2022 Student Scholarship Winner: Brette Poliakiwski

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Published on: December 6, 2022

I would like to thank the scholarship committee for giving me the opportunity to attend the 2022 AETA/CETA joint annual meeting. The AETA/CETA joint annual meeting was not just a learning opportunity for me; this meeting also provided me the opportunity to network and establish connections with professionals in the field from around the world. This meeting provided many opportunities for members to attend social events throughout the meeting and, therefore, made it possible to meet and communicate with individuals who were actively interested in my research, professional development, and goals. It was through these conversations that I developed numerous research ideas, goals for my future career, and worthy relationships that will assist me in the future. One prime example of this was the student–mentor lunch, as it was a valuable networking tool that allowed me to develop more of a personal relationship with some of the mentors.

There was always something I took away from every presentation, whether it involved the scientific content, different ways to organize data, or simply how to structure a scientific talk for a technical audience. Prior to attending the meeting, I felt I had a good base understanding of the embryo technology field. However, through this meeting, I learned that there is still much more knowledge for me to gain. For example, growing up on a dairy farm, I had a good understanding of beef on dairy, but it was not until the presentation, “Beef Embryos on Dairy,” that I truly understood the numbers of why and how implementing beef can increase the profits of a dairy operation. In addition, the numerous presentations on different ovum pickup protocols regarding the usage of FSH were highly informative, as I can apply this knowledge to my current studies and future work. Hearing the scientific data presented at the convention triggered me to think critically about my current data and aided me to design future research projects in my line of work.

Another specific session I enjoyed was the “Student and Technician” session because we discussed tips and tricks for a successful bovine embryo collection and transfer as well as how to troubleshoot when things do not go as planned. This session was a nonformal discussion, which allowed trainees to interact with one another, explain the diverse ways we have been taught, and review what is right vs what is wrong. I also appreciated the open-ended conversations after each presentation, since I felt the advice from not only the presenter but from the professionals within the audience was highly engaging.

Being in my second year of my PhD, I am continually going back and forth on whether I want to pursue either industry or academia. This meeting provided me with great insight into both avenues, as I was able to discuss potential opportunities in academia with professors at numerous universities around the United States. I was also able to communicate with some of the leading businesses in the reproductive field and discuss the opportunities that a reproductive physiologist could have. This meeting taught me that no matter which profession I choose, I need to be involved in an active learning and educational environment, such as the AETA.

Brette Poliakiwski

Texas A&M University

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