What is the Stupka Symposium?
The Stupka Undergraduate Research Symposium came from the mind of Robert "Rob" J. Stupka III (picture to the right), an undergraduate student, in the fall of 2005. He and his classmates worked to turn this idea into a reality; however, Rob would not see the symposium he worked so fervently to plan. On November 30, 2005, Rob passed away after a pedestrian-vehicle accident in front of the Molecular Biology Building. Rob envisioned the symposium as an opportunity for undergraduate students to showcase their research and experience the need for communication in science. Rob's contagious enthusiasm drove his classmates to hold the first symposium in the spring of 2006; the enthusiasm has never disappeared. Undergraduates, inspired by Rob's vision and story, have continued to lead and plan a symposium each year, including this year's 17th Annual Stupka Symposium.
Each year, the undergraduates who plan the symposium do their best to leave their legacy on this tradition and fulfill Rob's vision. At this year's symposium, around 40 undergraduate students will be given the opportunity to present a poster showcasing their research, and three students were chosen to present their research in a keynote presentation. Additionally, the planning committee chose two renowned scientists from across the country and invited an alum speaker to present their research. The symposium has evolved to give undergraduate students the most opportunities to interact with each other and the invited speakers to discuss science- this happens through a day full of open-house poster sessions and several interactive meals. It is the committee's pleasure to announce that the 2023 Stupka Symposium will host these hallmark discussions in person, with the addition of new alumni interaction events and the continuation of a virtual alumni-student interaction the Sunday before. With each symposium, we see a rise in attendance; in 2019, we had around 200 students, faculty, and other scientists join us. At our online symposium in 2021, we had 200 virtual attendees from across the nation join us. With our hybrid symposium in 2022, we had around 200 students, faculty, and other scientists join us either in person or virtually. We look forward to seeing the impact of Rob's vision grow each year.
Why should I donate?
The committee is excited to welcome everyone back as we host this year's in-person event. However, we need your help to make this year’s symposium possible.
- As always, the committee provides free registration, meals, and parking permits to speakers and attendees. Since 2020, we also provide select virtual events, and this involves additional costs.
- Your support allows us to welcome high-caliber keynote and alumni speakers that elevate the symposium. The speakers give all attendees, especially undergraduate students, the unique opportunity to learn about other topics in biochemistry that they normally wouldn't hear about in class or their labs, a chance to engage with the speakers over lunch and poster sessions, and the experience of the environment of a professional conference. Please read more about this year's speakers below!
- Finally, contributions to this FundISU project will be used to grow our endowment, which helps ensure we can offer these highly valuable opportunities and experiences at future symposia .
The 2023 Stupka Symposium will feature keynote speakers Dr. Peter McKinnon, the Director of the Center for Pediatric Neurological Disease Research within the St. Jude Pediatric Translational Neuroscience Initiative, and Dr. Joseph Jez, the Chair of the Biology Department, a Spencer T. Olin Professor, and an HHMI-Simon Faculty Scholar at Washington University in St. Louis. Additionally, this year we will welcome back alum speaker Natalie Whitis, Ph.D. candidate at the University of California, San Francisco.
Know that any support you provide will be used to fund not only the basics of running such a complex event but help us improve the Stupka Symposium for years to come.
Thank you for your support of the Rob Stupka Symposium!
If you would like to know more about us, please visit our website: https://stupka.bb.iastate.edu/. If you have any questions, feel free to contact anyone under the "Project Owners" section on this page -- our email addresses are available if you click on our pictures.