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Graduate Students

Welcome to the Regional Chapter, Special Interest Group, and Specialty Section Graduate Student Representative and GSLC Section!

We encourage all Graduate Students to join SOT and become actively involved as a graduate student representative in a selected Regional Chapter (RC), Special Interest Group (SIG), or Specialty Section (SS). The graduate student programs with RC, SIG, and SS are linked to SOT via the Graduate Student Leadership Committee (GSLC). The GSLC facilitates the scientific and professional development of graduate students through networking, scientific programs, and other SOT activities. These include the development of blogs, ToXchange threads, and other communications directed toward informing and increasing the student membership, the hosting of a popular Student/Postdoctoral Mixer at the Annual Meeting, the organization of mentoring activities such as Chat with an Expert, and a myriad of other programs at both the national and component group level. The student leadership provides important direction through representation on SOT committees and alignment of their programs with SOT national strategic objectives and representation on SOT committees.

About the GSLC

What’s New

Student e-Letter

Winter 2014–2015 Student e-Letter

YouTox Video Challenge!

The YouTox Video Challenge is a competition for students and postdocs to make a video about toxicology, more specifically, what are the positive merits of becoming a professional toxicologist. Videos should be less than six minutes long and those on the YouTox task force will be judging them for creativity, originality, and how well they answer the question, “Why Did I Become a Toxicologist?”

The SOT Graduate Student Leadership Committee (GSLC) is excited to present the winners of the 2014YouTox Video Challenge!

  • 1st place ($300): Valerie Minarchick from West Virginia University. | View the video.
  • 2nd place ($200): Alessandro Venosa from Rutgers University. | View the video.
  • 3rd place ($100): Murli Mishra from the University of Kentucky. | View the video.

The goal of the YouTox Video Challenge is to communicate to the general public the importance of toxicology by answering questions about  topics such as: Who is a toxicologist?, What is it they do?, Why is toxicology research important?, and How does toxicological research occur?

Congratulations to the winning videos for taking very different and creative approaches in tackling some of these topics.

Thank you for your help in spreading the word about this exciting new contest!

View more information about the YouTox Video Challenge.

GSLC Winter 2014 Webinar: Poster Preparation and Presentation

Webinar Recording

We invite you to read this December 2013 Communiqué blog from Dr. Agnes Karmaus:

SOT: A Graduate Student’s Perspective

2014 Outstanding Graduate Student Leadership Committee Award Recipients

Award Recipient Brittany
Baisch and 2013–2014 GSLC Chair Traci Brown

The GSLC Executive Board is pleased to announce the winners of the 2014 Outstanding Graduate Student Leadership Committee Awards: Brittany Baisch, Christin Grabinski and Alessandro Venosa. 

Brittany Baisch served as student representative for the Women in Toxicology (WIT) Special Interest Group (SIG) for the past two years. She has consistently tracked statistics regarding WIT membership and the visibility of women leaders within the SOT. This information has allowed WIT to cater its programming to its membership and to have better-focused recruitment efforts within WIT. Brittany has also served on several subcommittees within WIT, including the Awards Review, Proposal Review and the WIT Endowment Fund subcommittees. She has also authored several articles for the biannual WIT newsletter and has developed ice breaker networking games for the WIT receptions, which are attended by over 150 people each year. Within the GSLC, Brittany has also assisted with planning the Student/Postdoctoral Mixer reception.

She also volunteered as the student representative for the Committee on Diversity Initiatives (CDI) for the past two years. In this role, she recruited and assisted with training over 15 peer mentors each year for the Undergraduate Education Peer Mentoring Program at SOT. She also chaperoned undergraduates in this program and around the annual meeting. Brittany also volunteered externally by doing a CDI-sponsored ToxScholar visit at her alma mater.

Award Recipient Christin Grabinski and 2013–2014 GSLC Chair Traci Brown

Christin (Chrissy) Grabinski served as the Student Representative of the Nanotoxicology Specialty Section from 2012–2014. She demonstrated outstanding leadership during her two-year term by actively participating in leadership meetings and program review activities, in addition to supporting mentoring initiatives within the NTSS. Chrissy contributed to the writing of a proposal for a matching grant to support mentoring initiatives within the NTSS. She was co-organizer of the NTSS Mentor Mentee Match program, where full members were matched with student and postdoctoral members for a mentoring session at the annual Society of Toxicology meeting. This program provided an environment for the exchange of questions and experiences between participants in a casual environment. She was also co-organizer of the networking portion of the NTSS reception held at the annual meeting, where an incentive was offered to encourage interaction between student/postdoc members and associate/full members.

Award Recipient Alessandro Venosa and 2013–2014 GSLC Chair Traci Brown

Alessandro Venosa has been a very enthusiastic and active member of the Toxicology and Exploratory Pathology Specialty Section (TEPSS), and has developed remarkable leadership skills for the past two years. He has worked with diligence, proactively accomplishing all the responsibilities that were expected from the graduate student representative and more. In this instance, he was actively involved in the TEPSS Annual SOT Meeting organization process, and contributed to improve the SS by bringing in the student perspective and making the award submissions process clearer. At the same time, he raised the interest of fellow students at Rutgers University towards the TEPSS which led to the nomination of a postdoctoral fellow from the school as postdoc representative within the SS.


SOT 2014 Annual Meeting Highlights

Attendees at the Mixer

Every year the GSLC hosts the Student/Postdoctoral Mixer for students and postdoctoral fellows to gather, meet new colleagues, and re-establish relationships in an informal atmosphere. The 2014 Mixer was held on Sunday night, March 23, 2014, in the Phoenix Convention Center, and nearly 400 students and postdocs attended. The Mixer is a great opportunity to network with students from across the nation, as well as learn more about the different Regional Chapters (RC), Special Interest Groups (SIG), and Specialty Sections (SS) of SOT. A RC/SIG/SS poster interaction game was enjoyed by over 100 attendees, and prizes were raffled, including an iPad Mini.

The Chat with an Expert (CWAE) program provided a special opportunity for small groups of students and postdoctoral scholars to meet with Associate or Full SOT member Experts to network and gain insight into the field of toxicology over an informal discussion over coffee or snacks. The groups met at the CWAE poster board in the Convention Center at the appointed time and then proceeded to the selected spot for their discussion. For the 2014 Annual Meeting, many graduate students and postdocs signed up for informal meetings with over 100 expert toxicologists. Groups were smaller this year, based on survey feedback from the 2013 CWAE program, resulting in more intimate and fruitful discussions.  Experts were also selected by students and postdocs based on additional background statements provided by the Experts, fostering more beneficial student/postdoc to Expert match-ups.  Feedback on these meetings has been extremely positive and the program will continue in the future. In addition, a few postdocs and graduate students participated in an offshoot program called “Chat with a Postdoc,” where the postdoc serves as the “expert” and informally meets with a graduate student.

Tox ShowDown

SOT’s wildly popular (and just plain wild) Tox ShowDown quiz game this year drew an audience of over 100 toxicologists foaming at the mouth to see teams of their colleagues cut down to size by a series of withering questions.

With “11th hour” replacements filling in for three of the original contestants, and a new Judge (Ed Ohanian, replacing Harry Salem, who had to cancel just days before the event), we cannot declare that the ShowDown went on without a hitch, but we wouldn’t have it any other way. Sponsored by the Graduate Student Leadership Committee (GSLC) this is a game where we expect the unexpected.

While the Endocrine Disruptors (Sarah Lacher, Gary Marchant, Judith T. Zelikoff) and the Toxic Metabolites (Mary Beth Genter, Prathap Kumar, Bill Mattes) put up a good fight, it was the Free Radicals (Traci Brown, Christine Curran, Josh Gray) who emerged from the mayhem as the uncontested winning team (see photo below). Sue Ford’s timekeeping skills were challenged by a timer with its own mind. Holly Hewitt strived to keep score while juggling a rainbow of colored markers. GSLC Secretary Alessandro Venosa struggled valiantly with an uppity laptop. The dusty legal skills of our judge Ed Ohanian were put to the test, and he just squeaked by, we think. The sometime-sober moderator, Phil Wexler, barraged the contestants with questions from hell.

An array of toxicology books (thanks to the generous donations of publishers, Elsevier and Taylor and Francis) were distributed as prizes to all the contestants and the members of the winning team also came away with $75 worth of gift cards. Books and DVDs on the theme of water were presented to the Judge (who helps lead US EPA’s Office of Water).
Several lucky audience members also received books as door prizes and the grand door prize winner, Dahea You, found herself the recipient of an Amazon Kindle Fire, donated by Elsevier.

It is not too early to volunteer to be a contestant next year in San Diego. Yes, good sense notwithstanding, we’re doing it again, folks. One naive SOT member already has committed (or should that be has been committed?). Please send expressions of interest to the GSLC Tox ShowDown organizer, Meghan Cromie

Tox ShowDown experience is just the boost your CV needs.


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