Meet Jazmine Robinson, Science Conference Planner at HudsonAlpha

Scientific research does not take place in a vacuum. Instead, successful research involves openly collaborating and sharing ideas and knowledge with other scientists and the public. Science conferences are a great platform for scientists to come together and share their findings. 

At conferences, researchers from across the globe present their studies through poster presentations, oral talks, and over coffee breaks and happy hours. Conferences allow scientists to get valuable feedback that can strengthen their research and even spark unexpected collaborations. Science conferences are also really meaningful for students and young trainees because they not only get to learn a lot about their fields but also get to make meaningful connections that could help them in their future endeavors. 

The HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology acknowledges the value of science conferences, having hosted numerous conferences on their campus over the years. But conferences don’t just happen magically, there is a lot of logistical work involved in pulling off a successful conference. At HudsonAlpha, the magician behind the curtain is Jazmine Robinson, the Conference Planner and Communications Coordinator. In honor of the 2024 CROPS conference this week, let’s get to know more about Jazmine. 

Sarah Sharman: Tell me a little about yourself.  

Jazmine Robinson: I grew up in Florence, Alabama, where most of my family still lives. I have a bachelor’s degree in public communication from the University of North Alabama and a master’s degree in advertising and public relations from The University of Alabama. I am currently working on my PhD in public affairs at Tennessee State University. I’ve lived in Huntsville since 2016. I have a ten-year-old daughter named Wynnie, who keeps me really busy outside of work.  

Sarah: What do you do as the conference planner at HudsonAlpha? 

Jazmine: I have the incredible opportunity of planning scientific meetings hosted on HudsonAlpha’s campus. To date, I’ve coordinated four international conferences and several smaller events. My job is super exciting, and I love it. I have the opportunity to travel to many different places and work with brilliant minds from all over the world. I love my role because of my unique position of being able to work with every department at HudsonAlpha to make the conferences happen.

Sarah: Have you always worked in conference planning and communications? 

Jazmine: Although I have never officially served as a conference planner before, I have had the good fortune of helping to plan various public-facing events in previous roles. My very first job was with the Books-A-Million corporate headquarters. My role there was planning the grand openings and re-openings and coordinating the book signings for the entire chain. I organized many fun activities: Saturday morning storytime, book clubs, book fairs, and movie tie-in events for each store. It was so much fun. 

At subsequent jobs, some of my tasks involved the founding and project management of a successful 5K race for a nonprofit I worked for in Birmingham. I’ve planned health and wellness fairs, meetings, training events, and large groups, as well as serving on national boards for several organizations. All of my previous job skills and experiences fell into place to help me thrive in my current role at HudsonAlpha. 

Sarah: How do you like being a non-scientist in the science field? 

Jazmine: I never did well in science as a student in grade school, it was always a subject that was difficult for me to grasp. I am much more well-versed in the arts than in the sciences. Being here has given me an opportunity to learn and grow from people I admire and respect not only their work but also the fact that their minds can grasp a subject that I cannot even wrap my mind around. But I love that being here as someone with a more liberal arts background, I am able to make a contribution in STEM that is important and relevant. 

Sarah: What do you like to do in your free time when you’re not planning conferences? 

Jazmine: When I am not at work, my main duty is chauffeuring a ten-year-old to her various activities. I love being a basketball, softball, and volleyball mom to my daughter. I enjoy spending time with Wynnie and my friends and family, and I’m also active in my church ministry. 

I really enjoy distance running, and I’ve competed in several marathons and half-marathons. I love the training and the feeling of accomplishment after you do something you never thought possible. And I think that ties into my personality in general. There are obstacles in front of everyone every single day, and overcoming them is so powerful.