Travel Grant Program

The ACA is dedicated to facilitating the attendance of students and early career scientists at its annual meetings. Through the generous contributions of individual members and businesses who share our commitment, we are able to offer various forms of support to enable more individuals to participate in our conferences. These contributions play a crucial role in providing opportunities for budding researchers to engage with the structural science community, gain valuable knowledge, and establish meaningful connections within the field.

In 2024, the ACA initiated the acceptance of travel grant applications for ACA2024 in February an the deadline for application submission was April 5th.  The 2025 submission window will open in January of 2025.



2023 ACA Travel Grant Winners

Sophie W. Anferov | Graduate Student, University of Chicago, United States

This was my first chance to attend the ACA conference, and I’m very grateful to receive a travel grant and a Margaret C. Etter Student Lecturer Award for the 2023 ACA Annual Meeting! I’m beginning my fifth year of graduate school (has it really been that long), and I’m trying to figure out what happens next. These honors made it a lot easier to figure out that I’d like whatever happens next to have a lot to do with crystallography! I gave an oral presentation on some of the work I’ve been doing in the Anderson lab at the University of Chicago which focused on using crystal structure bond-lengths as a direct probe for both metal-ligand oxidation states and other fundamental properties (spin state, singlet-triplet gaps in diradicals) in two different families of redox-active ligand-metal complexes. It was a lot of fun to present the somewhat extended families of structures and grow my presentation skills and confidence. In addition to attending many interesting talks (Would you publish this, Cool Structures, Quantum Crystallography, amongst others), I was able to meet a lot of friendly folks with overlapping interests, and I hope to see a lot more of all of them in the future. Thank you again for your financial support, and I really look forward to next time!


Yusu Wang | Graduate Student, Stony Brook University, United States

The 2023 ACA meeting was my first ACA and in-person meeting to attend. I’m very grateful to receive this travel grant, which was a big help for me to go to this conference. I was offered an opportunity to give an oral presentation. This was the very first time I presented my research work to a broader audience outside my project and answered question from them, and it allowed me to practice my professional skills and to get feedback from others. During the conference, I went to many talks and poster presentations given on a variety of topics and chatted with people from different research areas in academia and industry. Exchanging knowledge and discussing ideas is very enjoyable. I not only gained more insights and learned the newest technique advancement in my own research area, but also was exposed to many new concepts outside my field, such as MicroED, CryoEM, Alpha Fold, etc. Many people shared their own perspective and experience about careers after PhD, which is very valuable and helpful.
The ACA is a very welcoming and friendly community, and it is awesome to be part of it. Thanks for offering me the travel grant to attend this event and the people who offered their help and kindness!


Kody Acosta | Graduate Student, California State University, United States

My name is Kody Acosta, at the time of attending ACA I was a Master’s student at California State University, Fullerton, and am now beginning a PhD at UC San Diego. I am incredibly thankful and would like to thank the organizing committee for awarding me the Travel Grant for the annual meeting. This was my first ACA meeting and also my first oral presentation at a conference. I was thankful to see the many diverse and interesting talks throughout the session and network with many amazing crystallographers! Thank you for enabling my travel to attend this meeting, I hope to return soon!



Peter Spackman | Curtin University, Australia

I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to the ACA for the travel grant to attend the 2023 meeting in Baltimore. This helped me be able to participate in-person coming all the way from Perth, Western Australia, and to see all the wonderful work being done - both in the presentations and poster sessions - and to meet so many of the great people doing it.
I particularly enjoyed the diversity of the program, touching on many of my own interests e.g. crystal structure prediction, crystal growth, intermolecular interactions, quantum crystallography and solidifying my interest in emerging topics like electron diffraction and role of machine learning methods in all these areas and more in crystallography.
It was also a golden opportunity to present my own work on intermolecular interactions as an invited speaker, and to forge new connections and collaborations in crystallography and beyond.
Thank you to the ACA for this wonderful opportunity, and a special thanks for all the work put in by the organisers of such a great scientific conference!


Michael Ozide| Graduate Student, New Mexico Highlands University, United States 

Prior to the ACA Annual Meeting 2023 in Baltimore, I had previously engaged in a number of poster presentations at various conferences, which had been quite rewarding experiences. However, presenting my research in a room full of experts from all over the country was undeniably the most anxiety-inducing yet exciting presentation experience of my crystallography career. I am filled with gratitude for having been granted this opportunity, as it not only allowed me to showcase my research but also provided invaluable feedback on enhancing the quality of my research outcomes and encouraged my active participation within ACA. This made the meeting a more fulfilling one for me.
Furthermore, I was able to interact with experts from other universities who were kind enough to share their ideas and insights based on their extensive experience in crystallography. It is amazing how much illumination comes when you interact with people from different backgrounds but sharing similar passion. And because it is my first time in Maryland, I was excited to visit some memorable places like the famous John Hopkins University, and the President’s White House in Washington DC. All these would not have been possible without the ACA Travel Grant award, and for that, I am grateful.


Scott Lee | Graduate Student, Princeton University, United States

The 2023 ACA in Baltimore was my first time attending any conference in person, and it was amazing! As someone who uses other refinement software the workshop in learning SHELXLE was beneficial and started with the assumption of no prior experience which meant I learned a lot. The main presenter was incredible at keeping the room friendly but on track.
The networking was also invaluable – being able to not only meet scientists that I’ve only heard of, but also reconnecting with colleagues I have previously met and making more friends interested in crystallography! The ACA as a whole was extremely well organized, and the travel grant and Etter Award made it extremely affordable to travel and share my work. Everyone, but especially the organizers of my section were incredibly kind and helpful in opening my eyes to the diversity of jobs available to me as a crystallographer, and many talks provided inspiration to what can be possible using X-ray techniques. I appreciated the ability to receive feedback in-person for work I am preparing to publish in a friendly atmosphere.
I am excited to renew my membership and sign up soon for the 2024 Denver meeting!


Kiera Malone | Graduate Student, University of Vermont, United States

Being a 2023 Student Travel Grant Award Winner greatly assisted my ability to attend the 2023 ACA conference in Baltimore. I attended the meeting in Portland in 2022 and knew that I wanted to come back, and having the travel grant made navigating travel expenses much easier. In Baltimore, I was able to make many new connections with people from different academic institutions and industries. I presented in a General Interest session and received many insightful questions about a project that I had recently finished, which was awesome as a young scientist! Additionally, our lab is transitioning to be able to perform cryo-EM experiments, so I was able to learn not only in the workshop involving Advanced Topics in Cryo-EM, but also in the multiple sessions where cryo-EM was the focus. I was also able to catch up with some people that I met the year prior at the YSIG mixer and General Interest sessions. As I am entering the later stages of my PhD, being able to focus on attending career development workshops and the Career Odysses section was extremely helpful. Due to this experience, I am able to formulate a plan for how to move forward navigating this area. The ACA is an amazing society, and I want to thank you for awarding me the Travel Grant for Baltimore!


Justin Galardi | Graduate Student, University of Rochester Medical Center, United States

I am incredibly grateful towards the ACA and associated funding sources for awarding me with the Travel Grant towards this year’s annual meeting. This was not only my first time attending any ACA meeting, but also my first ever oral presentation at a non-undergraduate conference. I was fortunate to speak with the session chairs and fellow speakers before and after my session, which was a wonderful networking experience and opportunity to meet fellow structural biologists. I learned more about Phenix in a hands-on, friendly environment at the workshops, while also being able to see a huge range of different fields throughout the oral and poster sessions. Finally, I enjoyed meeting people at the vendor booths and learned a lot. Thank you for enabling my travel to attend this meeting with such a positive experience.


Arnold Apostol | Graduate Student, York University, United States


Igor Borges | Graduate Student, Universidade Estadual de Goiás - UEG, Brazil


Nicholas Bragagnolo | Graduate Student, York University, United States


Malachi Cope | Undergraduate, East Tennessee State University, United States


Eslam Elbakry | Graduate Student, University of Alabama, United States


Zhen Gong | Post Doc, Columbia University, United States


Jacob Phillips | Graduate Student, University of Alabama, United States


Christina Rodriguez| Graduate Student, York University, United States


Michal Szczygiel | Graduate Student, University of Virginia, United States


Prince Verma | Graduate Student, University of Virginia, United States


Yusu Wang | Graduate Student, Stony Brook University, United States


Wei Wang | Postdoc, Columbia University, United States


Nandini Nandini | Post Doc, The Hormel University, United States