Latest Event Updates

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

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

Non-traditional careers within Academia and how to get them with Nathan Vanderford

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Nathan Vanderford joined us for a great seminar on navigating the world of alternative careers in Academia!  

Where do current US Biology, Agricultural and Environmental PhD Grads work post-defense?

  • 52% in Academia
  • 48% in Industry

It’s OK to not pursue a tenure track position!

Percent of Doctorate Recipients With Job or Postdoc Commitments, by Field of Study
Field 2004 2009 2014
All 70.0% 69.5% 61.4%
Life sciences 71.2% 66.8% 57.9%
Physical sciences 71.5% 72.1% 63.8%
Social sciences 71.3% 72.9% 68.8%
Engineering 63.6% 66.8% 57.0%
Education 74.6% 71.6% 64.6%
Humanities 63.4% 63.3% 54.3%

https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2016/04/04/new-data-show-tightening-phd-job-market-across-disciplines

Use your PhD as a hub for your career path.

Nathan’s Story:

2003: Bachelors in Science
2008: PhD in Biochemistry
2009-2010: Scientific Writer and Editor (Markey Cancer Center, U. Kentucky)
2010-2011: Postdoctoral Fellowship (Moleculr Physiology & Biphysics, Vanderbilt University)
2010-2011: Director of Research Communications (Markey Cancer Center, U. Kentucky)

-decided to pursue and career in administration
-no interviews!!  What now?
-refocused cover letter from research to transferrable skills

-applied for entry level (vs. jobs with experience)
2013: Masters of Business Administration (Midway University)
-Nathan highly recommends an MBA for anyone interested in careers in business or working in a non-profit
2014-present: Assistant Dean for Academic Development (College of Medicine, U. Kentucky)
2014-present: Assistant Professor (Dept. of Toxicology & Cancer, U. Kentucky)
Nathan’s job description:
Provide scientifically-oriented administrative support to all cancer research and related academic/career development activities within the Department of Toxicology and Cancer Biology, the Markey Cancer Center and the College of Medicine
  • Operations manager
  • Administrator 
  • Manager
  • Consultant
  • Strategist
  • PR/Marketing liaison
  • Government affairs liaison
  • Teacher/mentor
  • Career Development
  • Researcher
What does a research administrator do?
Grant and state support activities
  • Kentucky Lung Cancer Research Fund
  • Cigarette Excise Tax Program
  • Cancer Center Support Grant (Ass’t Director for Research)
  • Career Training in Oncology Program (Creator/Founder and Director)
Lots of reporting to the state and government agencies!

Using your PhD as a hub for career selection:

  • Academic affairs
  • Institutional Effectiveness
  • Diversity and Inclusion
  • Library Services
  • Economic Development
  • Extension Services
  • Information Services
  • Philanthropy
  • Finance and Administration
  • Human Resources
  • Marketing
  • Public Relations
  • Sponsored Projects
  • Research Compliance
  • Research Operations
  • Research Development
  • Health Care Entrepreneurship support

How to find your next job:

  • Provide value
  • Network
  • Develop your personal brand
    • your knowledge
    • your value proposition
    • your mission
    • your values
    • your skills
    • your vision
  • Use social media to advertising and demonstrate your brand
    • Twitter, Reddit, LinkedIn, Blogger, LinkedIn, Instagram
  • Gain practical work experience in your field of interest through internships, volunteering and collaborations