The Most Important Experiment: Your Career – an Interview with Dr. Joerg Schlatterer

The Most Important Experiment: Your Career – an Interview with Dr. Joerg Schlatterer

This is a guest post by Future of Research policy activist Adriana Bankston. On February 14, 2017, Dr. Joerg Schlatterer gave a talk to the Career Research Advancement Focused Training (CRAFT) seminar series at the University of Louisville entitled “The Most Important Experiment: Your Career”. Following his talk, he graciously agreed to give an interview for the non-profit organization Future of Research, in which he expressed his views on graduate education and career development for trainees.     What is your name and current position? My name is Joerg Schlatterer. I am the manager of the Graduate and Postdoctoral Scholars Office in the Education Division of the American Chemical Society.   How has your research progressed overtime? My research focused on chemistry, biochemistry, and biophysics of nucleic acids. As a chemistry student in Berlin/Germany, I synthesized initiator nucleotides for in vitro selection of RNA enzymes (ribozymes). As a Ph.D. student in Heidelberg, I generated artificial Diels-Alderase ribozymes, which supported the RNA World hypothesis. As a postdoc at the National High Magnetic Field laboratory in Florida, I learned how to solve RNA structures using solution NMR techniques. I added a third element to my research skill portfolio when I joined the Albert Einstein College of Medicine (Einstein)/New York, first as a postdoc and then as an instructor. I learned how to determine folding pathways of large RNAs using time-resolved hydroxyl radical footprinting approaches. I achieved my research goal of mastering all three pillars of RNA research:  generation of artificial ribozymes, examination of RNA structure, and determination of RNA folding pathways.   Tell us about the career development part of your...
Tips for transitioning into a non-research career

Tips for transitioning into a non-research career

This article was originally published on the Careers blog and is shared here with the permission from the American Society for Microbiology. The link to the original article is found here. This article was written by policy activist Adriana Bankston. Many trainees are transitioning into non-research careers. Navigating this transition can be tricky, as the available resources are still scarce and fairly inconsistent in universities across the U.S. Various companies are offering uniform career advice to their clients in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM). One of these very well respected companies, STEM Career Services, is a full service career counseling and job placement company. Their general mission is to help trainees start and sustain a career outside of academia. Dr. Josh Henkin, founder of STEM Career Services, has given numerous career workshops at national meetings. At the 2017 AAAS meeting in Boston, MA, Dr. Henkin held a workshop entitled “Transitioning into a Non-Academic Career,” which was very well attended and successful. The goal of the workshop was to explore the skills and best practices for trainees to transition out of academia. Below we summarize and highlight the main points from this session. Develop a strategic approach: What is the best approach to job searching? In the “traditional” approach, trainees typically start looking for jobs towards the end of their training (which is too late), and are oftentimes not aware of what they are passionate about, or how their skills match desired positions. Alternatively, the “strategic” approach is focused on accumulating relevant experiences (internships, part-time jobs, volunteer work, committee participation) early on. This is critical in learning what you...
So…You Want To Do A Postdoc? Talk by Executive Director at University of Michigan

So…You Want To Do A Postdoc? Talk by Executive Director at University of Michigan

On April 27 2017, Executive Director Gary McDowell gave a talk to graduate students at the University of Michigan, “So…You Want To Do A Postdoc?” The talk presents some data about the postdoc position to provide context for discussing some barriers junior scientists face, and some advice on things to consider. This talk doesn’t aim to be a comprehensive resource, but rather to provoke thought and reflection, and challenge some basic assumptions people may have about the postdoc position.   The talk is available here on YouTube, and the slide deck is available here at F1000Research in the Future of Research Channel. After downloading the PDF of the slide deck it should be possible to click on the links to access the resources and citations mentioned.   A note on the data presented: the talk includes a very preliminary analysis using publicly-available data from the University of Michigan. It is hard to draw concrete conclusions from the data about salaries, but is used to highlight the difficulties in finding out salary info that potential postdocs may face; to challenge the assumption that all postdocs are paid on a defined scale (usually assumed to be the NIH NRSA stipend scale); and to demonstrate that a wide range of salaries can be found, and that postdocs need to ensure they are advocating for themselves in potential negotiations for positions....
How international scientists can advocate, and how U.S. scientists can support them

How international scientists can advocate, and how U.S. scientists can support them

This is a post by the Executive Director that will appear in various forms due to distinct editorial styles across platforms (see the ASCB post here). This post can and will be updated with clarifications and extra information upon request (please contact info [at] futureofresearch.org), to develop a resource page after post-publication peer review of this post. Please consider this a work in progress! The information provided is not legal advice, but is merely a general resource to help identify further sources of information. We hope to build this into a useful and developing resource.   Thanks to @Doctor_PMS for the photo above, from the Rally to Stand up for Science at the 2017 American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) meeting in Boston.   Many scientists are currently looking to become more politically engaged or to advocate for science/scientists in various ways – by marching for science, contacting elected representatives or attending town halls.   As someone in the U.S. on a Green Card I wondered what I can and cannot do in practical terms to advocate for science. There’s some concern among international scientists like myself about their safety when advocating for their cause. This could be a significant barrier to effective science advocacy, given that a large proportion (52%) of all biomedical scientists in the U.S. are foreign-born, according to 2014 U.S. Census data. In addition, there are many “DREAMERs” (undocumented immigrants as defined in the proposed Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act in the U.S., a subset of whom come under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Executive Order) who are in STEM....
New England Future Faculty Workshop for Women in STEM Fields (NE-FFW)

New England Future Faculty Workshop for Women in STEM Fields (NE-FFW)

For the attention of women in STEM who are postdoctoral scholars and PhD students – we have received this call for applications to this workshop:   “We would like to invite women in STEM who are postdoctoral scholars and PhD students to participate in the New England Future Faculty Workshop for Women in STEM Fields (NE-FFW) on the Northeastern University campus in Boston, Massachusetts on August 10, 2017.  The NE-FFW is designed specifically for women in STEM fields who are late-stage PhD students and postdoctoral scholars and interested in an academic career.   The NE-FFW is focused on the academic job search.  The format of the one-day workshop includes faculty-led interactive discussions and peer-to-peer interactions.  Workshop topics include:  Finding Your Institutional Fit, Standing Out in the Interview, Reviewing CVs, Developing a Research Statement, Negotiating the Job Offer, and more.  To learn more about the New England Future Faculty Workshop for Women in STEM Fields, go to: http://www.northeastern.edu/advance/recruitment/future-faculty-workshop/   To participate in the NE-FFW, there are several steps interested people need to take: Apply by May 26th online here. Submit a 300 word statement about why they want to participate Submit their CV Accepted applicants will be notified by June 5th Confirm their participation by paying a $25 registration fee by July 1, 2017and uploading a research statement   This unique opportunity is one they will not want to miss.   Warm regards, NE-FWW Planning Committee   Northeastern University: Penny Beuning, Associate Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology Jan Rinehart, Executive Director ADVANCE Office of Faculty Development Kathleen Kenney, Assistant Director ADVANCE Office of Faculty Development Hillary Hadley, Postdoctoral Research Associate,...
What Career Awareness and Development Resources Are There for Junior Scientists? A Workshop at the 2016 ASCB meeting

What Career Awareness and Development Resources Are There for Junior Scientists? A Workshop at the 2016 ASCB meeting

This is a guest post by Future of Research policy activist, Adriana Bankston.   Introduction Career development for junior scientists remains one of the most important issues in the biomedical research enterprise. Since the perceived notion is that the role of junior scientists is to drive science forward by working at the bench, training them for career success may not be a top priority. However, recent statistics state that only 10% of trainees go on to have a faculty position (Table 3–18 in (National Science Foundation, 2014)). Therefore, training graduate students and postdocs for success in non-research careers beyond the bench must be a major focus of the enterprise. While many U.S. institutions have developed very useful career development programming in this regard, the career training landscape for junior scientists is still inconsistent across the country and may also be lacking important components to help academics transition into non-research careers.   Improving career training for junior scientists can only be achieved if we know what they need from the system. Traditionally, although this is beginning to change, junior scientists haven’t had a strong voice in the matter. At Future of Research, we want to help junior scientists transition into their desired career paths, while giving them a voice in the process. In our workshops, we asked trainees about which career resources they are currently using/finding useful, and what resources they would like to have for career success. We plan to use this information to create a resource on our website, which we hope will be useful towards improving career training for junior scientists.      Previous career workshops In...