Skip to main content

Student Reflections regarding the Oncofertility Conference at Northwestern Medical School 2014

The Oncofertility Conference was incredible. I had a wonderful experience and learned so much not only about the field but also about myself.

Attending the conference gave an inside look at how the medical world works and what my place may be within it. I so enjoyed the various speakers and learning about the past and future of oncofertility, a future I hope to play a part in.

It was also inspiring to hear from oncofertility survivors. Patients whose lives were changed by doctors and research. Doctors like the one I am sure Jacquelyn will become, research I hope to one day perform.

It is experiences like this conference which prepares us to realize our full potential.

Thank you so much for everything.


The trip was amazing, and I can't thank you and everyone who put it on enough. The experience of not just presenting my poster but hearing from the top doctors in the world in oncology not only enlightened me but inspired me. It only made me want to go into the field of pediatric oncology more. I particularly enjoyed meeting the physicians and am so excited to advance my studies with them.

Spending time with the other OSA girls in the environment of the conference and having fun along the way brought us closer together. It allowed us to motivate one another and share stories about what we have learned the past year and a half in our own little worlds.


The Oncofertility Conference was, in short, a truly memorable experience. Before going, I knew I was going to hear from some of the field's greatest researchers and doctors, but the amount of information and the speakers' articulateness absolutely blew me away. Every doctor's presentation was easy to understand, free of the medical jargon that otherwise would have detracted from their main message. Although many spoke on specific cancer treatment or fertility preservation methods, all of them brought about a sense of humanity and empathy in their lectures. From the audience, I could feel that every person up there was not only in it for the science, but because he/she genuinely understood the struggles of a cancer patient and ultimately wanted to relieve this hardship as a doctor. The Oncofertility Consortium is filled with humane and good doctors all working together to ensure that each person has more than a chance to live, but a chance to live life to its fullest. This was a recurring thought for me throughout the two days attending the conference, and a very reassuring and happy thought, indeed.

I thought the setup of the conference was great. By the end of Monday night, I was totally maxed out after almost twelve hours of presentations, and I took that as a sign that the conference had not let a single minute go to waste. It was efficient and did not lag or drag on, and there were enough breaks for people to re-energize with the copious amount of snacks and food in the lobby.


The Oncofertility Conference was my first time attending a medical conference, and my experiences there were truly memorable. We had the incredible opportunity to listen to and converse with leaders and pioneers in the field of oncofertility. Throughout the day, we listened to presentations on the latest research and technological advancements in fertility preservation techniques, radiation, and chemotherapy options. One of the presentations we listened to, "Radiation Oncology Perspective", was given by Dr. John Kalapurakal, MD, Northwestern University. This presentation was particularly captivating for me, since Dr. Kalapurakal spoke of the latest statistics on radiation via proton beam therapy vs. IMRT (Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy) which was one of the focuses of my research project. In addition to hearing Dr. Kalapurakal's work, I felt so privileged to be able to listen to researchers in the field explaining their latest findings and recent cases in improving the quality of life for cancer survivors by increasing their fertility preservation options.

After the lectures, we had the opportunity to listen to two cancer survivors, whose stories enlightened us that even in the past few years, several patients had not been offered the chance to preserve their fertility before undergoing fertility-threatening cancer regimens. From their stories, we learned of the importance not only of the advancement and acknowledgement of oncofertility, but also of a communicative relationship between a physician and his/her patient, in which concerns and risks are understood. After listening to the guest speakers, we presented our posters to other conference attendees, researchers and physicians, including Dr. Woodruff herself! To be able to share our work, answer questions, listen to the work of others, and develop new questions to research was perhaps the most rewarding experience of the conference. It revealed to me the collaborative nature of medicine, in which progress is made as an all-encompassing team of researchers, physicians, nurses, patients, families, bioethicists, counselors, insurance providers, and many more groups and individuals. All in all, attending the conference was one of the most inspiring experiences I have had, and I am so incredibly thankful for the opportunities that Northwestern University and the Oncofertility Consortium have provided us.


My experience at the Oncofertility Conference is something I will never forget. This opportunity has revealed to me that there are no limits when it comes to science and the medical field. Everything is interconnected and the solving of one problem can result in the solving of multiple problems. While I was there I did not feel like a high school student because I was treated like a fellow medical professional. No one talked down to me or doubted my intelligence instead they asked for my opinion. My favorite part was presenting my poster to Teresa Woodruff, the founder of Oncofertility. It turns out that see worked on the original medication that was used in the study my poster is based on. This trip reminded me that the whole reason for Oncofertility and other research fields is not just the science but for the people that need help. The job of a doctor is to heal the whole person not just the illness.