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Education-Career Development Sessions

The Evolution of the Postdoc: Transitioning from Trainee to Professional in the Modern Era

Wednesday, March 16, 12:30 PM to 1:50 PM

Room 220

Chairperson(s): Karilyn E. Sant, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA; and Samantha Snow, US EPA, Research Triangle Park, NC.

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

The postdoctoral experience has changed considerably over the past decade. The number of postdocs in the United States has been consistently growing, as has the time spent in this transitional position. The average age at which scientists are appointed to their first faculty job and awarded their first NIH grant has been increasing. This “hypercompetitive” culture in biomedical research has resulted in several publications and reports by the National Academies and the National Postdoctoral Association that focused on the best practices needed to improve the quality of the postdoctoral experience. This session is designed to bring leaders from across various research sectors to discuss what it means to currently be a postdoc in an academic, government, and industry setting. Speakers will focus on (1) the modern state of postdocs in their sector; (2) the advantages/ disadvantages of pursuing a postdoctoral fellowship in their sector; (3) the postdoc as a mentored position; and (4) how we move forward to produce a high-quality, sustainable workforce. Each speaker will discuss how their sector is addressing the current needs of postdocs and the workforce, and will provide the audience with their thoughts on how to navigate to different career paths. Speakers will also address how a postdoc in their sector may help produce a diversified workforce. This discussion will be highly relevant to all student and postdoctoral attendees, as well as senior scientists currently mentoring trainees. This career development session will inspire toxicologists to think critically about their training and to develop an improved roadmap to navigate to their ideal careers.

Challenges, Opportunities, and Future Directions of the Traditional Academic Postdoc in Toxicology. Ilona Jaspers, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC.

Postdoc Training: Thinking Beyond the Bench. Linda Birnbaum, NIEHS, Research Triangle Park, NC.

Pfizer’s Postdoctoral Program: An Example of an Industry’s Approach to Ensuring a High-Quality Postdoctoral Experience. Jon Cook, Pfizer, Inc., Groton, CT.

Institutional Transformation Strategies for Acceptance of Multiple Career Pathways As Successful Outcomes for Trainees in the Biomedical Research Workforce. Ambika Mathur, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI.

“Talksicology”: Effective Oral Presentation Techniques

Wednesday, March 16, 5:00 PM to 6:20 PM

Room 220

Chairperson(s): Barbara L. F. Kaplan, Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, MS; and Richard Pollenz, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL.

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

Effective dissemination of research findings in seminars, interviews, scientific meetings or to the public has always been a critical skill for toxicologists. While effective oral presentation skills are formally taught in most training programs, gaps in the training exist and many programs do not measure success or offer direct evidence of effectiveness. The main goal of this workshop is to provide attendees with an opportunity to assess effectiveness, and improve their own presentations and oral communication skills. The session is designed to be engaging and interactive. The first part of the workshop will be the analysis of a “flawed” presentation in real time in which the audience will use smart phone-based technology (PollEverywhere) to rate and discuss the presentation. This exercise will be followed by short sessions from three experts from academia and industry who will provide examples and techniques for oral presentations specific to 1) a research seminar, 2) an interview, and 3) a situation in which the scientists must communicate to the media or lay public. Effective oral communication during poster presentations will also be presented. This workshop will be applicable for anyone wishing to enhance oral communication skills and is particularly pertinent to developing scientists who want to improve in this craft.

Introduction. Barbara L. F. Kaplan, Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, MS.

How Not to Engage the Audience. Richard Pollenz, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL.

Make an Impact with Your Research Seminar. Barbara L. F. Kaplan, Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, MS.

Presenting Your Research, Presenting Yourself. Lois Lehman-McKeeman, Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., Princeton, NJ.

Effectively Delivering Complex Messages to Non-Technical Audiences That Have a Short Attention Span. Steven J. Hermansky, ConAgra Foods, Omaha, NE.