Postdoc

AAAS Mass Media Science & Engineering Fellowship

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The American Association for the Advancement of Science’s Fellowship application window is closing soon! If you’re interested in science communication, take a look!


AAAS Mass Media Science & Engineering
Fellowship

Providing career exploration for over 40 years.

2018 application available
October 16 – January 15!

The AAAS Mass Media Science & Engineering Fellowship places science, engineering, and mathematics students and postdocs at media organizations nationwide. They have worked as reporters, editors, researchers, and production assistants at media outlets that include the Los Angeles Times, WIRED, National Public Radio, National Geographic, and Scientific American.

The Mass Media Science & Engineering Fellows use their academic training in the sciences as they research, write and report today’s headlines, while sharpening their abilities to communicate complex scientific issues to the public. The Fellowship experience broadens the participant’s career path while increasing the public’s understanding of science and technology. For additional information about the program visit aaas.org/mmfellowship.

Sign up for your employee dental insurance by August 1!

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To enroll please complete 


Tufts University is pleased to announce that payment for the voluntary dental plan will now be processed by payroll deduction making is a more affordable option for dental insurance for Tufts University postdoctoral scholars! 


This insurance is voluntary and consists of the Delta Dental PPO Plus Premier Plan.  Please enroll by August 1 to be eligible for dental insurance between September 1, 2017 – December 31, 2017

Effective September 1, 2017 Tufts Support Services (TSS) will handle the administration and billing of the voluntary Delta Dental Plan.
The voluntary Delta Dental PPO Plus Premier Plan that is offered will run on the calendar year starting January 1, 2018. Information will be emailed to you in November 2017 on how to enroll and information regarding the new policy year, January 1, 2018 – December 31, 2018. 
Questions regarding plan benefits should be directed to Delta Dental at 800-872-0500 or www.deltadentalma.com . When selecting a dentist, please make sure to select in the Delta Dental PPO network,http://wsprod.deltadental.com/DentistSearch/MassachusettsDentistSearchController.ccl.

For enrollment questions, please contact Gianna Vroom, Director of Student Advisory & Health Administration Office at Gianna.Vroom(at)tufts.edu 


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!

 

Workshops in Preparing Future Professionals: A Model in Postdoc Career Development

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We were joined by Nathan Vanderford from the University of Kentucky on the second part of his seminar series, this time demonstrating valuable tools and lessons to develop a course or workshop on professional development for PhDs!





Realities of today’s workforce with PhD degrees

2% unemployment

52% within academic
48% outside academia

26% for profit
9% non-profit
8% federal employment
3% self-employed
2% state employment

Graduate students interest in moving into the tenure track declines over time:
41.7% First Year
21%Third Year
(Fuhmann et al CBE Life Sci Ed 2011)

But, there is no concerted training for alternative careers!

Goals of the course:
– Understand the realities of the job market
– Realise what skills are required to transition
– Identify resources
– Take action to prepare for their chosen career

Five Major Didactic Requirements:

Career Exploration
– Explore the career paths that are of interest to them
– Written paper on necessary skills

Transferrable Skills
– Perform a self assessment and create action plans for improving identified weaknesses

Informational Interviews
– Students contact an individual in their ideal career and conduct an informational interview to develop networking skills
– How did the interviewee obtain their workplace skills?
– How did graduate skill prepare you for this career?
– Expand student’s network by asking for additional points of contact

Career Development
– Students obtain experiences in critical components of the job search process including résumé and cover letter writing
– Practice interviewing and job search execution

Student Engagement
– Students interact with guest speakers as well as present their finding from each assignment to promote student-driven discussions

Demographics:
6% Postdocs
55% PhD trainees
32% Master’s students
6% Other (undergraduates, non-degree seekers)

Course Strengths:
– Safe environment to explore their career options and work through options in a positive way
– Self-assessment
– Identification of career options
– Student engagement
– Student-driven discussion
– Diversity of disciplines
– Development of work readiness skills

Course Challenges:
– Diversity of disciplines (which guest speakers, from which disciplines)
– Tuition (who pays?)
– Permission to attend (scheduling of the class versus time spend for research)
– Course versus workshop format

Course versus Workshop Format

Course:
Positives:
– Sustained engagement
– Incentives (grade) to participate
– Effective platform for exercises

Challenges:
– Costly
– Limited reach
– PI resistance

Workshop:
Positives:
– Free
– Reach a larger audience

Challenges:
– Interrupted engagement
– No incentive to participate in exercises
– Non-effective platform for exercises

Future Plans:
Certificate Program:
– Work hours component (4 hours)
– Course hours (2 hours)

Tips for trainees:

Goal setting tips:
– Write out goals and map out a strategy
– Post your goals where you can easily see them

Career Exploration and Networking:
– LinkedIn
– Alumni network
– Informational interviews
– Work Experience

Transferrable skills:
– Functional skills
– Knowledge-based skills
– Personal traits and attitudes

– A realistic assessment helps with your placement and career success

Tools to assess transferrable skills:
– Science Careers myIDP
– Gallup StrengthsFinder
– SkillScan
– MN Career Pathways
– Myers-Briggs Type Indicator

Getting More Out of Tufts’ Libraries with Laura Pavlech

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We were joined by Laura Pavlech, Research and Instruction Librarian at Hirsh Library and liaison to the Sackler School to learn more about library resources available to postdocs!

Library Essentials for Postdocs 

 

Laura Pavlech – Research and Instruction Librarian at Tufts University Hirsh Health Sciences Library


Contact info for the Hirsh Library (at the Boston Campus):
(671) 636-6705
Tufts University Libraries (6 total):

 

  • Hirsh Health Sciences Library (Boston Campus): Floors 4-7 on the Sackler building
  • Tisch Library (Medford Campus)
    • Lilly Music Library
  • Ginn Library (Government and International affairs at The Fletcher School)
  • Webster Family Library at the Vet School (Grafton Campus)
  • Digital Collections and Archives

The librarians can help with:

  • Literature search
  • Finding data and statistics
  • Using citation management programs
  • Developing data management plans (RDMS project, run by TTS – electronic lab notebooks)
  • Answering scholarly communications questions
  • Citation analysis and measuring research impact
All the libraries have their own websites. The Tisch library also has its own chat.
 
 
For upcoming workshops (WebEx-based): tischlibrary.tufts.edu/get-help/workshops
  • “Workshops on Demand”
  • You can also request a workshop for your lab or group at the library
  • Every Tufts postdoc should get a username and password to access their library account
None of their resources require VPN!
To request interlibrary loans (ILLs): https://illiad.library.tufts.edu
  • If not available at the library, there is a charge of $4 for each request
 
Options to search for a journal:
  • hirshlibrary.tufts.edu -> Click on eJournals tab, write down the journal name, and the page will redirect to BrowZine to do the search (browzine.com/libraries)
      • Does not allow you to save PDFs
      • If at home, use BrowZine
  • Jumbo Search
  • Google Scholar
    • You can change your settings at Google Scholar:
      • Library links -> Search for Tufts University -> Check the Tufts University box -> Click on “Save”
  • FindIt@Tufts
    • For articles available within the library, you can request it and they print it out for you.
    • If not available within the library, go to ILLiad to request an interlibrary loan https://illiad.library.tufts.edu
 
Resources to find protocols and methods:
 
Approach to literature search:
  • Visualizing the literature search as a scientific approach.
  • Focused question:
    • “What is it you really want to know about?”
  • Identify key words/concepts
    • What is the topic?
    • What is the info needed?
    • Where can you find this info?
  • Look at the library research guide or ask the librarian
 
Indexing in PubMed:
  • Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) – standardized terms
    • Will be located at the bottom of the PubMed search page, once a paper is selected
    • Because it’s people who create the MeSH terms, sometimes it takes a little longer to do the search for a specific combination of words
    • MeSH terms are organized on a hierarchy and can be automatically searched on PubMed
    • Where to find a particular MeSH term?
      • Search for a particular term on the main search box -> Look at the “Search details” box on the right side of the screen (may need to scroll down a bit to find it)
      • Search can be restricted by using sub terms on the MeSH database directly
      • Set up a personalized PubMed account:
        • Saves your searches
        • Break down your search by using 1-2 search term combinations and using “and” (to restrict your search) or “or” (to broaden your search)
          • Words on the search results will be highlighted
        •  Results will also be emailed to you
For writing a systematic review:
  • Request help from a librarian to find the right search databases as well as construct the right search terms
 
Popular workshops:
  • EndNote
  • Systematic Review
  • PubMed