2018 New Tech Professional Development Grant Testimonials


Following my attendance at Microbe 2018 in Atlanta with the support of the New Tech Professional Development Grant, I found myself thinking of three main ways in which I felt I benefitted from this program.

First and foremost, I felt the interactions with both my own mentor, William Glover, as well as the other mentors and mentees were among the best features of this program. As someone who had never been to a scientific conference, let alone one as big as Microbe, I know that I would have found the entire weekend daunting and probably would not have gotten as much out of it as I did with William's guidance in navigating all the different components. Additionally, I really enjoyed hearing about the experiences of the other mentees in their laboratories and how they got to the point they were currently at. Since the Minnesota Department of Health tends to hire mid or late-career bench technologists after they have already been working in a clinical laboratory, attending Microbe allowed me to interact with the other new technologists in a way I previously hadn't been able to. This in turn has changed the way I interact with clinical laboratories when results aren't reported to MDH correctly or specimens haven't been sent since I feel I now have a better understanding of how clinical laboratories have to process things and how that sometimes does not translate seamlessly into the systems of public health partners.

The second aspect of Microbe and the New Tech Professional Grant that I felt was beneficial was the opportunity to build connections and network. While I knew other individuals from my laboratory who were in attendance, I was able to interact with a multitude of other attendees in large part because William was amazing at introducing me to all of his connections we ran into over the course of the weekend. Beyond this, he also sought out and introduced me to the laboratory directors he knew in Columbus, OH that he felt would be beneficial connections as I transition to Ohio State to pursue a graduate degree which I greatly appreciated as I intend to reach out to them later this fall once I have had a chance to get established and settle down.

Finally, attending Microbe through this grant program introduced me to ways in which I can become more involved in ASM which I did not previously know about after having been a student member for the past 4 years. Hearing about all the different committees and programs both during the Division C meeting and from my interactions with the various mentors actually resulted in me doing some further research on the available opportunities after the conference and I hope to increase my involvement in ASM in the coming years as I progress further along in my career.

Overall, attending ASM Microbe for the first time through this program was without a doubt one of the best experiences I have had to both expand my knowledge of clinical and public health microbiology beyond my focus of enteric bacteria and I would like to thank the Mentoring Committee for selecting me as one of their 2018 grantees.




My experience at ASM 2018 was priceless. I feel so grateful for the opportunity to have gone to ASM and have met so many bright current and future leaders. ASM connected me with fellow microbiologist from all over the country that I look forward to keeping in touch with. My time in Atlanta ignited a new flame for me and showed me avenues of Microbiology that I would never have had insight to. It allowed me to see all of the new technology first hand, and bring back a lot of very pertinent information to my own lab team.  Getting to interact closely with so many different peers, all with direct ties to a common interest was more than I could have imagined. If I could describe my total experience in one word I would have to say overwhelming, in the best way. It took me a good couple of weeks to reflect and look back at all of my experiences during my time at ASM2018.  The seminars and layout were very well planned and easy to navigate, and the speakers were all so great and provided amazing information.  Overall I would recommend ASM to any one of my colleges and peers, and I will continue to support ASM as an active member.




Getting to go ASM Microbe was a great experience.  The symposium was informative and engaging.  My mentor was able to introduce me to many of the vendors, who then explained all of their new technology to me.  She also gave me guidance in climbing the career ladder as a technologist.  I was able to network with many people and learn more about other labs through talking to the other mentees.  I learned a lot of new information and am excited to take it back to my laboratory.  This experience has made me more engaged in my chosen profession.




The experience at the conference was truly inspiring. Though, I have been around microbiologists daily for the past 3 years, being around so many of them from all over the nation was extraordinary. It was enriching to exchange knowledge about procedures and bench experiences with peers. It was also comforting to find out we shared similar hurdles. Beyond the clinical bench and its diverse applications, I discovered new areas of scientific research as well as what can be achieved in the world field microbiology and education. It was an incredible professional opportunity to network and to make connections in addition to building up my continuing education bank.  Unexpectedly, I got to learn about ASM as an organization and about its advocacy. It made me curious to learn even more about it and to find a way in the future to be involved at my local chapter beyond event participation. I have come back to the bench with an even greater passion for the field and I look forward to going back to my next ASM conference.




Attending ASM Microbe as a travel grant award winner was an unforgettable experience. I met so many exceptional members of the microbiology community, including my mentor, Debra Myers.  I attended several fascinating sessions, and I learned so much that I cannot wait to share with my friends and co-workers.  The opening session and the keynote address in particular were the highlights of the conference.  I was also thrilled to see the latest in lab automation in action as well as attend two industry events that featured these innovations.  Atlanta was beautiful and so vibrant, and I cannot wait to attend Microbe 2019 in San Francisco!




Thank you Clinical Microbiology Mentoring Committee,

Attending a conference of this magnitude was a professional dream of mine, and you made is happen for me! At ASM Microbe 2018, I experienced a level of camaraderie and interconnectedness across the entire scope of microbiological careers that was unlike anything I could have expected. I found an unparalleled amount of support, not only from other technologists, but also from professionals in every corner of the field. Working in such an exclusive section of a hospital laboratory, you tend to forget that there are many others that go through the same ups and downs, leaps and losses, and learning curves that your own laboratory goes through.  There is a mass of support out there, and learning this means everything to me. I was lucky enough to spend my time with Dr. Kevin Alby, who has had a lasting impact on me and inspired me to continue to become a better technologist, student, teacher, and above all a better leader.

Best wishes,




The ASM microbe 2018 conference was exceptionally organized, vastly informative, and overall, a great experience for me as a first time attendee. I was very fortunate to have a mentor- Marie Pezzlo, who went above and beyond to help me navigate through the different sessions. There is no doubt in my mind that Marie is genuinely dedicated towards mentorship because she did everything that she possible could to make sure that I was getting the most out of the conference. Furthermore, I also had the opportunity to interact with other mentors as well as my fellow mentees who were new bench technologists. These interactions provided me with very useful information regarding how different labs across the country approach clinical microbiology. I was able to take a lot of information back to my manager regarding ideas to improve workflow and instrumentation. Furthermore, the conference was very inspirational with regards to the speakers for the opening session as well as the keynote address. There were two things that I recall vividly about these two sessions. The first was being greatly impressed by Dr. Prakash's ingenious creation and utilization of simple creative tools to make microbiology more accessible. The second was the profound humility and humbleness of Dr. Schuchat, who possessed impeccable leadership skills and abilities. Last but not least, I honestly feel like I gained so much more knowledge about clinical microbiology by attending the plenary sessions, exhibit and poster sessions, and the industry and science showcases. I was truly left in awe by this conference, and I hope to continue attending every year moving forward as a participant and better yet, I hope to be a mentor for a new bench technologist so that they may gain as much from this conference as I did.




I would like to thank the award committee on selecting me. I learnt a lot at ASM and I was inspired the more. Pre-ASM I was undecided about the next step to take in my career. As I sat in the large conference room and listened to Dr. Anne Schuchat key note address, I had confirmation of pursuing a Master's degree in Public health: Epidemiology. Interesting topics that I also learnt a lot from was about NGS, Dimorphic molds, best practices in Mycology, Parasitology and Bacteriology. Overall it was a great networking experience.





I am honored to have been one of the recipients of the ASM New Tech Development award for 2018. Thanks to the generosity of CMMS and their sponsors, I was able to attend ASM Microbe 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia under the guidance of an appointed mentor. The experience has positively impacted my career through the advice I received from my mentor, the opportunity for networking it provided, and how much I learned about what is happening in the field of microbiology.

ASM Microbe was the first career conference I've attended as a CLS. Having a mentor to guide me during the meeting helped me to make the most of what could have been an overwhelming experience. Speaking to him about my current position and what opportunities were available to me helped me to understand where my passions lie and how I can go about shaping a fulfilling career in microbiology. Having him as a resource was invaluable.

A meeting on this scale brings together the best and brightest from all over the country and gave me the chance to meet many prominent people whose work interests me. I was able to shake hands and ask questions of scientists whose names I had only seen listed as authors of posters and papers. Sharing the experience with my fellow mentees has allowed me to see what being a new tech is like in different parts of the country and has tied me into a network of peers. I was able to make introductions that I hope will foster my education and lead to collaborations in the future.

Attending ASM Microbe was educational in a multitude of ways. I attended talks on a variety of subtopics from the historical impact of Spanish Flu to how to speak about scientific findings in an approachable way. I walked through the poster session section of the floor to see what other microbiologists were working on. I spoke with representatives from companies about their latest technology and test offerings. I witnessed demonstrations of automation equipment and various machines that I may be working with in the future.

I'm truly grateful to CMMS for selecting me for the ASM New Tech Development award. Attending ASM Microbe 2018 was a truly rewarding experience. The career advice I received, the networking it facilitated, and the educational experiences fostered by the award have brought me a better understanding of my chosen field and how I can positively contribute to it. The experience has sparked in me an interest in industry research science. I'm looking into enrolling in a master's program and will start submitting posters and abstracts to build a more research oriented resume. Thank you for enabling this opportunity.