A highlight of being a Forbeck Scholar is the opportunity to participate in the annual Scholar Retreat. Each year, 16 past and current Forbeck Scholars are invited to Lake Geneva, Wisconsin for a weekend scientific gathering. Here, the Scholars share their research with the other Scholars and with three or four mentors. These mentors are senior scientists and clinicians, often members of the WGFRF Scientific Advisory Board, or past participants in the Annual Forum. The mentors serve to guide the flow of the agenda and discussions. Each Scholar will participate in four sequential retreats, with all expenses paid by WGFRF.
The Scholar Retreat is funded and organized by the Scholar Board, an entity formed in 2002 by a group of young Chicago professionals, many of whom had been touched by cancer through family or friends. The Scholar Board chose to support the scientists in the early stages of their careers in cancer research.
The key objectives of the Scholar Retreat are:
- Expedite current research
- Initiate new and novel paths in science
- Bridge the gap between institutions and scientific specializations
- Share issues relating to the career path of a young investigator
The opportunity for Scholars to connect and form relationships with each other, as well as identify common interests, is one of the most valuable roles of the Retreat. Through the mentors, the Retreat offers Scholars guidance on practical career issues such as writing grants and preparing successful scientific publications. Each year, the Scholar Retreat coincides with the Foundation’s annual ‘Blue Jean Ball’ fundraiser. All Scholars attend this event, an opportunity to meet with families whose lives have been directly affected by cancer. This experience resonates particularly with scientists who unlike clinicians do not have contact with patients, by putting a human face on cancer.
One metric that speaks to the success of the Forum are the overwhelmingly positive quotes collected over the years from Forum participants. These quotes are presented throughout the summaries of each meeting.
The 2013 Scholar Retreat will be held September 12-15, 2013 and will be chaired by Carl Novina, MD, PhD from Dana Farber. He first became a Forbeck Scholar in 2007.