Meeting Testimonies

Below are testimonies from past Southern Section 2020 Meetings.  If you wish to add your thoughts here, please contact the section leadership.



Kathryn Lankford
Doctoral Candidate, History of Science and Medicine
Department of History
Michigan State University
I had the pleasure of presenting with Darryel Wilson at SS-ASPB my last semester of undergraduate study. Though I transitioned to history of science and medicine for my Ph.D., the experience of presenting at SS-ASPB prepared me for the demands and joys of graduate school. Submitting an abstract, drafting the poster, and presenting the research acquainted me with the patterns of academic life and professional conferences. Collegial, yet probing questions, from fellow SS-ASPB attendees taught me to be receptive to constructive criticism and suggestions. As a student working to finish a dissertation, knowing that there will always be comments for improvement has facilitated the process. Last, SS-ASPB assists me in my professional work as an academic advisor. I routinely work with natural science undergraduates conducting research. By sharing my own experiences at SS-ASPB, I help them to demystify and be prepared for their eventual introduction to conferences.
Phillip Grovenstein
Georgia State University, Perimeter College

While attending the Southern Sectional of The American Society of Plant Biologists (SS-ASPB), in 2011 and 2012, I was an undergraduate and graduate student, respectively. I had the exciting opportunity to present my lab’s research on chlorophyll biosynthesis in the model green micro-alga, Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. I met students and professors from around the region, who were undertaking fascinating research. It was inspiring to learn about the novel studies conducted in the region, and I was proud to share my work and be a part of this organization. It invigorated my love of science and plant biology. I took that inspiration back with me to work hard, continuing my research and studies in biology. Also, I was able to refine and improve my presentation skills conveying scientific information by attending the SS-ASPB meetings. This helped me later in my career at Algenol Biotech, where we were using cyanobacteria to produce biofuels. I often had to communicate with different colleagues and upper management, how various projects and tasks were progressing. Now, I continue to implement this skill at Georgia State University, Perimeter College. Daily, I must convey complex scientific principles and concepts to non-biology majors and allied-health majors. Attending the SS-ASPB meeting in 2011 and 2012 was indeed an honor and contributed to my career and success in many ways.

Aniruddha Acharya

Ph.D. candidate (Environmental and Evolutionary Biology)

University of Louisiana at Lafayette

I had an excellent experience in the 2018 annual SS-ASPB meeting. It was my first time attending the SS-ASPB conference and I presented a poster. The attendees were from very diverse research backgrounds and at first it was overwhelming, perhaps intimidating to absorb the high quality of science presented in the conference. However, as I started interacting with several students, post-docs and professors it gave me a sense of direction and clarity towards my academic path. I think the meeting is the most credible, authentic and complete source to get acquainted with the latest plant science research and build network in the south of the United States of America. The short talks and poster sessions gave me an opportunity to update myself and get acquainted with the focus area of different principal investigators and their lab members. In short, it was a great learning experience! However, the best part of the conference was the rare opportunity it gave me to interact and build network and support groups with peers, professors, scientists and industry representative in a friendly and supportive environment. I am looking forward to attending it again in 2020.
Blake Cleckler

Research Associate

University of West Alabama

Of all of the positive factors that I have experienced while being a part of plant biology research, the Southern Section-American Society of Plant Biologists meeting may be at the top of this list. There is not enough that can be said about the influence and comradery felt when attending the annual meetings. Students and professionals, alike benefit greatly from the information sharing, networking, collaborations, lifelong friendships, and professional encouragement and development that this assembly generates. I personally have always looked forward to this meeting each year and view it somewhat as a good family reunion. The sectional meetings have the perfect sized number of attendees that allow for an intimate felt experience, rather than a large national sized meeting. Being a part of such a prestigious group of research scientists is one of the key reasons that I love the work that I do.