Advocating for Science Symposium Travel Awardee Holly Hamilton: Advocating for a Brighter Future of Research

Advocating for Science Symposium Travel Awardee Holly Hamilton: Advocating for a Brighter Future of Research

  This is a guest post written by Advocating for Science Travel Awardee, Holly Hamilton:     Path Towards Advocacy My journey to science advocacy began with a few wobbly steps of self-exploration. I voluntarily started to help evaluate trainee needs at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Smithville, TX. The main needs were for career development and a stronger sense of community. Meeting these needs with professional development workshops, social hours, and one-on-one meeting with trainees helped me to see my path forward. I realized that I wanted to direct trainees towards satisfying careers. The feeling I got from helping students see more appealing “alternative” career options was something like a lightning storm of serotonin in my head that led to pleasant tingling feelings on my scalp. This was in stark contrast to the mind-numbing boredom I had typically felt during scientific talks. With that disparity I realized that academic research was not for me. Helping others recognize their strengths, fill skill gaps, and identify jobs that were personally fulfilling was my thing. After that I think I just assumed everyone would be just as excited about trainees getting into satisfying careers. Current Attitudes in Academia Instead I ran into an invisible barrier preventing people from exploring life outside of academia. It wasn’t a barrier created by a few chromogens, but rather an attitude maintained by most academics. Along with this vague discontent with career exploration there were more defined concerns and assumptions as follows. “If we drastically decrease the number of students and postdocs working in labs, then the biomedical research enterprise will collapse.”...
Advocating for Science Symposium Travel Awardee Tess Eidem: Exploring the Changing Landscape of  the Scientific Enterprise

Advocating for Science Symposium Travel Awardee Tess Eidem: Exploring the Changing Landscape of the Scientific Enterprise

This is a guest post written by Advocating for Science Travel Awardee, Tess Eidem:     Tess Eidem, Ph.D. is a Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Postdoctoral Fellow in the Goodrich-Kugel Laboratory in the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department. Tess has a passion for science communication and outreach and was recently awarded a travel grant to attend the Advocating for Science Symposium at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where participants discussed the challenges faced by scientists and alternative paths one can pursue with a Ph.D.    “The first question people ask is, ‘What do you do?’ A good way to answer that as a scientist is to say, ‘I work for you.’” –Ben Corb, Director of Public Affairs of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB).     In September, I had the privilege to attend the Advocating for Science Symposium held at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where I heard Mr. Corb’s and other science advocates’ message on how to use our diverse skills to move science forward. The mission of the two-day symposium was to: Provide valuable advocacy resources to young investigators (grad students and postdocs) Identify obstacles faced by the scientific community Establish a plan of action to overcome those obstacles The symposium consisted of workshops and interactive panels with policy leaders and communicators designed to help scientists distill their message for a lay audience and explore alternative career paths in science communication, policy, and media. The program also featured a keynote presentation by Dr. Rush Holt, former Congressman and CEO of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Many of these...
Meeting Report: The Advocating for Science Symposium in Boston 2016

Meeting Report: The Advocating for Science Symposium in Boston 2016

On September 16th and 17th 2016, the Advocating for Science Symposium and Workshop was held at MIT, organized by the Future of Research, Academics for the Future of Science, and the MIT Graduate Student Council.   The purpose of the meeting was to give an opportunity to those with a passion for advocating for science to develop their advocacy skills, meet like-minded junior scientists and develop focused efforts together to effect positive change. The meeting attracted attendees not only from the Boston area, but further afield, including travel awardees Elisa van der Plas (Netherlands), Sridhar Vedachalam (Baltimore), Tess Eidem (Colorado), Adriana Bankston (Kentucky), Holly Hamilton (Colorado) and Alex Erwin (Kansas).     The symposium session on Friday evening included talks and a panel discussion, to discuss issues the scientific enterprise faces, strategies used by current advocates to effect change, and examples of past successes and failures. The first talks (which can be viewed here) were from Gary McDowell, Executive Director of Future of Research (slides here), and Christin Glorioso, co-founder of Academics for the Future of Science (slides here), discussing their advocacy efforts involving systemic issues with the scientific enterprise, and funding for junior researchers, respectively. This was followed by a panel discussion (which you can view here) with a group of current policy experts: Kate Stoll, Senior Policy Advisor at the MIT Washington Office; Ben Corb, Director of Public Affairs for the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology; Adam Fegan, Director of the Early Career Scientist Segment at AAAS; and Marnie Gelbart, Director of Programs at pgEd. Finally, the keynote address (which you can view here) was given by Rush Holt, CEO of AAAS and...
Less than a week til FoR Calgary meeting

Less than a week til FoR Calgary meeting

In association with the University of Calgary Postdoctoral Association, the Future of Research Canada Alberta Workshop will be held next week on Monday September 26th from 1pm – 5pm at the Foothills Campus.   The keynote will be given by Dr. Pamela Valentine of Alberta Innovates Health Solutions and the afternoon will include breakout workshops similar to brainstorm improvements to the research enterprise.   There is still time to register here.  ...
Advocating For Science #AdvForSci2016 starts today!

Advocating For Science #AdvForSci2016 starts today!

The day of the Advocating for Science Symposium has finally arrived, with the workshops tomorrow! You can watch the meeting remotely using this link: http://webcast.mit.edu/fall2016/GSC/1637/5/ You can follow the meeting using the hashtag #AdvForSci on Twitter, and following @FORsymp and @SaveScience. The conference website is here for further information, but below you can find the program for today’s events:   Directions: Easiest entry is directly from Vasser Street into Building 34, due to the construction behind the building on campus. Building 34 has a triangular lobby into Vasser Street with a metal girder structure just inside the windows. Room 34-101 is straight ahead when you enter the revolving door.  ...
Updating resources for postdocs about salary changes Dec 1

Updating resources for postdocs about salary changes Dec 1

We are updating our website with resources about the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) salary exemption changes and how they are affecting postdocs. We are still requesting information on what institutions are doing and encourage postdocs to send information on what their institution is doing – and whether the institution has involved postdoc associations and postdoc officers in the process.   Today (September 15) at 4pm EST Executive Director Gary McDowell will give a talk at Tufts on FoR and the FLSA and it will be live-streamed via Webex at http://bit.ly/FoR-Gary. The talk will be recorded, and both it and the slides will be made available soon.   You can read FoR’s statement on the FLSA ruling here....