Short Note from Award Winners-Summer 2023 

PDA Professional Development Award Winners-Summer 2023




Sourabh Soni A, PhD

Department of Internal Medicine

American Thoracic Society International Conference 2023,Washington DC.Oral Presentation

Attending the ATS 2023 International Conference held at Washington, D.C. in May was a transformative experience that enriched my professional journey and provided invaluable benefits to my work and career. The conference brought together a diverse community of experts, innovators, and thought leaders in my field, creating an atmosphere brimming with intellectual exchange and cutting-edge insights. From the moment I stepped into the vast conference venue, I was immersed in a dynamic environment teeming with the latest advancements, research breakthroughs, and emerging trends. Engaging keynote speeches, thought-provoking panel discussions, and interactive workshops expanded my horizons and offered fresh perspectives on the most pressing challenges and opportunities in my research filed. One of the most significant benefits of attending the conference was the opportunity to network with fellow professionals and establish meaningful connections. Conversations with like-minded individuals from various backgrounds and industries sparked collaborations, mentorships, and potential partnerships that have the potential to shape my career trajectory.

Moreover, the ATS 2023 International Conference provided a platform for showcasing my own work and research. Presenting my findings as an ‘Oral Talk’ to an attentive and knowledgeable audience not only enhanced my visibility but also invited constructive feedback and sparked insightful discussions that further refined my ideas. Beyond the enriching sessions and networking opportunities, the conference offered a diverse range of resources and tools. Exhibitions and demonstrations showcased cutting-edge technologies, products, and services that have the potential to revolutionize the field. Access to these innovations empowered me to stay ahead of the curve and embrace new methodologies and practices. Attending the ATS 2023 International Conference will have a lasting impact on my work and career. The knowledge gained, connections established, and inspiration received will continue to fuel my professional growth. The conference served as a catalyst for innovation, enabling me to bring fresh perspectives, enhanced skills, and novel approaches to my work, ultimately propelling me towards new heights of success in my career.




Srishti Gaur, PhD

FAES – Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering

ASABE Annual International Meeting 2023, Hilton, Omaha, Nebraska and CHI Health Center.

Oral Presentation


Heartfelt thanks for providing the Summer Travel Award. I really appreciate this generous effort of PDA to support the postdocs.

I attended the ASABE Annual International Meeting last month from July 9-12 in Omaha (Nebraska). ASABE is among one of the best conferences for my discipline. I delivered one presentation and one lightning talks there. I received positive feedback from the judges on my presentations. I received a few other comments from the audience which helped me further to learn the nitty gritty aspects of my work. I have attended a few other sessions that are related to my research, which familiarized me with the ongoing research in my field.

ASABE not only provide me with an opportunity of networking with people working in academia but also with industry professionals and stakeholders. I also attended the Career Fair, where I connected with different employers including employers from universities. Along with networking, I also attended some get-togethers and socializing events as well.

I am really happy with my experience of attending ASABE’23 as it really helped in my professional development.

With this, I would like to thank PDA once again for proving travel support.




Ye Shen, PhD

College of Education and Human Ecology

American Psychological Association (APA) 2023, Washington, DC.

Poster Presentation 

Attending the American Psychological Association (APA) 2023 conference with the privilege of a PDA Professional Development Award was an enriching and transformative experience. It was also an unparalleled opportunity. I delved into cutting-edge research, forged connections with like-minded researchers, and felt like I invested every moment in my personal and academic growth. This experience reignited my passion for education and left me eager to contribute to the ongoing conversations in multilingual literacy education. Thanks to the PDA Professional Development Award, the memories and knowledge I gained from this experience will continue to inspire and shape my journey long after the conference concluded. 

At APA 2023, I presented my research on Spanish-English emergent bilingual children’s English reading development. As of 2020, over 13.8 million students were identified as Hispanic/Latine, comprising 28% of the U.S. public school population; they constitute the largest subgroup of emergent bilingual (EB; formerly referred to as English language learners) students in the U.S. Spanish-speaking EBs are often inaccurately considered as a homogeneous group, characterized by low English reading achievement. This study is the first to characterize distinct trajectories of reading development among Spanish-English bilinguals in the U.S. We revealed five distinct growth trajectories of English reading scores across elementary grades. We further examined whether early Spanish reading and English oral language may differentially predict students’ English reading growth trajectories. Children with high early Spanish reading were more likely to be a member of the classes with the highest initial English reading scores and fastest growth rates. Our findings highlight that early Spanish reading skill is an important factor in identifying emergent bilingual children who may be at-risk for reading difficulties later in elementary school.




Sujeet Kumar, PhD

Department of Microbiology

Bacterial Cell Biology and Development Gordon Research Conference, Southern New Hampshire University, NH.

Poster Presentation

The Bacterial Cell Biology and Development GRC 2023 was held at Southern New Hampshire University from 4th-9th June. It explored the recent research into the organization, dynamics, and development of bacterial cells and communities using a breadth of experimental approaches and biological systems. It was a prestigious, international scientific conference that fostered casual interactions between scientists at all career stages. The conference program focused on the most recent advancements in the discipline and featured a diverse selection of presenters and moderators from institutions and organizations throughout the world. In addition to keynote addresses, the conference included time for poster presentations by participants at all career phases. Additionally, afternoon breaks and communal meals provided an opportunity for casual networking with experts in the field. Its overall objective was to reveal cutting-edge, unpublished research to expand the frontiers of knowledge. To encourage a collaborative and interdisciplinary debate on bacterial cell biology and development, it gathered together a group of worldwide scientists, including cell biologists, bacteriologists, biochemists, geneticists, physicists, structural biologists, and imaging specialists.

My first opportunity to connect with other members of the research community working on cell envelopes from around the world came from attending the Gordon research conference on Bacterial cell surfaces. I was able to gain comments on my research from colleagues and senior scientists at this conference, which helped me my career decisions and better my area of study. In addition, I gained a wide overview of the area and helped me formulate research questions through research presentations from a diverse set of experts working on cell envelope biology.  Last but not least, this conference had several groups interested in peptidoglycan biogenesis, which enabled me to expand my network of connections and prospective future collaborations.