2017 Education-Career Development Sessions

2017 Education-Career Development Sessions

The SOT Annual Meeting and ToxExpo in 2017 featured two Education-Career Development Sessions.

Chairperson(s): Karen E. Stine, Auburn University at Montgomery, Montgomery, AL; and Wade H. Powell, Kenyon College, Gambier, OH.

Endorser(s): Career and Resource Development Committee
Education Committee
Postdoctoral Assembly

Primarily Undergraduate Institutions (PUIs) offer a substantial proportion of the available tenure-track faculty positions in the life sciences. For toxicologists interested in careers that combine research and teaching, a PUI can provide an excellent setting for interdisciplinary research collaborations and the opportunity to introduce undergraduate students to toxicology, in both the classroom and the laboratory. But the process of preparing for, finding, interviewing for, and launching a PUI career differs in terms of strategy and approach from that for a faculty position at a research university, often leaving graduate students and postdoctoral trainees with few role models and limited information on where to start to pursue this career path. This session brings together PUI toxicologists at different career stages to discuss the roles available for toxicologists in traditional academic undergraduate-oriented departments, and to provide advice on how to strategically navigate the competitive job market for tenure track positions at PUIs. Strategies also will be offered for laying the groundwork for success in the critical first few years on the job. The topics discussed will include: (1) a broad overview of the job responsibilities and expectations for PUI tenure-track faculty members; (2) what to expect from the hiring and interview process, and how toxicologists can prepare and present themselves as qualified candidates for PUI positions; (3) strategies, tools, and resources for achieving early successes in both the research and teaching aspects of the job. The session will conclude with a panel discussion, giving postdocs and graduate students considering this career option the opportunity to further explore these topics and others that were not explicitly covered.


Careers for Toxicologists at Primarily Undergraduate Institutions: Everything You Need to Know about the Job, Hiring Process, and Strategies for Success in Teaching and Research.

Introduction. K.E. Stine . Auburn University at Montgomery, Montgomery, AL.

Is a Career at a PUI Right for You? An Overview of Expectations and Opportunities on the Career Path at Primarily Undergraduate Institutions. K.E. Stine. Auburn University at Montgomery, Montgomery, AL.

Navigating the Hiring Process. L.M. Williams. Bates College, Lewiston, ME.

Launching and Maintaining a Successful Undergraduate Research Program. W.H. Powell. Kenyon College, Gambier, OH.

Teaching Toxicology: Preparing Future Faculty for the Toughest Job You’ll Ever Love. C. Curran. Northern Kentucky University, Highland Heights, KY.

Panel Discussion/Q&A.

Chairperson(s): Karilyn E. Sant, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA; and Samantha J. Snow, US EPA, Chapel Hill, NC.

Endorser(s): Career and Resource Development Committee
Graduate Student Leadership Committee
Postdoctoral Assembly

The overwhelming majority of the typical training experience focuses upon doing excellent science and identifying a career path. However, without a bit of personality, even trainees with the most exceptional resume may not stand out in a saturated applicant pool. Soft skills are often ignored in training, but can have a huge impact on the amount of success one obtains throughout their career. This session is designed to bring charismatic leaders in the field to discuss the non-scientific attributes that have contributed to their success, and also the qualities they seek out when identifying candidates for their organizations. Presentations will focus on: (1) how to network effectively; (2) how to present oneself in a professional environment using proper body language and etiquette; and (3) effective communication, leadership, and management skills. These interactive presentations will utilize demonstrations when applicable, and will be followed by a panel of young toxicologists who have successfully mastered these soft skills to transition from trainee to professional across the sectors. These discussions will be highly relevant to all student and postdoctoral attendees, as well as senior toxicologists who want to improve the professional training of mentees. This session will stimulate a discussion about underserved aspects of professional development, and enable trainees to learn and implement an essential skill set which will improve professional relationships throughout their careers.


Mastering Soft Skills to Advance Your Scientific Career.

Introduction. K.E. Sant. University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst, MA.

Networking Effectively to Gain Traction for Your Science. R. Roberts. ApconiX, Alderley Edge, United Kingdom.

First Impressions Matter: Etiquette for the Professional. M. Philbert. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI.

Reflections on a Personal Journey: Learning to Become a Scientific Leader. R. Hines. US EPA, Research Triangle Park, NC.

Early-Career Scientist Panel Discussion: Government. S. McCullough. US EPA, Chapel Hill, NC.

Early-Career Scientist Panel Discussion: Industry. B. Hannas. DOW Chemical Company, Midland, MI.

Early-Career Scientist Panel Discussion: Academia. J. Shannahan. Purdue University,
West Lafayette, IN.