Skip to main content

Student Reflections regarding the Oncofertility Conference at Northwestern Medical School 2019 

The Oncofertility conference was amazing. All of the attendees were extremely welcoming and were genuinely interested in our research. My first observation was that everyone came from different fields—endocrinology, bioethics, psychology, and so many more—that make up the global oncofertility network. There were people from Australia and Japan and all over the US! The first day in Chicago, we were able to explore the city and downtown; we visited the Bean which was only a few minutes away from our hotel.

On the second day, we attended sessions at the Prentice Hospital. I really liked how the session was less of a lecture, but more of a discussion. Because oncofertility is an emerging field, the attendees were giving advice to other representatives of institutions on what was successful and unsuccessful in their own institution. The speakers were guiding the discussion, as everyone was participating in a brainstorm-like session where everyone was learning about what other institutions are doing. I enjoyed this because it showed that there is no right way to implement a new field in medicine and that it is a learning process for everyone. The day got even better because it was our first time seeing snowfall and everyone could easily tell we are from San Diego because of how many pictures we took of the snow.

The third day was a great learning experience. All of the attendees were in one large room and we heard from a variety of speakers on distinct topics: bioethics and minors, dysphoria for trans patients, advancements in X-ray techniques, how to build and maintain an oncofertility team, and more. Dr. Teresa Woodruff even recognized Ruchi and me in front of all the attendees and encouraged them to visit our posters. Listening to these speakers and the questions posed by the audience was interesting because they addressed issues and concerns I had never considered, further showing me how vast this field is. And then it was my favorite part of the entire trip: presenting my poster. I have to admit, I was nervous to present my poster to such educated and well-versed attendees. But once I started,  I wasn’t nervous at all because everyone was so kind and wanted to learn more about what I researched. Not only was I able to showcase my research, but I was also able to learn what other students are researching and how they got involved with oncofertility. Presenting to Dr. Woodruff was definitely a highlight and she was extremely kind, intelligent, and approachable. She offered me great advice and I would love to work with her one day! Overall, this conference was more than I could have hoped for.

Not only did I learn a lot and understand how broad  oncofertility is, I made connections with renowned scientists and students (over a wonderful dinner at Dr. Woodruff’s house where I was also introduced to “Chicago Pizza”). This experience definitely inspired me to pursue oncofertility and reproductive endocrinology in the future and I am so thankful for everyone who helped build ROSA so I could have the opportunity to have this unforgettable experience.


Overall, I had a really amazing experience at the Oncofertility Conference. It most definitely reaffirmed my interest that I want to pursue a career in the reproductive sciences in the future. To see so many people so passionate about the field was truly inspiring. 

The first day of the conference, there were many meetings, and we attended the Pediatric Initiative Network (PIN) meeting. I definitely felt out of place and couldn’t contribute much to the discussion. Much of the discussion was about finances, programs, and logistics. There were also a lot of acronyms used that Richa and I were not familiar with. Later in the day, we spoke to Dr. Woodruff and went to her house for dinner. I was amazed at the number of people willing to take the time to converse with high school students. Many were genuinely interested in our thoughts, research, and plans for the future. 

On the second day, we attended various lectures in the morning, most of which I understood and found extremely interesting. During lunch, Dr. Woodruff was extremely kind to sit with us. She answered our many questions (about the lectures and topics outside the conference as well). In the afternoon, there was a poster session. Many people came to our posters and asked questions. While I was originally quite nervous about this, I was quickly relieved when the questioning and discussions were pretty informal. 

I am so grateful for this opportunity, and I would have loved to stay an extra day. Dr. Woodruff was extremely welcoming and I really hope I am able to meet her again. I look forward to attending more conferences in
the future.