An abstract challenge

by Lorien E. Menhennett

I first saw my name in print in the fall of 1999. It was my first semester of college. I had taken a journalism class because my advisor told me not to. When I fell in love with reporting and writing, my journalism TA hooked me up at the school newspaper. My first article was a feature on cider making at the local apple orchard.

That was 17 years ago. It’s still a thrill to publish — to share my written work with the world. These days, most of that takes place via this blog or the online magazine where I write a monthly column. Most of my work consists of personal essays.

But last week, I submitted a different sort of writing — a research abstract based on my work in rural Uganda this past summer. If the American Geriatrics Society (AGS) accepts my abstract, I will present a poster at the organization’s national conference in San Antonio, Texas, in May 2017.

I do have another scientific publication — a secondary authorship on a paper from the Drosophila melanogaster (fruit fly) lab where I worked for a semester while taking my medical school prerequisites. But this would be my first time as a first author. And this would be my first foray into the world of clinical research.

Acceptance here is by no means a guarantee. And my topic is somewhat outside the typical AGS fare, so I’m not holding my breath. Even if I don’t get accepted, going through the abstract writing process was still a wonderful experience. Distilling all that work into fewer than 2,650 characters was something else. That taxed even my editorial expertise.

All that said: *fingers crossed.* I’ll find out by February.

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