The slot canyon design in the new Environment and Natural Resources 2 Building is a quiet place in the mornings. Just after sunrise, I took in the cool air, the shaded rocks, the crunch of soft gravel under my feet… and smiled knowing that this place would soon be filled with activity and excitement.
At noon, the 27th Annual UBRP Conference started off with a bang. Excited students flew in with colorful posters. Proud friends, family members, and mentors strolled the courtyard. I made my rounds and was greeted with the sights and sounds of 5-year-olds laughing as tarantulas tickled their palms, parents marveling at cups overflowing with foaming blue stuff and the intricacies of shark anatomy, guests enjoying full plates of hors d’oeurves, and students attempting to calm their nerves with free 5-minute backrubs, courtesy of the visiting Arizona Stressbusters.
At 1:00PM, Dr. Mounir Koussa, a UBRP alumnus, gave a fascinating and inspiring keynote talk on his life story, his scientific work, and his new company, Lumio Health, Inc. Entitled “Probably … Everything Will Be OK,” Dr. Koussa’s talk focused on appreciation: appreciation of people who have supported us on the journey of life, appreciation of the intricacies of science (the biochemical basis for the human sense of hearing is amazing!), and appreciation for being able to make the most of the opportunities we have in life.
Students, energized by the talk, literally ran to their posters when the time for presentations arrived. Over 300 attendees learned about the research endeavors of more than 130 poster presenters, representing work done at the University of Arizona, Northern Arizona University, and Arizona Western College.
The conference concluded with well-deserved congratulations. At the UBRP Awards Ceremony, Dr. Kristian Doyle and Kim Lance were recognized as 2015 Outstanding UBRP Mentors, and the students who presented posters were given certificates and gift cards for their participation. And on a fitting final note, the winner of our autographed basketball turned out to be Becca Van Sicker, program coordinator for the NSCS/UBRP Summer Research Program!
We hope you enjoyed the conference, and look forward to celebrating 28 years of UBRP with you at next year’s conference in January 2017! For more pictures of the conference (including individual pictures of poster presenters), please visit the List of Abstracts and Photo Gallery at https://ubrp.arizona.edu/conferences/27th-annual-conference/.
Photos courtesy of Cathy Tran and Julie Huynh