Month: January 2017

Positioning Yourself for Success with Melanie Sinche

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Melanie Sinche, NCC, from Jackson Labs and author of Next Gen, PhD joined us to show where PhDs are going and what they did to get their dream jobs!
 

After the PhD/Postdoc: Positioning Yourself for Success with Melanie Sinche, NCC  (Jackson Labs) and Author of “Next Gen PhD”

 

  • Jackson Labs is hiring at their Farmington, CT location!
    • 60 positions open for people with experience in:
      • Genetics
      • Genomics
      • Computational biologists
      • Software engineering
      • IT
  • Where have PhDs in the Sciences have ended up?
    • Melanie performed a survey looking at PhDs who graduated between 2004 and 2014.
    • Many respondents happy with their jobs after academia and wanted to become part of the survey.
    • According to the survey (n > 4K people):
      • 68% have one postdoc
      • 27% 2 postdocs
      • 4% 3 postdocs
    • What can you do about yourself:
      • Career assessment
      • Correct gaps in education/training
      • Job search
    • Evaluate your interests:
      • What gets you excited?
      • What really drives you?
    • How important PhDs think some skills are required for a job can change between how important they would be at the current job.
  • Values:
    • Work-life balance?
    • Salary?
    • Work stability?
    • Work independence?
    • There’s really no wrong answer
    • In the survey: “Intellectual challenge” was the predominant criteria for PhDs to accept a job.
  • What jobs are out there and how to get them?
    • In her survey sample:
      • 22% are in tenure-track faculty positions (that’s high!)
      • 13% are in non-tenure track faculty positions (seems about right)
    • According to recent NSF data: 14% go into tenure-track faculty
    • According to AAUP data (took into account every faculty position in the US): 68% into non-tenure tracks (adjuncts, contingent faculty) – eliminating tenure-track lines
      • A lot of people do teaching at night and have a day job.
  • A lot of PhDs are staying in jobs within universities – 49% – they like the university vibe
  • Within education – most of them end up in research institutions, followed by (in order from high to low) liberal arts colleges, community colleges, medical schools
    • Example: Jim Gould, PhD – Director, Office for Postdoctoral Fellows at Harvard Medical School
    • Jobs:
      • Academic Advisor
      • Director, Core Facility
      • Biostatistician
      • Grants Administrator
      • Data Analyst
      • Laboratory Manager
      • Technology Transfer Specialist
      • Associate Dean
      • Research Scientist
  • Within government – in order from high to low: federal government, state government
    • Positions:
      • Field Application Specialist
      • Astrophysict
      • Epidemiologist
      • Grants Administrator
      • Chemist
      • Watershed Ecologist
      • Staff Scientist
      • Biologist
      • Consultant
      • Policy Analyst
      • Program Officer
  • Within biotech/pharma – in order from high to low: biotech, pharma, medical devices and diagnostics
    • Example: Manisha Sinha, PhD – Scientist in Drug Development at Biogen Idec
      • Got her job by attending seminars, campus workshops and networking
    • Positions:
      • Vice President, R&D
      • Regulatory Affairs Specialist
      • Product Development
      • Medical Writer
      • Data Scientist
      • Marketing Specialist
      • Computational Biologist
      • Medical Science Liaison
      • Team Leader
      • Technical Support Specialist
  • Within the non-profit sector – in order from high to low: research foundation, professional societies, intergovernmental/nongov’t organizations, educational services, non-profit research, museums and botanical gardens
    • Example: Raluca Ellis, PhD – works as director of The Franklin Institute (climate change)
      • Got her job by taking extra coursework, volunteering for the Cambridge Science Festival, Museum of Science in Boston, etc.
    • Positions:
      • Editor
      • Senior Scientist
      • Statistician
      • Project Manager
      • Science Writer
      • Engineer
      • Museum Educator
      • Executive Director of Education
  • How do PhDs get the extra experience?
    • Networking
    • Self-teaching
    • Collaborations
    • Coursework
    • Professional programs
  • Melanie’s favorite job titles’ according to the survey:
    • Coordinator of Freshwater Turtle and Tortoise Conservation
    • Volcanologist
    • Aerospace Physiologist
    • Nanofossil Biostratigrapher
    • Virtual Lab Manager
    • Video Game Designer
    • many more!
  • What do people do on their day-to-day, according to the survey?
    • 40% basic research
    • 36% teaching
    • 34% applied research
  • Was a PhD required for the job, according to the survey?
    • 80% said it was required/preferred for their current position!
    • PhDs in high demand!
  • How do you find a job?
    • Talk to your career counselor or postdoc adviser
    • Network
    • Join professional associations
    • Do informational interviews – meet people in person
    • Save enough time to plan
  • Who are the happiest? PhDs outside of the tenure-track
  • Melanie planning to set up a follow up study/survey
  • Feel free to connect with Melanie Sinche through LinkedIn!

 

How to Network Like a Pro at Scientific Meetings

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Dan Jay, Tufts University Faculty and Postdoctoral Officer joined us to teach us how to maximize the opportunity of attending scientific conferences!



How to Network Like a Pro at Scientific Meetings



When you run a lab, you run a small business
  • You have to create your brand
  • Keep focused on your scientific strengths and goals 
How do you work a meeting (pre-work)?
  • Be yourself but develop a professional persona
  • Be (positively) memorable
  • Prepare ahead of time (do your homework)
  • Meet new people
  • Be strategic – who do you want to meet and why?

Management 101 for Scientists

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We were joined by Joanne Kamens, Executive Director of Addgene to learn more about management and leadership skills for scientists!

What makes people happy?

  • Flexiblity
  • A strong sense of engagement
  • A feeling of being appreciated and valued
  • Having freedom and diversity in their jobs
  • Maintaining good relationships with clients and colleagues 
Communicating effectively
  • Reach out – manage by walking around, use chat, Slack and email
  • Ask direct feedback in non-public settings
  • PAC: Patiently listen.  Ask at least one question.  Confirm that you heard the message accurately.
  • Demonstrate that you got the message
    • Repeat to clarify
    • Act on information publicly
    • Credit and reward the person who gave the feedback
  • Focus on feedback that adds value and impacts the decision
Giving Feedback
  • Be clear
  • Tailor your message to the individual
    • Do they hear both positive and negative feedback well?
Delegating
  • Delegate, don’t micromanage
  • Delegate to the lowest organizational level
    • Offer the chance for growth
  • Focus on the results – what do you want to accomplish?  Be detailed and let your team go.
Effective communication
  • Document and share action items
  • Follow up conversations with an email outlining the key points
Good Tips for first time managers
  • Don’t make changes too early
  • Don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know”
  • Reach out for help
  • Allow your direct reports to adjust to you and your managerial style
For additional info: Read “Skills for New Managers” by Morey Stettner