A Career Mapping Studio

  • Description: Adapted from the book You Majored in What? Mapping Your Path from Chaos to Career, creators (that’s you!) will have the opportunity to explore how identity, goals, and careers collide through creating your very own Wandering Map. We will also discuss how your map can play a role in sharing your professional story throughout your career journey. 
  • Primary Audience: Open to students of all levels and artistic abilities! Be sure to “bring” a few of your favorite art supplies including paper, markers, and anything colorful that brings you joy!
  • Moderator: Lindsey Scott from JMU University Career Center


Student Session B: Life After JMU: Biotech Alumni 1-3 Years Out

  • Description: Recent alumni will share their personal journeys as they transitioned beyond JMU and into their professional careers.
  • Primary Audience: Current JMU students looking ahead to graduation, seeking clarity on what it might be like to transition away from “the bubble”
  • Moderator: Kyle Sperber; JMU Biotech Class of 2019


Faculty Session C: Internships Unveiled

  • Description: Hear from a panel of recent Biotech student interns about the experiences and lessons they have learned off-campus.
  • Primary Audience: JMU Faculty Members in STEM
  • Moderator: Ryan Showalter; JMU Biotech Class of 2021 and former Merck & Co. Intern
3:00 - 3:45 P.M.

Communication Hack: Simple Ways to Boost Your Everyday Science Advocacy Game

  • Description: Explore some basic communication strategies to help you connect with family, friends, and colleagues over what could be some touchy science-informed topics.
  • Facilitator: Dr. Paul Mabrey from the JMU Communication Center, with help from Biotech student and faculty “actors”
3:50 - 4:30 P.M.

Closing Remarks and JMU Biotech Senior Awards

JMU Biotech Program Director, with help from the Biotech Awards Committee

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