UPGG Annual Retreat

The UPGG Annual Retreat is a mandatory (fun!) weekend for UPGG students to gather off-campus to present their science and spend time with classmates, developing professional and personal connections.
UPGG is an umbrella program, so the breadth of both student research topics is vast, and research labs are located on all parts of campus. The Annual Retreat is one of the few times that all UPGG students from all years get together. The retreat is for the students and by the students, planned every year by a dedicated group of students with organizational assistance from the DGSA and support from the Co-Directors and DGS. As such, the focus of the retreat is on student research, with about 40% of attendees giving a full-length talk, and all students giving a brief “pop talk” about their research.
Students nominate other students for talks and a handful of faculty are nominated by the students and invited to attend. In the last three years, UPGG alumni have been invited to attend as well. These invited faculty and alumni guests impart knowledge, judge talks, lead discussions and workshops, and participate in a few fun (and totally not embarrassing) games. We keep track of alumni via our LinkedIn Group (link!), so if you’re an alum looking to come to the retreat, be sure you’re in the group!
Of course, its not just science! Faculty and alumni lead breakout sessions and workshops on topics ranging from balancing work and life as a professor, finding a good post-doc, teaching and communicating for scientists, or professional networking. Additionally, the retreat gives UPGG students an opportunity to blow off some steam, whether it be through sunbathing at the beach, kayaking on a lake, making the most unique and tasty s’more, or competing in a no-hands watermelon eating contest (videos below).
As students plan the UPGG retreat, the structure, activities, and location can change with the student committee. UPGG students are encouraged to sign up for the committee at the beginning of the school year. Below is some information about some of the more recent UPGG retreats.

May 20-22, 2016
Haw River State Park, Browns Summit, NC
Invited Faculty:
Jenny Tung, Assistant Professor of Evolutionary Anthropology and Biology;  Faculty Associate of the Duke University Population Research Institute
Simon Gregory, Associate Professor in Medicine, Associate Research Professor in Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, Duke Molecular Physiology Institute, Duke Cancer Institute
Blanche Capel, James B. Duke Professor, Professor of Cell Biology

May 29-31, 2015
Rumbling Bald Resort, Lake Lure, NC
Invited Faculty:
Stacy Horner Assistant Professor, Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology
John Willis Professor, Department of Biology
Eda Yildirim Assistant Professor, Department of Cell Biology
Invited Alumni:
Rob Davidson ’01 Merck & Co., Principal Scientist
Chris Lassiter ’05 Roanoke College, Associate Professor
Dave McDonald ’13 Duke Career Center, Assistant Director of Graduate Services
Mollie Minear ’12 Duke Science & Society, Postdoctoral Associate
Kristi Viles ’06 Duke Translational Medicine Institute, Project Leader
Jon Zawistowski ’05 University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill, Research Assistant Professor

May 16-18, 2014
Island Vista Resort, Myrtle Beach, SC
Invited Faculty:
Allison Ashley-Koch: Associate Professor in the Section of Medical Genetics, Department of Medicine
Doug Marchuk: Professor and Vice Chair, Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology
Mohamed Noor: Earl D. McLean Professor and Chair, Biology Department
Kris Wood Assistant Professor, Department of Pharmacology and Cancer Biology
Invited Alumni:
Liz Cirulli: Assistant Professor, Duke University
Dana Hancock: Genetic Epidemiologist Behavioral Health Epidemiology Program, RTI international
Whitney Jones: Teaching Assistant Professor, NC State
2013: May 10-12, 2013
Rumbling Bald Resort, Lake Lure, NC
Invited Faculty:
Dennis Ko - Assistant Professor, Molecular Genetics and Microbiology
Tom Petes – Minnie Geller Professor, Molecular Genetics and Microbiology
Tim Reddy – Assistant Professor, Biostatistics and Bioinformatics