News & Events

Please visit this page regularly for fund updates and to find out about new fund efforts.

Mikelia Heberer sitting on a stone fenceMikelia Heberer is a first-generation college student and was very thankful to be a part of OTF during GSA Connects and have a mentor guide them through their first conference.

What was the most impactful aspect of your OTF experience?

The most impactful aspect of my OTF experience was meeting new people at the conference and at the OTF-hosted dinner. Being a part of OTF meant I was matched with a mentor. My mentor gave me valuable advice and offered words of wisdom regarding the navigation of conferences, which I greatly appreciated. My second impactful aspect of meeting new people occurred during the OTF dinner at the hotel. While at the dinner, I had the opportunity to listen to words of wisdom from speakers that told stories of their own perseverance and resilience. Their stories were very inspiring and eye opening. I really appreciated their courage in sharing these experiences with us and inspiring the future generation of scientists.

What do you remember most from GSA 2021?

The most memorable experience that I have from GSA 2021 is the moment after I gave my first professional presentation and received a round of applause from the audience. I enjoyed the experience of answering questions after my presentation and having the opportunity to enhance my presenter skills.

What was your mentorship experience like? Would you consider returning to serve as a mentor?

When looking for a mentor, I wanted someone who had taken a similar career path to what I am currently on. I was paired with a mentor who I enjoyed. She was very supportive and offered valuable advice on navigating the science world. Because of my positive experience with my OTF mentor, I would consider returning as a mentor in the future.

How do you see OTF influencing or impacting your future?

Having such a positive, first experience at a conference, partly because of OTF, has really boosted my confidence in attending professional meetings. Being super nervous when I first got to the meeting, scheduled meetings with my mentor helped me balance my time and thoughts. I believe my mentor did a great job in giving me advice and sharing her wisdom of her career path. I hope to be a mentor for OTF in the future.

What would you like to say to donors thinking about supporting programs like OTF?

OTF is a great program that opens the door for people who usually don’t have the opportunity to go to conferences like GSA. Being a first-generation college student myself, I was very thankful to be a part of OTF during GSA and have a mentor that guided me through my first conference. As a result, my opinion of professional conferences is very high, just because my experience with OTF during GSA went so well.


Template Information

The information below explains the type, use and design process for this template

Template Name:


Template Design:
This is an interpolated template. The design of the site will be applied to this template. There may be design revisions available, but this template will now follow an approval process.