After a two-year break due to the pandemic, the annual networking meeting of the BGF scholarship holders took place at JMU on June 24, 2022. The University Women's Representative, Prof. Dr. Brigitte Burrichter, invited current scholarship holders and alumnae to this event. The women have in common that they are role models for more equal opportunities in academic careers.
The event kicked off with a welcome address by Prof. Dr. Brigitte Burrichter. During the subsequent speed networking, the scholarship holders quickly established professional and private connections with each other.
Another item on the program was the panel on "Careers in Science: Former and Current Scholarship Holders in Dialog" with Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Petra Platte (Head of Dual Universities iba dual Cologne), Prof. Dr. Yvonne Jockel, Head of Periodontal Medicine, and Dr. Birgit Sperlich, Research Associate at the Institute of Sports Science, JMU. The participants took away some key learnings from the lively discussion:
"On the day, the most important thing for me was that I received so much insider info and all my questions were answered. Above all, the panel discussion showed me that the hurdles and challenges are often the same and that you shouldn't be deterred." - Jacqueline Degen
"The panel discussion offered a sense of perspective. To hear from scholars who have succeeded in building a career in academia offered a sense that it was in fact possible, but much more vitally a candid perspective on how that transition from precarious early career research to scholar and parent can come about." - Hannah Nelson-Teutsch
After a break for lunch, the participants delved deeper into the individual research areas of the scholarship holders. 16 female scientists presented their research with the help of a poster and made their topics visible to others. These included a new therapeutic approach for treating invasive fungal infections and the question of how street lights affect the orientation of moths. The poster presentation showed that these women are shaping the future! In particular, Jacqueline Degen, Sanjana Mathew, Daniela Langenhorst and Ziyi Chen were able to convince the participants of their research in the final vote. They took 1st, 2nd and 3rd place.
The successful day ended with a guided wine tasting followed by a meal together at the Bürgerspital in Würzburg.
Hannah Nelson-Teutsch, lecturer and doctoral student at JMU's Department of American Studies, summarises:
"I have studied and worked within universities in the United States, Canada, and Germany for nearly a decade, and I have never been part of a meeting that felt more welcoming, familiar, and urgently necessary than the BGF scholarship holders meeting. [...] It was a great relief – and a source of solidarity – to meet so many women from across the disciplines with whom I could identify, compare notes, share resources, and build support structures."