By Hayley Cox
Angelyn Hilton, currently a first year Master’s student in the Plant Pathology and Microbiology Deptartment at Texas A&M University, participated in the Undergraduate Research Scholars Program. She was a student in Honors and Undergraduate Research (HUR) during her undergraduate career in Bioenvironmental Sciences
Hilton heard about the American Phytopathalogical Society (APS) Conference through the professors in the plant pathology and microbiology department who were also attending. She was given the opportunity to attend the conference in Austin, Texas from August 10th-14th after she was granted the HUR Travel Scholarship.
According to the APS website (apsnet.org), the 2013 APS Conference was the first time that the Mycological Society of America and the APS held a joint meeting since 2006. “This year’s Special Sessions consist[ed] of invited speakers and topics chosen by the Annual Meeting Board under the guidance of Director Scott Adkins and 2013 APS President-Elect George Abawi.” APS MSA Joint Meeting Special Sessions included the topics of The World of Fungi, Food Safety and Biosecurity, Crop Protection Tools, Education and Outreach, Viruses, Tree Diseases and Stresses, Cell Biology and Plant Symbiosis, and Bacteria.
The APS Conference serves as a means to bring phytopathologists together from around the world. Researchers can present their findings and establish networks with others in their field of study. Hilton said, “A typical day would include attending a number of seminars on different topics, including mycology, bacteriology, virology, and agriculture.” She said, “The end of the day usually consists of poster sessions and mixers. It was not only informative and a great learning experience, but also tons of fun.”
Hilton is now continuing onto study plant diseases in graduate school at Texas A&M, and she plans to attend the next annual APS meeting in 2014. Hilton said it is still too soon to know where she will be in 10-15 years, but she would like to continue research in an agricultural-related field. She said the APS Conference was a “fabulous opportunity.” She said, “I was able to do it with the help of HUR and TAMU professors and staff. I would recommend HUR to any high-achieving student at TAMU.”