Anna and Dina at Yale. Credit: Dina Ziganshina Lienhard

CBS Graduate Students Attend History of Biology Conference with a Friendly Tradition

Author: Dina Ziganshina Lienhard

In April 2023, two Center for Biology and Society (CBS) students—Dina Ziganshina Lienhard and Anna Clemencia Guerrero—attended the Joint Atlantic Seminar in the History of Biology (JAS-Bio). This year marked the 57th JAS-Bio meeting, the first in-person meeting since 2019.  Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, hosted the meeting.

CBS has a long history with JAS-Bio, as our Director, Dr. Jane Maienschein, presented one of her first papers at the meeting and contributed to fostering its unique culture over the years, according to many attendees. JAS-Bio is an opportunity for graduate students to present their research in a friendly environment and get crucial feedback from peers and faculty members from various institutions, including ASU, Yale, MIT, Harvard, UPenn, and others.

JAS-Bio was a two-day event. On Friday, April 14, attendees gathered at a local New Haven restaurant for dinner, where the friendly culture of the meeting immediately came through, especially in interactions with the professors. The hosts made a toast welcoming all participants and invited everyone to share and record memories of beloved historians of science Garland Allen (1936-2023) and Nancy Slack (1930-2022). Both attended the meeting as often as they could, and both always loved meeting the graduate students and hearing about the new and exciting project.

Photo of Anna presenting at JASBIO
Anna presenting her research. Credit: Dina Ziganshina Lienhard

On the second day, 13 graduate students presented their work in a series of 4 exciting panels—2 before lunch and 2 after. Anna presented in the second panel, which focused on visualizing life, while I presented in the fourth and last panel, which focused on reproductive science. Each panel was structured the same way. First, each graduate student presented their work for 15-20 minutes. Once all students in a panel (3-4 students per panel) were done presenting, they gathered in front of the audience and answered questions. The questions did not feel intimidating; instead, they were inquisitive and allowed many students to consider additional aspects of their work.

Photo of Dina Ziganshina Lienhard presenting at JAS Bio
Dina presenting her research. Credit: Bulat Ziganshin

For me personally, coming to Yale and presenting at JAS-Bio during my very last year of graduate studies felt like a dream come true. It was so wonderful to speak to professors and fellow graduate students who have been at ASU or know about the work that Dr. Maienschein and CBS in general do.

As an additional example of the warm and friendly culture of JAS-Bio, at the end of the 57th meeting, participants dedicated a champagne toast and a cake to Dr. Janet Browne, a historian of biology at Harvard who has written pathbreaking biographies of Charles Darwin. Overall, I left the meeting with many new connections and ideas about my work, as well as a better understanding of various aspects of the history of biology, and an ever-growing appreciation for the opportunities that the Center for Biology and Society at ASU provides.