The Academy of Aphasia has always fostered a strong environment to encourage the participation of junior and student investigators. Conference attendance has averaged 161 participants each year (between 137-227 over the last five years) of which approximately 30% are graduate students or post-doctoral research associates (see Table 1).
Table 1. Student participant breakdown over the last five years of the conference
In addition, for the past 13 years, the Academy of Aphasia conference program committee has awarded a refereed annual student prize to the best student research in order to promote exceptional research by young scientists. Since 2011, the Academy has also piloted a formal mentoring program. Selected mentor/mentee pairs interact at poster sessions or after platform sessions and at an informal lunch about careers in academia, research, publishing, and grant funding. The mentor and mentee have opportunities to discuss the student’s specific research project and/or research and careers in academia in general. Feedback from mentees has indicated that this mentoring was a very valuable networking experience and has helped increase their interest in pursuing a career in science and research (see Table 2 for summary pairings of investigators in previous years).
Table 2. Pairings of mentors and mentees over the last few years
|Year 1 (2011) Mentee-Mentor||Year 2 (2012) Mentee-Mentor||Year 3 (2013) Mentee-Mentor||Year 4 (2014) Mentee-Mentor|
|Elena Pisteri (University of Trento) - Brenda Rapp (Johns Hopkins)||Annalisa Bennatelo (Temple University) -|
Roelien Bastiaanse (University Groningen)
|Laura Bos (University of Groningen) - Michael Dickey (University of Pittsburgh)||Stacey Rimikis (NYU) - Michael Dickey (University of Pittsburgh)|
|Alison Hilger (University of Colorado) - Loraine Obler (CUNY)||Lista Cheimariou (University of Iowa) - Dan Kempler (Emerson College)||Heather Dial (Rice University) - Swathi Kiran (Boston University)||Arianna P. Morgart (University of Iowa) - Brenda Rapp (Johns Hopkins)|
|Sophia Van Hees (University of Sydney) - Elizabeth Rochon (University of Toronto)||Teresa Gray (Boston University) - Loraine Obler (CUNY)||Rahel Schumacher (University of Bern) - Cindy Thompson (Northwestern University)||Emma K. Hughes
(University of Bangor, Wales)
Yasmeen Faroqi-Shah (University of Maryland)
|Sofia Vallila (MIT) - Gail Ramsberger (University of Colorado)||Jim Kloet (Northwestern University) - Eva Kehayia (McGill University)||Teresa Schubert (Johns Hopkins University) - David Caplan (Harvard Medical School)||Edith Durand (University of Montreal) - Roy Hamilton (University of Pennsylvania|
|Sandra Hanne (University of Potsdam) - Cindy Thompson (Northwestern University)||Sarah Villard (Boston University) - Brenda Rapp (Johns Hopkins University)|
|Monika Knoph (University of Oslo) - Yasmeen Faroqi-Shah (University of Maryland)|
Now in its fifth year, a formal mentoring program between student/post-doc first authors and seasoned researchers will take place during the meeting. Selected mentor/mentee pairs will interact at poster sessions or after platform sessions and at an informal lunch about careers in academia, research, publishing, and grant funding. Please click here to sign up for this mentoring program either as a mentee (junior investigator) or a mentor (senior investigator).