A Fear of Drawing

By Hallie Funk

I learned to make comics by drawing first and thinking later. It started when I entered my first class with Lynda Barry. She helped me leap over the barrier that is my adult fear of drawing. I have enjoyed drawing my entire life, but somewhere down the line of growing up, I stopped drawing for myself. I was no longer thinking only of what I thought of my art, but what other people thought of it too. This is not all bad, but I developed a fear that started to swallow up the joy. I developed the fear that my drawings were not good enough.

Lynda Barry, or Professor Mandrake at the time (she goes by many names), helped me overcome my fear by challenging me to confront the hardest part about drawing…  starting. She gave me a felt tip pen (no erasing), a prompt, a short time limit and said GO! It was terrifying… I was in new territory, unable to take back the lines I put down. But soon the fear of my results began to melt away. It seemed silly to worry about the end product because I was drawing in pen under time limits varying from 30 seconds to 5 minutes. I could not expect “perfection” from myself, but I could expect to have a drawing at the end. And sometimes, they were hilarious drawings.

Hallie and Stephanie at the Gaining STEAM! cartooning workshop

Hallie and Stephanie at the Gaining STEAM! cartooning workshop

Suddenly I was having fun again. Once I got over the hump of starting, I would get into a flow and wouldn’t want to stop. Drawing is very wholesome for the soul. I began to let go of this subconscious idea I had in my head that as an artist, everything that I make must attain a certain quality if it is worthy to be deemed and shared as art. I began to see drawing for what it really is… a form of communication that anyone can do. And boi was I having fun communicating. I was for the first time in a long time, telling stories with my art and experiencing joy from it.

Work-in-progress page from the Gaining STEAM! project

Work-in-progress page from the Gaining STEAM! project

Flash-forward to the present, I am currently working on collaborative comic with Stephanie Budge, an Associate Professor in Counseling Psychology and the Director of Advancing Health Equity and Diversity at the University of Wisconsin Madison. The comic is centered around the effects of minority stressors on trans and non-binary people and how psychotherapy with trans/nb trained therapists can potentially help them. The comic has been made possible through Gaining STEAM, a program put together by JKX Comics that is focused on making scientific research accessible to the general public with the magic of art. I think this is very cool and important! I am very proud to be on their team.

Making this comic has flipped my entire world upside down. I’ve never put this much research and writing into a comic before drawing anything. But because the topic of this comic is serious, emotional and representing a marginalized group, preplanning and feedback has been and continues to be a critical part of the process. You may be wondering, am I afraid? Yes and no. I’m afraid that I will not be able to have this 36 page comic finished and print ready by the first set deadline in 3 days :.) But I am no longer afraid of the result. I know that “perfection” is unattainable and that this comic, like all drawings made by people in the world, will be beautiful and special because of the people who came together to create it with care.

Hallie Funk

Hallie Funk is a Madison, WI native and freelance illustrator who received her Bachelor’s degree in Art from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is currently pursuing a degree in Animation from the Madison Area Technical College. You can view more of her and her art on her instagram page and videos on her YouTube Channel.

A Microscopist’s Mecca

Within this past year, while working on a project in collaboration with another lab on UW-Madison’s campus to understand viral particle release mechanisms, I was given the opportunity to travel to a place that I was rather unfamiliar with at the time.  The occasion offered me two weeks to spend working on high-tech microscopes (scopes that people like me dream of using but are so expensive that most universities can’t even afford one of them), specifically addressing research questions for our collaborative project.  Prior to leaving, our group met to brainstorm experiments we would perform while there, discuss the opportunity to try some novel experiments of my own, and to really just learn as much as possible about microscopes and microscopy principles during this experience. The place we were headed to was Janelia Farm (which is not really a farm at all).

Janelia Farm is a fairly new institution established in 2006 and is completely funded by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.  It is a research campus which is composed of small groups that include research principle investigators, post-docs, graduate students and tool development teams, just to name a few.  These groups work independently and in collaboration towards addressing outstanding biomedical questions, and generate/tweak imaging tools to improve the quality of current research throughout the scientific community. The environment of the Janelia research campus is shaped by the people working there.  For example, Eric Betzig, winner of the 2014 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for Super Resolution Microscopy, is a Senior Fellow at Janelia and has worked on developing novel biological imaging strategies including PhotoActivated Localization Microscopy (PALM) and Lattice Light Sheet microscopy.  Luke Lavis, a former UW-Madison Ph.D. student, is the head group leader for the molecular tools and imaging team at Janelia.  He has worked toward developing Janelia Fluor dyes, which are some on the brightest chemical dyes used for single molecule live-cell imaging.  This institute and its research members strive to be at the forefront of technology and scientific discovery.

One division of Janelia is the Advanced Imaging Core (AIC). The AIC houses advanced imaging technologies that are so novel or expensive (when these technologies are first developed), they are generally inaccessible for the average university to afford.  The AIC at Janelia allows researchers across the world to apply for opportunities to utilize these advanced microscopes for a period of time, free of cost.  This opportunity facilitates researchers’ ability to address specific scientific questions about their project which they could not normally address with typical microscopes at their home universities. Through opportunities at the AIC, Janelia promotes learning, collaboration, and movement of science in unexpected directions.

 Through our collaboration at UW - Madison, the two weeks I spent at the AIC at Janelia allowed me to utilize PALM, Lattice Light Sheet, and Total Internal Reflective Fluorescence (TIRF) microscopy to address my research questions regarding single-molecule viral dynamics and viral particle release.  The set-up of the facility, the staff/investigators at AIC, and novel microscopes reinforced an excitement in my research and further confirmed my commitment to employ microscopy in understanding spatial and temporal processes within cells at single-molecule resolution.  I spent most of my time there using the Lattice Light Sheet (pictured below).  With the Lattice Light Sheet, I was able to image the entire cell volume of live cells using two different lasers in 6 seconds over a period of 30 minutes before major photobleaching occurred!  Although, this may not seem impressive for someone that doesn’t do a lot of microscopy, it is quite a triumph in the field as no prior scope had been able to do this.  The Lattice Light Sheet was such an incredible scope that I was inspired to work on it until two to three A.M. in the morning everyday for a week!  Although my time at Janelia has ended for the time being, I learned so much about microscopy in two weeks and the work I did there has generated additional questions, and answers, for me that I hope to pursue in the future, maybe back at Janelia one day.  Even small, short-lived opportunities can lead to novel ways of thinking about a problem and create large leaps in learning.



TFW your side-hustle takes off

What a year.

While unsavory in nature, I often find that stepping outside of my comfort zone is the only way I continually push for growth. And if I’m honest, my ability to thrive when feeling my most awkward is how I cope with the persistent Impostor Syndrome that affects me and many marginalized communities in STEM disciplines.

Each time it still takes a while before I start to feel ok with the tumultuous environment set before me; but reminding myself of the potential to be seen, validated, and praised is more than worth that initial risk.


I don’t know if it was a newfound confidence in our work, a shift in science communication culture in what’s visible, or the loving encouragement of friends (or all of the above), but 2018 had us diving into the deep end of the uncomfortable unknowns. For example, I wrote a self-nomination letter for the Mindlin Foundation Science Communication Prize. While mortifying to write, it was such an honor to be chosen as the 2018 recipient and receive $5000 for my scicomm to use however I see fit (if you do scicomm, I encourage you to apply!). Similarly, we were able grow our writing abilities by writing a business proposal for the University of Wisconsin-Madison Art – Business Competition. Led by Khoa and Bayleigh to victory, we’re now able to complete an amazing project, Gaining STEAM!, where we’ve taught scientists how to communicate their science as a story then translate that story into a comic book storyboard. We’re currently making eight wonderfully diverse scientist spotlights that we’ll compile and release as our first anthology next year. Thinking about the fact that we’re making a book still amazes me.

Even when we don’t come away with the prize, the responses to our work have been amazing. Khoa has courageously made comics for and become a finalist in the Bioethics Cartooning Competition and National Science Foundation Vizzies competitions. People are becoming excited for what we do and it’s thrilling. But what I’ve learned the most from these experiences is that if we, or anyone, want their side-hustle to take off, presentations at conventions and conferences can dramatically increase your visibility.


Khoa has already discussed what it was like at Keystone Comic Con in a previous blog, but this year I submitted abstracts and was selected to give talks at the National Science Teacher Association (NSTA) in July and most recently, the American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB) three days ago; thanks to the opportunity I’ve had to integrate our science making style into the high school research program I teach in, the TRIP Initiative. Focusing on ASCB, this is a wonderful inclusive scientific conference where it is fully embraced to have wide and varied interests and backgrounds. As such, I was able to not only present a poster on my postdoctoral research but also present in the education symposium; and the response to my talk was surreal.  

I met educators and scicomm enthusiasts at the professor, postdoc, graduate student AND undergrad levels that were dying to know more. I’ve now been encouraged to publish what I do in the classroom so educators can cite me, gauged for my interest to be a panelist about science communication to retain underrepresented groups, invited to be on a podcast, and may have the opportunity to run a workshop doing what I do with my students with scientists at a future ASCB meeting. Is this what it feels like to be a celebrity? At least a low-key one? In the very least this is that feeling when your side-hustle takes off.

If you’re reading this blog (around the time this is posted), it’s most likely that you’ve personally met one of us in JKX Comics and continue to give your support. Thank you so much for being on this amazing journey with us. Our success is rooted in being surrounded by wonderful people like you. If you haven’t met us before, thank you still for your support and I hope our paths will cross in the future.


Have a wonderful holiday season from all of us at JKX Comics,



Storytelling, it’s your gift

Bouts of inspiration can hit you at the most inopportune times. Mine came while sandwiched between the wall of an airplane and my stocky neighbor on my latest flight across the country. My neighbor, a rather sturdy, but surprisingly gentle creature reminded me of the beauty of storytelling and how it reaches the broadest of populations. From the eldest to the youngest and to the seemingly toughest to the gentlest people.


While settling into our flight, my nameless neighbor browsed the entertainment section and came to a halt as he tried to decide between "Coco" and " The Incredibles 2". However, to be frank these weren't the titles I'd expect him to be searching through. He overlooked a series of live-action films, and in an instant settled on animated tear-jerkers. Internally I'm very excited for him; my dismissal of his interest in children's animation speaks to my inherent bias. Nevertheless, in an instant, his smile grew, perhaps his heart too, and a childlike joy rested over him while he indulged in the superhero abilities of the Incredibles family.

As the plot thickened, my neighbor paused his film, unplugged his left earbud, then turned to me with a face of pure bliss and contentment and said, "Wow, I love a good story, and this is an amazing one!". He then returned his earbud to his ear, resumed his film and continued on as if nothing had happened. Completely bewildered, my only response was to smile and agree.

As I had some time to ponder this interaction further, it really prompted me to consider the future of scientific storytelling. At its core, science is messy, artistic, and full of tension and contradictions. Scientific processes and occurrences naturally write their own epic plots; yet, few of these stories have ever be told in a captivating manner. Each field is like a distinct genre possessing a different feel and tone. Our efforts at JKX comics are beginning to tackle issues of access and exposure. However, since my plane ride, and because of this anonymous stranger, I'm more determined than ever to get people as excited about delving into the harmony and contentions of scientific stories as they are about Disney, Pixar or Marvel stories - because science stories are equally as epic!

I mean come on, how amazing is it that a virus can replicate itself, take itself and its newly replicated posse to a new cell and party until the cell explodes? True story, check it out. Storytelling is such a powerful way of uniting and mobilizing people. As Erin Morgenstern said, "You may tell a tale that takes up residence in someone's soul, becomes their blood and self and purpose. That tale will move them and drive them and who knows what they might do because of it, because of your words. That is your role, your gift."

Science and Comics and a Convention, Oh My!

This last month I had the opportunity to attend my first comic convention (Keystone Comic Con) with fellow JKX Comics co-founder, Jaye Gardiner. This provided us an opportunity to spread the JKX mission, visit artists and creators that we admire as well as meet new and upcoming artists. Attending the comic convention was a mixture of both business and pleasure as we wanted to get feedback on JKX Comics as well as find new inspiration and ideas -- and we got a good helping of both.

An interesting aspect of Keystone Comic Con was the number of people from varying professions sitting on or leading the panels. For example, there were multiple panels and programs revolving around comics in libraries and the classroom. We were particularly interested in connecting with both librarians and educators so that our comics can reach as many people as possible. While the networking panel we attended was geared towards librarians, it was interesting to hear that there is still a large stigma of comics being for younger audience and only for comedic or recreational purposes. Because of this perspective, it was difficult for librarians to acquire funding to expand on their comic collection. Though this is a prevalent issue among the librarians we spoke to, there is also an increase in the number of individuals checking out comics; suggesting that comics are becoming more appealing to a variety of audiences once made available (Whoop! Whoop!). Speaking to the librarians about JKX comics, they were very enthused with what we are trying to accomplish. They provided great insight into how to get our comics into libraries, specifically suggesting to get our comics reviewed as this would make it more appealing for libraries to purchase. We’ll most definitely need to integrate these ideas for our upcoming project, Gaining STEAM!


Outside of libraries, we always hoped to have our comics in the classroom, where teachers can use our work to teach about research actively being done and hopefully inspire the next generation of scientists. Luckily, there were also multiple panels that focused on how to teach with comics like “Power of Comics in the Classroom” and “With our powers combined”, a panel that integrated the perspectives of comic shows, teachers, librarians, and publishers. Not only did we learn a great deal on how comics can be effectively used in the classroom, we also had the chance to speak with educators who are actively implementing comics in their curriculum. For example, Tim Smyth is a social studies teacher and a strong advocate for comics in the classroom. Hearing him speak about how he uses comics in the classroom, my mind was blown by how he is able to teach different facets of world history. He commented on how comics were a good snapshot of the world in the era when the comic is created as writers often incorporate social and political issues into their stories. Tim also noted that comics can draw out students that are uninterested in a topic and get them excited about what they’re learning. We had a chance to speak to Tim and he was thrilled about our work and gave us helpful suggestions to implement our work into the classroom.

While we enjoy combining science and comics, I am often curious about how science influences comics; and I had the great opportunity to hear comic artists and writers speak on this subject. Many comic creators wanted to hold true to the actual science (like, the maximum acceleration of a falling object) but were not so attached to the science that it would take away from the story they were trying to create. However, what I found to be the most fascinating was that a good number of artists and writers are greatly inspired by science which influenced aspects of their comics. Walking by the artist booths, I was captivated by a comic titled “Gravity Matters” and I spoke with one of the creators, Jeff Rider, about the work and how science is portrayed in the comic. Though there are limited elements of science within the comic itself, it was interesting to hear about how science influenced its creation. In particular, Jeff was fascinated by the work with the Large Hadron Collider conducted at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research. In his comic, the ruined world was his imagination of what the world might look like after a catastrophic experiment occurred at CERN. It was an amazing learning experience interacting with comic creators and learning how science has impacted their work - maybe our comics will be a part of that someday!

All in all, the most exciting part about attending Keystone Comic Con was the enthusiasm for JKX comics we received when talking to artists, librarians, educators, and comic enthusiasts alike. We’re onto something amazing here and hopefully you’ll see us at a booth at your local comic convention!

Balancing the graduate school scale

I have found graduate school can be very challenging to balance. You are constantly bombarded by various deadlines between laboratory work, classes, and different criteria set by your program. Combine this with trying to make time to socialize with friends and loved ones and this can all become very overwhelming and tough to juggle. Mental health problems, such as anxiety and depression, are rampant throughout graduate school populations as it can be easy to neglect taking care of yourself when trying to jump through all the hoops set out for you. While I think it is going to be challenging to find the perfect work/life balance during graduate school, I do think it is crucial to find activities you enjoy and look forward to that can take your mind off things (and in my case force me out of the lab).

For me, this has been getting involved with a few different intramural sports. This has been tremendous for me in a few different ways. First, it forces me to leave work at a specific time to get to my game and in some ways makes me more efficient with my day so I can get everything done. It is also one of my main social outlets on a day-to-day basis, seeing people that don’t work in science, and drawing my mind away from my usual stresses. Finally, I think the regular exercise is a great way to blow off some steam.

I also purchased a small, older house during my second year of graduate school that needs a good deal of work. While this isn’t a financial commitment that everyone is going to be able to make during school, I bring it up for a reason. I have really enjoyed the concrete (heheh) progress I can see while working on home improvement projects. So much of science is long months of troubleshooting experiments, where you can feel stuck in a rut and don’t feel like you’re making any progress, whereas, working with your hands can yield almost immediate results. You can spend an afternoon painting a wall or digging a ditch and have results at the end of the day, giving you a great sense of accomplishment when you walk in the door each evening.

These are just two examples of things I have found worked for me and I am not saying they are perfect for everyone. I do however encourage you to try and find ways to decompress and add a bit of happiness to your daily routine. Even small things, like quick 10-minute meditation sessions can really turn around a cruddy day around (Headspace is an awesome app for anyone interested in learning to practice meditation). Finally, If you ever do get that rare weekend where you don’t find yourself buried in work, embrace it and do what makes you happy. Whether that’s camping, going out drinking with friends, or just binging Netflix, don’t feel guilty about taking some time for yourself. You’ve certainly earned it.


One Cell, Two Cell, Red Cell, Blue Cell


People are 100 times more drawn to pictures and images over words.  Pictures easily evoke emotions, curiosity, and the need to dive right into an image and learn more about that exact moment in time.  Growing up, I have always enjoyed photography and art as a way to be connected to distant people and places.  Photography and painting (including other various forms of art) are beautiful in that they capture both the interpretations of the artist or photographer as well as the emotions and history of the scene that is being depicted.  Through images, the viewer is able to get a sense of what the artist is trying to portray within an image as well as allow the viewer to interpret the artwork through the lens of their own menagerie of experiences. 

Microscopy (the use of a microscope) is another form of art that involves taking pictures or images. Through a microscope, one can image microscopic structures such as a mouse brain, small fruit fly, and even single living cells. By adding in color-encoding protein tags (also known as fluorophores) that fluoresce upon being hit by different wavelengths of light, color and context can be added to microscopy images analogous to a painter using multiple shades of color for shadowing or depicting different objects within an image. 


So why am I telling you all this, right?  I’m telling you this because I am a photographer by hobby and a scientist by training, and this has led me down a specific path within science to some incredible experiences.  I bought my first real camera when I was an undergraduate living in Tampa, FL.  As a Marine Biology major at the University of Tampa, I took a course that led to a research opportunity, albeit unrelated to marine science.  The research opportunity was to observe a virus which infects mouse cells, specifically cells within the brain called oligodendrocytes (see image to right). 

This research involved using microscopy as a tool to understand how our own human cells work.  By spending hours in the microscope room taking vibrant, colorful images, I was hooked.  Obtaining unexpected results from a microscope image motivated me to try to understand those results.  The uncertainty of what I’d see on each new slide felt exciting, like the thrill of entering a new level within a game or traveling abroad.   

Like most undergrads that have caught the research bug, I knew I wanted to pursue some aspect of science but had difficulty picking a single field when it came time to apply to graduate school.  By taking my love for science, photography, and animals, I was able to combine all three of my passions into a direction that I wanted to head in: going to graduate school to study viruses that impact animal cells utilizing microscopy. 

Thus, not only do I consider myself a photographer of wildlife, but I am also a photographer of the microscopic processes that allow these organisms to exist.  It is through microscopes that I can capture a relativity unknown process within an image and publish it or display it to the public and allow the viewer to interpret and be inspired by it.  This is what I work towards accomplishing within science.  In the simplest of terms, with microscopy, I can look at one cell, or two cells, make a red cell or a blue cell and inspire new schools of thought within a field of science and excite our youth about science as well.  How cool is that?



Where passion meets purpose: Science, mentorship, teaching, and art.

I’ve been blessed to have many things that I am passionate about: conducting research, mentoring, creating comics, and teaching. But if you told me that I would spend every Saturday for 13 weeks devoting 12-15 hours with teenagers just for the chance to combine them all, I wouldn’t believe you. But alas, here we are.

This past spring semester I helped out with the Teen Research Internship Program (TRIP) Initiative, a program designed to teach high school students the basics of laboratory research. Specifically, using fruit flies as a model organism, students learn how to ask questions, design experiments, give presentations, and explore their curiosity. But what’s the most unique about TRIP is that every student creates her/his own independent project, where s/he address a question that’s specific to their own interests and doesn’t have a set outcome.

On top of all of this, I was given the opportunity to start a mini-course within the program where I guided students to create their own comics and graphical abstracts based on their unique independent projects. This was such an amazing opportunity but to be honest I was terrified. I developed and taught my own course for undergraduates before, but that was critical thinking skills – something I’ve been doing everyday as a scientist for the past decade. But here? I had no idea what to expect.


Would they balk at the idea of drawing? Will they be emo and brooding? How do I even talk to a teenager? Better yet, how do I teach someone else to create comics when I have no formal training in art, storytelling, or sequential art that combines the two?

But my students were open-minded, accepting, and exceeded every expectation; some continuing to make drafts between assignments to ensure the message was as clear as it could be.  Looking back now and reflecting, it was hard, it was tiring, but in the end incredibly worthwhile.

I’m glad that I feel that way because yesterday was the first day of the Summer TRIP session and I’m doing it all over again and then some. But I can’t wait to see what they create.




I'll have a double-double, animal style.


It is not commonplace for doctoral students to transfer graduate programs, but, occasionally it happens and I'm a rare instance of this occurrence. Today marks one year, five months and fifteen days since I moved to San Francisco from Madison. Yes, nearly a year and a half ago I condensed the entirety of my belongings into two suitcases, a keyboard case, and a backpack, to move across the country with a singular focus, a fresh start in science. 


My desire to leave my institution was motivated by a culmination of wanting new intellectual challenges, to pursue a new field, the lure of being in a big city, and a lingering curiosity about living in the Bay Area. I’d often asked myself, what would it be like to live at the heart of technological advancement and scientific breakthrough? My mind was always racing considering the possibilities. However, for some time timidity and fear got the best of me, and my desires remained illusory. 

Starting conversations about wanting to leave my program was perhaps the most difficult for me. The culture of academia can sometimes be intimidating. At times I’d feel indebted to my advisors and mentors, who invested so much into my professional development. I feared alienation by the department, and association with a slew of other nonsensical Ph.D. taboos, whether real or imagined. In addition, I was kind of reluctant to give up the time that I had already invested in the program, especially because there was no real guarantee that I’d be happier elsewhere. Spoiler alert, that was not the case. 

Since moving to SF, I have excitedly delved into a new field of study that I completely adore, seamlessly integrated myself into a fantastic community, and learned the joys of In - N - Out burgers. Pro-tip, double-double, animal style is always the way to go. But, delicious burgers aside, I can now confidently say, without hesitation that I love what I do! I have just finished my first year of graduate school at UCSF, and I couldn’t be happier to be pursuing science. I undeniably re-discovered my scientific enthusiasm in the Bay and this has been integral in keeping me grounded and motivated. So now, here I am, thankful to be establishing my footing in this scientific world and moving forward with genuine interest. 

Cheers to the next few years! 


And so Jaye told a story.

This all happened because a twitter post, and a whim. I didn’t know what applying meant. I didn’t know what to expect once I got there. But because of that I found myself waving to the crowd like a debutante in a parade.

I’m naturally extroverted – off the scale really – but I didn’t think that my wave would make me have to speak in front of everyone. At least not again. I already did that in the 1-minute impromptu pop talk where I called HIV, the virus responsible for AIDS, “bad news bears”. But unbeknownst to me a microphone stand had spontaneously spawned into the middle of the room and I was suddenly surrounded by the unbridled cheers of >50 people I met just the day before.

These were voices that were previously engulfed in active discussion, exploring the importance of science advocacy, giving insightful critiques and ideas on pre-prepared pieces, sharing experiences that ripple through populations of women, people of color, and LGBTQ+ individuals in science, and repeatedly speaking to the importance of story telling within science communication. They were voices that passionately shared projects, initiated collaborations, and supported everyone around them. Most importantly, they were the voices of so many individuals that I am so happy to now call friends. At the time, however, their cheers didn’t stop my nerves from creating a newfound vibrato to my voice, echoing throughout the room as I spoke of a mystical magical beast named Ed and recanted the worst 4 hours of my graduate career – which was neither my prelim nor my doctoral defense, mind you. And I’m not sure if those cheers would stop them now one month after.

Nevertheless, I continued. Telling how my carpal tunneled hands, which relentlessly typed page after page about HIV’s specialized form of viral spread that allows the virus to continue to exist in HIV positive individuals despite medication, also fumbled my laptop to create the softest thud on the off-white carpet of my living room floor. This thud wouldn’t mean much under normal circumstances except that thud damaged the flashdrive containing the only finished copy of my doctoral dissertation. Yes, I know you’re not supposed to do that. And *yes* I knew that you weren’t suppose to do that before this even happened. What I didn’t know though, or even expect, was that I would be standing there in the middle of the room, telling this story and being cheered on by the organizers, invited speakers, and fellow participants of the 2017 ComSciCon National meeting where I had a 4.7% chance of being chosen. Especially not from a twitter post and a whim.

Hi all, I hope you enjoyed that story! There was no better way that I could think of summarizing my experience at ComSciCon17 than by putting what I learned into practice. This experience was very transformative and so worthwhile. What’s best is that this conference is created by graduated students for graduate students. I hope to be a part of this as an organizer in the future and encourage all students to apply!