An ENDO to Remember, Part IV: A Scientific Oasis

ROB FOWKES (ENDO Council elections)

Only the birth of his children — and a global pandemic — could keep Rob Fowkes, PhD, away from ENDO! A devoted attendee since the Minneapolis meeting in 1997 (even though Prince did not perform), he discusses meeting his heroes, watching his grad students network, and reveling with international attendees over the World Cup finals.

June 1997, and a nearly completed graduate student arrives at Minneapolis Convention Center to attend his first ENDO conference, convinced that Prince would perform at the opening session.

There’s something about seeing scientists that you cite in your thesis over and over again actually exist as real, live people, that is slightly overwhelming.

That was the only disappointment of that first U.S. conference experience, and I left the Mid-West with an expectation level so high for subsequent ENDO meetings that I had probably set myself up for failure. I’d met my then heroes (Pamela Mellon, Willis Samson, Raymond Counis), and heard them speak — there’s something about seeing scientists that you cite in your thesis over and over again actually exist as real, live people, that is slightly overwhelming. But ENDO 1997 showed me just how welcoming the world of endocrinology actually is.

Fowkes strikes a pose with Maria Fleseriu, MD, at ENDO 2022.

Since then, only the birth of my son and daughter (now 18 and 16 years old), and a global pandemic, have prevented me from attending every subsequent ENDO conference. Each year, it is the highlight meeting of the year for me; not just an opportunity to remind myself of what science is, but also the chance to meet up with wonderful friends and colleagues from all over the U.S., and the world.

I’ve attended alone or accompanied by brilliant grad students and postdocs that I’ve been privileged to work with and seen them discover academic endocrine research for themselves – sometimes being amused at them working far harder than me as they met and networked with future postdoc advisors.

Fowkes is one of the many faces in the crowd in this photo from ENDO 2022 in Atlanta.

As a UK-trained endocrine researcher, every four years, ENDO also used to provide a great opportunity to enjoy the England soccer team play in the World Cup, right up until the end of the group stages (where we would inevitably lose to Brazil, Argentina, or Germany, but always in the pub, in the company of our endocrine friends from those countries).

Quite simply, ENDO is my scientific oasis.

Further Reading:

An ENDO to Remember, Part I: Carrying the Torch.

An ENDO to Remember, Part II: Hooked on Endocrinology.

An ENDO to Remember, Part III: All in the ENDO Family.

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