2015 Education-Career Development Sessions

2015 Education-Career Development Sessions

The SOT Annual Meeting and ToxExpo in 2015 featured four Education-Career Development Sessions.

Chairperson(s): Brinda Mahadevan, Abbott Laboratories, Columbus, OH; and Hollie I. Swanson, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY.

Endorser(s): Career Resource and Development Committee
Women in Toxicology Education Committee

The magnitude of change in organizations has grown tremendously over the past two decades. A hallmark of successful organizations and individuals is their ability to anticipate and respond to change or even initiate change to meet the demand of the moment. Our current workplace environment must address changes in organizational structure, economic factors, and increase in global competitiveness. As individuals, we encounter changes in family structures, personal expectations, career pathways, and trajectories to dynamically sense and respond with actions that are focused, fast, and flexible. A successful leader, team, or organization will evolve, through purposeful strategies that influence and respond effectively to unpredictable and shifting demands and world events. This session will be composed of four presentations that will focus on the changes currently facing the industry, government, contract research organization, and academic sectors. Within each presentation, organizational changes, leadership challenges, and the impact on the individual will be addressed. Each speaker will emphasize their sector-specific changes and unique adaptations to change. The speakers will thus provide practical advice and concrete examples on adaptive leadership that demonstrate a leader’s ability at all levels to effectively accomplish the initiatives every day.


Introduction to Speakers. Brinda Mahadevan, Abbott Laboratories, Columbus, OH.

Introduction to Session. Hollie I. Swanson, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY.

Undertaking a Range of Activities and Adapting to Changes for the Future in Academia As a Thought Leader, a Communicator, and Teacher. Hollie I. Swanson, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY.

The Lesson of the Oak Tree and the Reed: Adapting to Change in a Corporate Research Environment. Lois D. Lehman-McKeeman, Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, Princeton, NJ.

The Impact of Change in the Government (US FDA) and Its Global Influence on Regulatory Science and Career Development. William Slikker Jr., US FDA-NCTR, Jefferson, AR.

Fostering Change in Developing a Strong Interdependent Relationship between CROs and Pharmaceutical Companies. Shawn Heidel, Covance Inc., Greenfield, IN.

Chairperson(s): Tina E. Levine, Retired, Arlington, VA; and William J. Brock, Brock Scientific Consulting LLC, Montgomery Village, MD.

Endorser(s): Career Resource and Development Committee
Education Committee
Women in Toxicology Special Interest Group

Toxicologists face different challenges at different stages of their career life cycle. This session will explore some of these challenges, and offer potential solutions to those challenges. Industry, academia, and government employ 47%, 21%, and 14% of toxicologists, respectively. For students and postdoctoral trainees applying for jobs in these sectors, the initial challenge in getting that first position is presenting oneself on paper and in person. The goal of the first presentation will be to demystify the US federal hiring process with specific emphasis on how to describe oneself on paper as a toxicologist in order to be considered for a government position. The second speaker will address early-career toxicology positions in industry, and how the roles and responsibilities of the entry-level toxicologist contribute to the developing career. For the mid-career toxicologist, the challenge is often how to keep progressing, whether to pursue a technical or managerial track, and whether to consider transitioning to peripheral disciplines. The mid-career toxicologist speaker will provide guidance on how to develop a broad skill-set to enhance career opportunities. The fourth speaker will address how work/life satisfaction can be attained in the context of careers in science, which are very often a way of life and far more than a job. The tools presented will assist attendees in identifying strategies that can have the biggest impact on their work/life satisfaction and in developing their own personal action plan, whatever their career stage. The final challenge for many toxicologists is how to transition to semi- or full retirement; many toxicologists continue to work either full or part-time as consultants. Some choose to pursue interests long deferred due to the demands of full-time work. The last presentation will explore challenges encountered by the toxicologist as “retirement” and the twilight of a career approach. At the end of the session, a panel discussion will convene to address specific issues that arise in the career of the attendees, and discuss strategies for advancing the toxicology career.


Introduction. Tina E. Levine, Retired, Arlington, VA.

The Nuts and Bolts of Getting Hired As a Government Toxicologist. Tina E. Levine, Retired, Arlington, VA.

Taking the Leap: Myths and Realities of Starting Your Career As an Industry Toxicologist. Jeffrey S. Moffit, FORUM Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Watertown, MA.

Mid-Career Challenges and Opportunities for the Toxicologist. Drew Badger, Amgen, Inc., Thousand Oaks, CA.

Improving Your Work/Life Satisfaction. Donna J. Dean, Association for Women in Science, Hedgesville, WV.

Challenges for the Late-Career Toxicologist. William Allaben, University of Arkansas Medical Center, Little Rock, AR.

Chairperson(s): Sudheer Beedanagari, Bristol-Myers Squibb, East Brunswick, NJ; and Erica D. Bruce, Baylor University, Waco, TX.

Endorser(s): Association of Scientists of Indian Origin Special Interest Group
Career Resource and Development Committee
Graduate Student Leadership Committee

Participants across SOT, namely students and postdocs, who are geared up to transition into their full-time career paths of choice as toxicologists do not have a good understanding of what toxicologists do on a day-to-day basis while working in diverse industries/organizations. Although academic toxicology training programs across the globe are training the students well in the principles and concepts of toxicology, they come short in educating the students/postdocs on the role they play as toxicologists in real-world job scenarios across diverse industries/organizations. Based on these needs and to better equip our young toxicologists, an informational session/education-career development session that highlights or summarizes the different roles toxicologists play in the real-world job settings would be of immense value to students/postdocs in evaluating if their training/personality suits them better in a specific industry/organization over the others. Although it is impossible to cover all the organizations where toxicologists play an important role in one CRAD/informational session, we attempted to represent the major organizations where the toxicologists are hired predominantly in the recent years. Each of the five speakers will be covering the following general topics as part of their 15-minute presentations: (1) How and why the speaker ended up with their respective current affiliated organizations; (2) How they went about securing their first job; (3) The kinds of training/soft skills/interpersonal skills needed to find a job in their respective organizations; (4) The kind of career-growth opportunities an entry-level toxicologist will have with the organization or respective industry; (5) The ONE thing the speaker most likes about their job; (6) The ONE thing the speaker most hates about their job.


Role of Toxicologists in the Pharmaceutical/Biotechnology Industry. Raja Mangipudy, Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, New Brunswick, NJ.

Role of Toxicologists in an Academic and/or Research Institute. Erica D. Bruce, Baylor University, Waco, TX.

Role of Toxicologists in the Cosmetic Industry. Thomas A. Re, L’Oreal USA, Clark, NJ.

Role of Toxicologists in a Federal Organization. Chandramallika (Molly) Ghosh, US FDA, Silver Spring, MD.

Role of Toxicologists in the Nutrition Industry. Brinda Mahadevan, Abbott Nutrition, Columbus, OH.

Chairperson(s): Caitlin J. Murphy, University of Texas-Austin, Austin, TX; and Karin M. Streifel, University of California Davis, Davis, CA.

Endorser(s): Board of Publications
ECareer Resource and Development Committee
Postdoctoral Assembly

Publications are an essential component for a successful career across all sectors of toxicology, including industry, academia, and government. Although mentors provide informal guidance, students and postdoctoral fellows rarely receive formal training on how to develop a high-impact manuscript. Therefore, trainees still have questions regarding the publishing process. A complete understanding of the publication process will benefit junior scientists in formulating research plans, preparing manuscripts, in developing manuscript submission strategies, and in effectively serving as a reviewer—all important elements in a successful career. This session is designed to provide early-career toxicologists with insight into the publication process from the journal’s perspective. Speakers will focus on (1) how to craft a high-impact manuscript; (2) the role of the associate editor, strategies of selecting reviewers, the expectations of a reviewer, and responding to reviewers’ comments; (3) maintaining scholarly productivity in nonacademic careers; and (4) publishing in top-tier journals. Each speaker will also highlight what led to some of his or her most significant publications. Attendees will learn the benefits of publishing in the Society of Toxicology’s journal, how this may help in their unique career path, and define the roles of key players of the publication process. As well, Dr. Marcia McNutt, the editor in chief of Science, will share her insights on what it takes to publish in high-impact journals. This discussion is pertinent to all junior-level toxicologists who are in the process of publishing, undergoing revisions, and reviewing manuscripts. This career-development session will provide the formal training to understanding the entire process of creating a high-quality manuscript.


Introduction to Crafting High-Impact Manuscripts: Questions from Trainees. Caitlin Murphy, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX.

Crafting a High-Impact Manuscript. Gary W. Miller, Emory University, Atlanta, GA.

The Role of Associate Editor. Dana Dolinoy, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI.

Maintaining Scholarly Productivity in Nonacademic Careers. Lois D. Lehman-McKeeman, Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, Princeton, NJ.

Science on Science: Publishing in Top-Tier Journals. Marcia McNutt, Science magazine, Washington, DC.