The Scholar Retreat held annually invites scholars and mentors to attend a 3-day meeting. This meeting focuses on bringing junior scientists together from various areas of cancer research. The collaborations and innovative ideas that come from this meeting have been numerous and outstanding. The mentors provide great guidance regarding science and career for these junior scientists.
At the Retreat, the Scholars share their research with the other Scholars and Mentors. Each Scholar will participate in four sequential retreats, with all expenses paid by WGFRF. The opportunity for Scholars to connect and form relationships with researchers from completely different areas of cancer research and to have a sort of peer review is one of the most valuable roles of the Retreat. Through Mentors, the Retreat offers Scholar's guidance on practical career issues such as writing grants and preparing successful scientific publications.
Each year, the Scholar Retreat coincides with the Foundation’s annual ‘Blue Jean Ball’ fundraiser. All Scholars attend this event, providing them an opportunity to meet with families whose lives have been directly affected by cancer. This experience resonates particularly with scientists who, unlike clinicians, do not have contact with patients, by putting a human face on cancer.
The scholars of the 2019 retreat covered a diverse range of cancer topics, which included immune therapies, chromosome abnormalities, cancer predisposition and MYC genes. Although the scientists work on these seemingly disparate fields, it was amazing to see how many ideas each other had about how these problems can be inter-related. The forum also covered lots of mentorship from the more senior faculty, a “starting your laboratory 101” session for those who haven’t begun their own laboratory, and, of course, plenty of spotted cow beer and wacky ping pong tournaments.
The cancer field has generated a tidal wave of new information over the past decade, especially in all of the fields covered by the scholars. However, most of the time we become very near-sighted in our own fields and fail to see the bigger picture. It was very helpful to stimulate tons of conversation about each other’s topics, which generated lots of new ideas and collaborations.
There were many ideas generated for everybody’s projects and everyone who presented went home with a long list of experiments and concepts to contemplate. There were also collaborations formed within several disciplines, and maybe more importantly, across different disciplines. As the chair of the meeting, having attended the meeting 6 years in a row, I can absolutely attest to this annual meeting leading to more thought provoking dialogue than any other time during my academic year.
Venue & Travel Information
Travel forms are due 30 days prior to the start of the meeting to allow enough time to plan transportation.
Milwaukee's General Mitchell International Airport (MKE) is the preferred airport as it is only 45 minutes from the meeting location.
- Arrivals - Thursday at 1 PM, 3 PM and 5 PM
- Departures - Sunday at 10 AM and 12 PM
Chicago's O'Hare Airport (ORD) is 1 1/2 hours from the meeting location without traffic. The Foundation can only accommodate 1 pick up per day at O'Hare. If you absolutely must fly into O'Hare (ie: International Flights) the Foundation will have the following pick up times at O'Hare:
- Arrivals - Thursday at 3 PM
- Departures - Sunday at 10 AM
Any other arrival times at Chicago's O'Hare airport must be arranged and paid for by the individual.
Please familiarize yourself with our policies and procedures for travel. We truly appreciate you taking the time to participate in this meeting. As you make your plans, please remember that we are a nonprofit organization dependent on donations and volunteers. We do NOT pay for upgrades, change fees, incurred costs resulting from a flight change, transportation to or from your local (home side) airport, meals or other incidentals.
- Travel Confirmation will be sent out within 1 week of the meeting. This will include a hotel confirmation number, if there is one, and airport transfer details. We have to wait until we receive almost everyone’s travel to book airport transfer. Due to frequent airline changes, we wait until the week of the meeting to send this out.
- Airport transfer is provided by Foundation staff, volunteers or arranged shuttle at specific times. If you opt to utilize Foundation airport transportation on your travel form, please be patient in receiving this information. We will send it to the week of the meeting.
- Speaker agenda is not sent out prior to the meeting. It will be provided upon arrival in the meeting packet. We do not tell people when they are speaking because we expect everyone to attend all sessions. Sessions are all day Friday and Saturday.
- REMINDER: We do not reimburse for home side airport transfer or incidentals while traveling. We will not honor miscellaneous receipts sent for these expenses.
- Spouses are welcome to come with you at their own cost but are not allowed to attend the meeting. Please no children.
What the Foundation Pays
Accommodations and meals are provided by the foundation during the meeting. Airfare will be covered only if booked through our travel agent. The Foundation will also cover airport transportation on the meeting side at the designated shuttle times. You can select not to utilize Foundation arranged transportation at your own expense when completing the travel form. Once your travel form is received your accommodations and airport transfer will be confirmed. Please let us know of any food allergies or other information we should be aware of on the travel forms.
- If you would like your airfare covered by the Foundation, you must book with our travel agent. Note we do not cover upgrades, changes, late bookings, etc.
- Flights must be booked at least 30 days prior to the meeting to confirm your accommodations and airport transfer.
- As a nonprofit we utilize volunteers and other methods to maximize our efforts (or our donor support) when making accommodations and arranging ground transportation. Ground transportation will be provided upon your arrival either by a foundation volunteer or arranged shuttle. You will be provided airport transportation information the week of the meeting. We do not reimburse for home side airport transfer or incidentals while traveling.
Abstracts are due 30 days prior to the start of the meeting to allow enough time to prepare the meeting book.
The abstracts should be only one or two paragraphs outlining the theme of your presentation and should reflect the objective and spirit of the meeting (see above). Abstracts will be circulated about one week before the meeting. The meeting organizer will start requesting them a month before the meeting.
The meeting structure has been developed over years of experience.
- Participants have approximately 45 minutes, depending on the number of participants, for their presentation and discussion. The presentation is meant as a conversation start and should last about twenty minutes briefly covering background information and areas that are new or need further input. This should be structured in such a way as to lead to a lively discussion. Participants are encouraged to interrupt to ask questions or start discussions.
- A MAXIMUM of 5 slide equivalents per presentation is allowed (Power point slides should not contain more than one graph or gel per slide and no more than 5 bullet points to stress the points being made by the presenter.) We appreciate cooperation with the spirit of this guideline. Handouts are welcome but should be distributed before sessions.
- Everyone is expected to actively participate in every session and discussions.
- The time spent at the meeting is relatively short, so please be familiar with papers received prior to the meeting.
- It is very important that you commit to all sessions of the 2 days of meetings.
Forbeck Scholars Participation
Scholars are selected for each Forbeck Forum. These are outstanding junior clinical or post-doctoral fellows selected based on the quality and relevance of science.
- Scholars present for 30-45 minutes, depending on the number of participants
- The same presentation rules apply for scholars
- After the Forum you are selected to attend, you will attend three years of Scholar Retreats held in Lake Geneva, WI. If you attend a Fall Forum, you will attend the Spring Retreat. If you attend a Spring Forum you will attend a Fall Retreat.
- Scholars are selected by the Foundation Scientific Advisory Board and peer reviewers selected from past Forbeck Scholars.
The outline below illustrates a typical program schedule. You will receive a complete schedule, including speaking times, the Thursday the meeting starts.
Frequently Asked Questions
Below are some of our most Frequently Asked Questions. If you have something new to ask, please feel free to contact us.
- Frequently airport transfer is provided by volunteers. Please be patient on receiving this information. Airport transfer will be sent out prior to arrival.
COVID Policies and Updates
- Everyone must be vaccinated to participate.
- We require proof of a recent test or provide rapid testing upon arrival. We will try to find resources for you to arrange specific testing for your return flight, if required to travel.
- Masks are optional unless mandated by local law and regulations.