Virtual Coffee Connection Event


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Virtual Coffee Connection Event

March 11 @ 8:30 am EST - 9:30 am EST

Join us on March 11 for a virtual event designed exclusively for members of the Van Andel Institute Board of Governors and JBoard, as well as the Purple Community Cabinet, event hosts and volunteers.

Top scientists and educators at VAI will share exciting research initiatives and K–12 education programs that are making our world a healthier and more hopeful place. It’s a great chance to learn more about the groundbreaking work taking place on Grand Rapids’ Medical Mile — without leaving the comfort of your home!

Once registered, attendees will receive an access link via email to use the day of the event.

Please note, this event is invitation only.





8:30 a.m.

Welcome remarks & speaker


Ali Chomiak, Ph.D

Dawn McCotter, M.Ed.

Dorian Sargent, Ph.D.

9:15 a.m.

Q&A session with audience

9:30 a.m.

Closing remarks

Ali Chomiak, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Fellow, Rothbart Laboratory
Dr. Ali Chomiak studies the epigenetic mechanisms that give rise to colon cancer, a disease that is becoming more common in younger people. She earned her Ph.D. from Northwestern University and, in 2016, she joined the lab of Dr. Scott Rothbart at VAI. Dr. Chomiak is the recipient of a prestigious Ruth L. Kirschstein National Service Award from the National Cancer Institute, a highly competitive three-year award.

Dawn McCotter, M.Ed.
Teacher Programs Manager
Dawn McCotter, M.Ed., helps teachers bring inquiry-based science education to life in face-to-face and online learning environments. As teacher programs manager for Van Andel Institute for Education, Dawn works closely with educators to understand and meet their instructional needs through initiatives like VAI’s FlexPD and Blue Apple™ teacher professional development programs. Prior to joining the Institute, Dawn devoted more than 12 years to teaching science at Grand Haven High School in Grand Haven, Michigan.

Dorian Sargent, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Fellow, Moore Laboratory
Dr. Dorian Sargent investigates genetics’ role in the onset of Parkinson’s disease. He holds a pharmacy doctorate and an M.S. in molecular and cellular infectiology from the Philippe Maupas University of Tours and a Ph.D. in neuroscience from the Claude Bernard University of Lyon in France.




Contact Sarah Rollman at 616.234.5712 or via email for more information or to become an event sponsor.


March 11
8:30 am EST - 9:30 am EST
Event Category:


MI United States