Professional Development Events at the 2015 ASCB Annual Meeting

2014 Networking Happy Hour. Photo by James McWilliams

2014 Networking Happy Hour. Photo by James McWilliams

Not only is the annual meeting a time to hear about the latest science and technology advancements in cell biology, but also a time for students and postdocs to find out about career options, network with fellow cell biologists, and prepare for a job search with the best advice. COMPASS recognizes that there are many PhD students and postdocs with varying career interests and we have organized a number of events at the annual meeting to help PhDs prepare for their futures. Since the annual meeting is packed full of events, we have highlighted the career development events in three categories below to help you plan your schedule. Nearly all events will take place in the Career Center (in the ASCB Learning Center, Hall D) and the full schedule can be viewed here.

What are my career options?

Career panels

It is a growing concern that PhDs outnumber the available faculty jobs in academia. Therefore students and postdocs should learn what career paths are available to them. To give ASCB attendees an opportunity to gain insight into a number of career paths, panel discussions will be held about the following six different careers: 1) science policy, 2) consulting and entrepreneurship 3) science communication, 4) teaching and university administration, 5) industry and sales, 6) research development and grant administration. The PhD-trained panelists hold a variety of positions in these fields and most of them have gone through the job application process in recent years. Each panel discussion will be an hour including time for questions from the audience. So come prepared with your burning questions!

Also don’t miss the Career Discussion and Mentoring Roundtables on Monday Dec. 12 at 10:45 am in Roundtable Center (in the ASCB Learning Center) organized by the Women in Cell Biology Committee (WICB)! A number of people in career paths ranging from biotech to patent law will be available for small informal roundtable discussions with attendees in the ASCB Learning Center. Discussion topics at this event will also include finding a postdoc, managing a lab, and funding your research, among many other useful topics for academics.

2014 WICB Mentoring Roundtables. Photo by James McWilliams

2014 WICB Mentoring Roundtables. Photo by James McWilliams

Guest Speakers

We have lined up a number of talks by professionals who can give attendees advice on specialized topics. Natalie Lundsteen, Director of the Career Center at University of Texas Southwestern, will give pointers on how to make the most of the ASCB annual meeting. This will be a great talk for first-time meeting attendees! Sandra Lemmon, University of Miami, and Paul Insel, University of California, San Diego, will discuss the ins and outs of a MD-PhD program and help attendees decide if this path suits them best. Lenny Teytelman, co-founder of Zappy Lab, will talk about the strengths and weaknesses that scientists have as entrepreneurs. Career options and the individual development plan (“myIDP”), an online resource that helps you determine what career path suits your personality and values, will be introduced by Tianna Hicklin from Science Careers.

Preparing for a job search

CV Review

The CV is one of the first steps to getting a job interview, yet many people don’t know how to write a CV that goes to the top of the pile. We will have experienced volunteers help ASCB attendees one-on-one with polishing their CVs. Stop by the Career Center when it opens on Sunday-Tuesday morning at 9am to reserve your time slot—appointment sign-ups are first come, first serve! Remember to bring printed copies of your CV.

Career coaches

Debating whether or not to stay in academia? Want to make the most of whatever stage of training you are in? Career coaches can answer those questions and any others you have about finding a career that suits you. One-on-one sessions with a career coach will last for 45 minutes and must be scheduled when the career center opens each day on Sunday – Tuesday morning at 8:45 am. Reserve your slot as soon as possible in the morning because spots fill up quickly.

Getting outside my comfort zone and meeting fellow cell biologists

Networking Bingo!

It can be awkward to strike up a conversation with a stranger at the meeting, so COMPASS has organized a game of bingo to make networking fun! All ASCB attendees are invited—students, postdocs, faculty members, and vendors from a number of industries that may be of interest to those in search of a job in industry. The event will take place on Monday, Dec. 14 at 4pm in the Career Center. Attendees will mingle with each other in order to complete their bingo cards and hopefully make new contacts in the process! Snacks and a cash bar will be available.

Be sure to take a break from all the great science at ASCB to take advantage of the invaluable career development activities. Even just 45 minutes of your time with a career coach, 30 minutes playing a game of bingo with people from industries that are hiring, or brief attendance at a panel discussion about a career path you’ve always been vaguely considering, could change your prospects!

About the Author:

Kellyann Jones-Jamtgaard is a graduate student at the University of Kansas Medical Center in the department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics. Her research focuses on how Hepatitis C Virus modulates host cell trafficking. Kellyann serves as the COMPASS liaison to ASCB's Public Policy Committee.