ASCB Gets $1 Million Grant to Support MAC Career and Mentoring Programs

The ASCB has received a nearly $1 million Innovative Programs to Enhance Research Training (IPERT) grant from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences to support new and ongoing programs of the Society’s Minorities Affairs Committee

MariaElena Zavala

MariaElena Zavala

(MAC). The IPERT grant will provide $496,316 a year for two years.

MariaElena Zavala of California State University, Northridge, will serve as PI on the grant, together with co-PIs Latanya Hammonds-Odie of Georgia Gwinnett College and Michael J. Leibowitz of University of California, Davis. All three are members of the MAC.

“This funding will allow us to implement innovative mentoring at the Annual Meeting and at special summer workshops,” said Zavala. “It will continue and expand our inter-ASCB committee work [with the Women in Cell Biology Committee and Committee for Postdocs and Students], and to support the MAC’s signature Visiting Professor Program and the Linkage Fellows Program.” Zavala added, “The success of the MAC’s activities depends on the volunteer efforts of the MAC members!”

The project is entitled “Research and Educational Career Development Program for Cell Biolgists: An Integrated Approach.” It has two specific aims. The first is to use the ASCB Annual Meeting as a venue for sharpening the career interests and skills of undergrads, grad students, and postdocs from groups underrepresented in basic biomedical sciences. The second is to develop and expand programs for students, postdocs, and faculty, including educational workshops, professional and research skills development, structured mentored activities, and outreach to faculty members and students at minority-serving colleges and universities.

The new IPERT grant will fund several programs at the ASCB Annual Meeting, beginning with an increase in the number of MAC Travel Awards available to undergrads, grad students, postdocs, junior faculty, and faculty from undergraduate teaching institutions. Other programs at the Annual Meeting include:

  • The Annual Mentoring Symposium, which will include the Mentoring Keynote Lecture, supported by workshops and presentations providing professional development and mentoring opportunities on career path options and strategic decision-making.
  • The Mentoring Academy, a new activity designed to support the professional success of postdocs.  Held on the Saturday afternoon before the start of the Annual Meeting, the Mentoring Academy will feature interactive career planning workshops designed to assist postdocs, including those from underrepresented groups.
  • The MAC Poster Session, which provides networking opportunities for students, postdocs, and faculty members from underrepresented groups. For a number of years, the MAC Poster Session has been held in conjunction with the ASCB Education Committee Undergraduate Poster Session.

Beyond the Annual Meeting, the program will support:

  •  The Annual Junior Faculty and Postdoctoral Fellows Career Development Workshop, a three-day workshop covering a range of topics essential to a successful academic career.
  • The Visiting Professorship (VP) Awards Program, which is aimed at professional development of faculty at primarily undergraduate teaching institutions that serve minority students and scientists. The program links these faculty members in a year-long collaborative and mentoring partnership with ASCB members who are more experienced researchers.
  • The Linkage Fellows Program, which works to increase the professional participation in ASCB of faculty and trainees from minority-serving institutions. The Linkage Fellows serve as a link between other faculty members and students at their home and nearby institutions in becoming more involved with ASCB and MAC.
  • For MAC, the IPERT grant is an opportunity to provide critical career development resources to scientists at each stage in the pipeline from undergraduates to faculty. The Committee’s goal is to ensure that these scientists have access to the training, mentoring, and networking that is key to advancing their careers and allowing them to participate in all that ASCB has to offer.

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