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Kelly Shannon dons a white lab coat in an OSU laboratory, equipment lining the wall on his right and a window framing trees outside on his left.

Ph.D. microbiology student honored as ASM Young Ambassador

By Elana Roldan

College of Science Ph.D. student Kelly Shannon has been selected as Oregon’s young ambassador for the American Society for Microbiology. With only one candidate chosen for each state, he has joined the ranks of distinctly remarkable up-and-coming microbiologists.

The American Society for Microbiology stands as the oldest and largest single life science membership organization with more than 36,000 members worldwide. Its founding in 1899 began decades of work uplifting local scientific communities across the globe. With one hand in public policy advocacy and another in improved inclusion, ASM takes a microscopic field to macroscopic heights for millions.

As ASM young ambassadors, early-career microbiologists become leaders in their communities and facilitate stronger regional microbiology spheres. Through networking, professional development and collaborative efforts, they collectively work to improve science on a broad scale by effecting change in many smaller areas.

“This is a really exciting role where graduate students from each state in the U.S. — and many countries internationally — get to connect other microbiology students and early-career scientists in our respective states or countries with each other and with ASM resources,” Shannon explained.

As the young ambassador of Oregon, he hopes to ease the stress of students deciding what avenue of microbiology research they want to pursue. He plans to host a microbiology career development seminar series open to both undergraduate and graduate students. Oregon State students are welcome to attend in person and those from other institutions will also be able to join on Zoom.

The series will explore microbiology research career options, how to tackle a transition into industry research and how to competitively market yourself and your skills. Thanks to ASM’s wide spread of resources that tie into the content, students will continue to have support when the series is finished.

Shannon’s time at Oregon State, he says, has prepared him for this position more than anything else.

“All of my peers in microbiology, students and faculty, are such intelligent, hard-working people and they have really taught me everything I know about leadership, organization and public speaking to set me up for this role,” he said. “There are too many valuable experiences at OSU to count, but my advisor, lab mates, microbiology professors, department administrators and advisors and fellow microbiology graduate students have helped me the most out of anything.”