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2017 Annual Meeting - Saturday Sessions
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Saturday, March 18


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Please note the following intended audience abbreviations: IP - individual postdoctoral scholar; PDA - postdoctoral association; PDO - postdoctoral office; ASSOC – association & societies; ALL - for everyone.

The Academic Career Readiness Assessment (ACRA) Rubric: Helping Biomedical Postdoctoral Scholars Explore, Prepare for and Apply to Faculty Careers
Intended Audience: IP, PDO

PRESENTER: Laurence Clement, Ph.D., Program Director, Academic Career Development, University of California, San Francisco

In this interactive workshop, we will present the Academic Career Readiness Assessment (ACRA) framework, a rubric developed at the University of California, San Francisco’s Office of Career and Professional Development with a grant from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund. The ACRA rubric was created to help biomedical postdoctoral scholars explore, plan for and apply to faculty positions at different types of institutions (research-focused, teaching-focused, and dual focus). The goal of this tool is to level the playing field by providing all postdoctoral scholars with the information they need to obtain a faculty position. As such, it aims to overcome two potential inequities: 1) variation in the level of mentoring that scholars receive from their advisors, and 2) varying levels of familiarity with the higher education system in the United States. In the workshop, we will share our findings about hiring practices at different types of institutions. We will provide an interactive opportunity for postdoctoral scholars to use the ACRA rubric to assess their competitiveness for positions at various type of institutions and reflect on professional development activities they will need to plan to address any gaps they identify in their training. PDOs are also encouraged to attend the workshop to observe first-hand how trainees engage with the tool, and to consider how best to present it to their own trainees.

Communicating Science to Nonscientists - Conversing with Etiquette! INNOVATION IN ACTION
Intended Audience: IP, PDA, PDO

PRESENTERS: Tullia C. Bruno, Ph.D., Research Assistant Professor, University of Pittsburgh, Board of Directors, NPA; Mary Mitchell, President, The Mitchell Foundation

Developing effective communication skills is essential for effective leadership. Without excellent communication, it is difficult to educate and excite others on the topic you are so passionate about. Thus, it is important to not only efficiently convey your research within your specific field, but also to successfully communicate the significance and innovation in your work to a “lay” audience. The skill of communication is often underdeveloped during graduate training, and thus, this workshop will help to enhance this skill. We will begin the workshop by focusing on examples of excellent written and verbal communication, and then we will work on developing the infamous elevator pitch. We will break into groups to work on individual elevator pitches for a lay audience and then we will discuss how to properly present yourself when communicating science to nonscientists. Come and learn how to share your knowledge and ideas in an effective way!

Developing Work / Life Resilience
Intended Audience: IP, PDA

PRESENTERS: Henry (Rique) Campa III, Ph.D., Associate Dean in the Graduate School, Professor of Wildlife Ecology in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Michigan State University; Bennett Goldberg, Ph.D., Director, Searle Center for Advancing Learning & Teaching, Professor of Physics and Astronomy, Northwestern University; Sarah Hokanson, Ph.D., Director, Professional Development & Postdoctoral Affairs, Boston University

This session is focused on building postdocs’ professional resilience - the ability to apply personal and professional resources to cope with, adapt to, and manage challenging situations. Throughout their careers, postdocs are challenged to balance multiple tasks, integrate their work within a team to meet the goals of their employer, all while working to maintain a satisfying personal life. This session will help postdocs develop the skills they will need to manage these responsibilities and interests. Participants will gain an overview of the literature on resilience and the key characteristics of resilient individuals, with activities focused on producing work plans that allow for the integration of personal responsibilities, maintaining a productive and satisfying career, and stress management. This session will also describe the common mental traps that can interfere with productivity and maintaining a satisfying personal life and provide resources to help postdocs reframe their thinking toward positive outcomes. Finally, postdoc participants will be encouraged to apply their new skill by writing advice for hypothetical future postdocs as a demonstration and solidification of learning, and with the notion that advice giving could be developed into a resilience resource.

Discover National Science Foundation Resources that Advance Your STEM Career
Intended Audience: IP, PDA, PDO

PRESENTERS: Nimmi Kannankutty, Ph.D., Deputy Division Director, Division of Graduate Education, National Science Foundation; Barbara J. Natalizio, Ph.D., American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science and Technology Policy Fellow, National Science Foundation (NSF), Board of Directors, NPA

The NSF is an independent federal funding agency that supports basic research ranging from chemistry and the life sciences to economics and anthropology. This workshop will describe how NSF fits into the federal funding system and how the agency is structured to fulfill its mission. Participants will learn about various funding mechanisms available to postdoctoral researchers and institutions, which enhance the professional development of STEM researchers early in their careers. The presenters will also discuss how international researchers can benefit from NSF awards. The presentation will highlight how NSF provides opportunities for postdoctoral researchers and other STEM professionals to expand their professional networks and to refine their core competencies. Unique opportunities such as interacting with NSF program directors and STEM experts during the NSF review process can support the development of discipline-specific conceptual knowledge, communication skills, and leadership/management skills. Small group discussions will facilitate a dialogue between STEM postdoctoral researchers, administrators, and NSF representatives that will help inform governmental decision makers on how NSF funds can most effectively leverage the talent of postdoctoral researchers in the United States.

Next Gen Ph.D.s: Where Ph.D.s Land and What the Data Says
Sponsored by GenScript

Intended Audience: ALL

PRESENTER: Melanie Sinche, M.A., Director of Education, The Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine

For decades, scientists pursued a clear path to success: enroll in a prestigious graduate program, conduct research, publish papers, complete the doctorate degree, and pursue postdoctoral work. With perseverance and a bit of luck, a tenure-track professorship awaited at the end. In today’s academic job market, this scenario represents the exception. As the number of newly conferred science doctorate degrees keeps rising, the number of tenured professorships remains stubbornly stagnant. This workshop will provide an up-to-date assessment of the current career landscape facing doctoral recipients and postdocs in the sciences. Author Melanie Sinche will share proven strategies for landing potential occupations for advanced degree candidates, along with new research data and profiles of recent science doctoral recipients across a wide range of disciplines to demonstrate the breadth of occupations that doctoral recipients currently hold.

Successful Training for Industry Careers
Sponsored by Regeneron
Intended Audience: ALL

PRESENTERS: Philip S. Clifford, Ph.D., Associate Dean for Research, University of Illinois at Chicago; Julie E. Tetzlaff, Ph.D., Assistant Dean of Postdoctoral Education, Assistant Professor of Pathology, Medical College of Wisconsin

Graduate and postdoctoral training in the sciences generally does an excellent job of facilitating the development of critical thinking skills, imparting extensive knowledge of a particular science field, promoting acquisition of superb technical skills, and cultivating the ability to work independently. While these skills are valued by industry employers, they also express frustration that trainees fail to understand some of the fundamental operating principles in the for profit world. Anecdotally, doctoral scientists seem poorly prepared for careers in the biotechnology, pharmaceutical, or medical device arenas. With support from Burroughs Wellcome Fund, we initiated a program of consulting experiences with science-related companies to prepare postdoctoral fellows for careers in industry. Postdocs volunteered with biotech, pharma, medical device companies for 5-10 hours/week for two to three months to complete business-related projects such as market analysis, company valuation, formulating a business plan, FDA regulatory assessments. Overall, the project has been a resounding success and has completed 41 projects for 31 different clients, to date. 17 of 29 consultants have found permanent industry employment and they attribute their successful transitions to participation in this program. Our experience suggests that this model for industry training provides academic scientists with an intuitive understanding of the biotech industry, gives them valuable real-world experience, and helps them transition to permanent positions. This session will provide a thorough explanation of the Postdoc Industry Consultants (PICO) program including data from participants on the importance of this experience in their career progression and an appraisal of some of the many challenges encountered. The audience will participate in a hands on consulting experience. A roadmap will be provided for starting similar consulting programs on other campuses.

A Strong CV Is Not Enough: What You Don't Know Can Hurt You
Intended Audience: ALL

PRESENTER: Mary Mitchell, President, The Mitchell Foundation

Nearly every major hiring decision involves face-to-face interaction. And the interview process is often as much social as formal. This workshop will both heighten your awareness and give you the confidence to present yourself effectively outside your lab. Topics include: Interview skills, communications principles, business etiquette, appropriate dress, and how to thrive at business/social events. This workshop is a constructive resource for PDOs because it heightens awareness of what often holds valuable postdocs back from achieving their interviewing goals.

Enhancing the Connections Between Institutions and Professional Societies in Advancing Postdoctoral Training
Intended Audience: PDA, PDO, ASSOC

PRESENTER: Adriana Bankston, Ph.D., Policy Activist, Future of Research; Sonia M. Hall, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Program Director for Early Career Scientist Engagement, Genetics Society of America

Professional societies have a unique ability to bring together common interests across institutions and to advocate and serve at a national and international level. Institutional offices and associations that serve postdocs have a unique ability to engage postdocs locally, including in person activities. Greater coordination between these two sectors will lead to enhanced postdoctoral training that takes maximum advantage of the strengths PDOs, PDAs, and professional societies can all bring.

This session will be a structured discussion among institutional postdoc and career offices, PDAs, and professional societies to map out current and potential needs for enhancing postdoctoral training and developing a strategy for improving synergy among these stakeholders. For example, which opportunities and training experiences are most effective at the institutional level and how can professional societies help support and promote these programs? How can institutional offices and associations help contribute to national or international efforts led by professional societies and provide added benefit to their local population?

The session will kick off with a panel discussion between the various stakeholders—professional societies, PDOs, career development offices and PDAs—highlighting several of the needs, challenges, and opportunities. Participants will then break into smaller groups to develop a roadmap outlining how the various stakeholders can best complement each other’s activities. Ideas will be shared with the larger group for additional discussion.

How to Use Your Total Research Experiences to Make You Business-Ready and Most Qualified for Your First Professional Job
Intended Audience: ALL

PRESENTERS: Randall Ribaudo, Ph.D., Co-founder, CEO,; Larry Petcovic, M.S., Co-founder,

The challenge for new doctoral scientists to find permanent employment that is rewarding both financially and intellectually cannot be understated. Traditional training for academic scientists largely ignores many of the critical business and social skills that make scientists "business-ready." In this workshop we will explore the general skills valued by business and specific skills to select a best qualified candidate for a job. Each participant will relate specific skills to experiences academic scientists have gained, identify any gaps in those experiences and create a career development plan to address those gaps. We will focus on the business skills associated with project planning, innovation, and execution, as well as the social skills that demonstrate an ability to work with others in a diverse team environment. Enabling, mentoring, communications, leadership will all be addressed. Participants will learn to identify the job skill gaps in their research experience and create a personalized career development plan to address those gaps. The workshop will be experiential by design which encourages the attendees to work in teams, peer coach, and develop sustainable networks that they can leverage in the future as they pursue their career plans.

Immigration, Visas and Other Issues Affecting International Postdocs
Intended Audience: IP, PDA, PDO

PRESENTER: Brendan Delaney, J.D., Partner Attorney, Leavy, Frank and Delaney LLC

MODERATOR: Keith Micoli, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Program Director, New York University School of Medicine

The session will be geared towards international postdocs, as well as allowing PDAs and PDOs to educate themselves with regards to types of visas used. We will discuss what to do after your postdoc, 212(e) waivers, thinking towards permanent residence, and include information for those contemplating careers outside academia. In addition, we will look at other career and live issues that an international postdoc will face during their time in the United States. While the session will mention institutional sponsorship (including Outstanding Researcher and PERM), this will not be a focus of the session because generally an international or HR department have specific policies and procedures in place on that. The session will start by discussing the most common temporary visas that international postdocs hold, including J-1 waivers and touch on other visas (in a more informative way) such as the H-1B/O-1/TN, etc., including how spouses may be able to avail themselves of an immigration benefit. We will look at the type of issues that the postdocs face in terms of visa transition and also how they can build their CV/résumé for purposes of a self-sponsored application (including the types of evidence, documents and material that they need) which may allow them to transition to an employment position of their own accord. This includes a discussion of positions and career paths outside the traditional avenues of academia, as well as the importance of professional networking in the context of building their career and visa application. Other issues will include the procedural aspects and questions that international postdocs face when dealing with and navigating the permanent residence process. In addition to the visa questions, we will also address certain challenges faced by international postdocs. These can include benefit questions (including health, and 401(k) and retirement) as well as housing issues, differences in culture, and learning about career and development and professional networking opportunities. International postdocs therefore need to better understand the broader picture of navigating their time in the United States from both a visa and life standpoint.

Practical Tools for Navigating Your Career Path Evolution
Intended Audience: IP

PRESENTERS: Kathleen H. Goss, Ph.D., Senior Science Writer and Director for Strategic Partnerships, University of Chicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center; Erica A. Siebrasse, Ph.D., Education & Professional Development Manager, American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

How do you identify what career path to pursue? How do you make it happen? As a postdoc, you have successfully pursued a deep appetite for a field of knowledge, but transitioning to charting your career afterward can be an overwhelming process. In fact, it is largely misrepresented that a career path is linear. You should continually evaluate your passions, values and opportunities, because they will change over time. This workshop will focus on practical and actionable tools for (1) defining your current interests, (2) exploring career paths, and (3) creating and implementing a skill-development plan. Participants will develop their own action plans that address these three items during the workshop. This workshop also will address “life outside academia” and developing your professional identity, especially as they pertain to those pursuing non-research careers. The ultimate goal of this workshop is to enable and support participants as they actively identify and evaluate their career options. The session will use examples from the life sciences but will be relevant and transferable for other disciplines. All are welcome to attend and explore practical tools for navigating their career evolution.

Science Sketches: How to Make Videos for Fast, Fun and Accessible Communication of your Research INNOVATION IN ACTION
Intended Audience: IP

PRESENTERS: Lisa Dennison, Ph.D., Postdoc Program Manager, Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics; Liam Holt, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, NYU Institute for Systems Genetics

Effective communication of research is a crucial skill for individual scientists, and is essential for successful public engagement in science. Science Sketches empowers postdocs to communicate and promote their science in an easily digestible format to the public, funders, journalists, the government, and other scientists. With just a few hours of work, anyone can generate a two-minute video to convey the big-picture message of their science. Science Sketches are: (1) concise: the exercise of describing a project or publication in just two minutes leads scientists to extract the most important messages from their work and convey them with maximum clarity. The two-minute time limit also increases viewership by reducing the time commitment of the audience. (2) Engaging: drawings are a simple way to communicate visually. The drawings are sped up in post-production so that they appear as the corresponding words are spoken, keeping the audience engaged with the message throughout the video. (3) Easy to create: the simplicity of the concept means that every scientist has the power to create his or her own Science Sketch. This is an activity that empowers scientists to tell their own story in a new and accessible way. Lisa Dennison and Liam Holt created as a home for short, accessible videos created by scientists about their research. In this workshop, you will learn how to make your own video to share your research with a broad audience. We will show you examples and walk you through the basic steps of creating a Science Sketch, and then you will work in small groups to craft the script that will form the foundation of your video.