We are proud to support three new symposia organized by student and postdoctoral members of the GSA! Check out the descriptions from the 2018 awardees of GSA Career Development Symposia funding. This program empowers early career members to organize local events that enhance the professional development of their peers, including career skills symposia, workshops, and networking events.

Is there an unmet career development need in your local research community? We need your proposals for unique and valuable events! The application deadline is January 10, 2019

Learn more about the application: Tips for a successful Career Development Symposia proposal

Beyond DC: exploring the spectrum of science policy careers

Kathryn Bambino

Giovanna Collu

Lacy Barton

For the scientific enterprise to flourish there must be a strong link between scientists and policy makers; policy makers must understand the science that impacts decision-making and scientists need policies governing research to nurture the scientific enterprise. More scientists need to enter the policy field to inform policy decisions and to advocate for the research community. Unfortunately, trainees at research institutions have few opportunities to explore careers in science policy and advocacy during their training. Typically, trainees with interests in policy are encouraged to pursue one of the prestigious fellowships based in Washington DC, such as the AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellowship or Christine Mirzayan Science & Technology Policy Fellowship. However, there are eligibility restrictions for participation in these programs. The eligibility requirements present a significant barrier to those who have career breaks, personal or professional responsibilities that prohibit their relocation to DC, or few financial resources. Furthermore, foreign visa holders make up a significant portion of the trainee population, yet face even greater restrictions to explore policy careers. We will host an event for students and postdocs in the greater NYC area to raise awareness of the numerous career opportunities in science policy and advocacy that exist outside of Washington, DC. We will leverage the unique environment of New York City to present an extended panel discussion followed by breakout sessions featuring diverse panelists from advocacy groups, policy think tanks, local government and non-profit organizations. The event will be held on May 18th at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (ISMMS). We will cover policy career options, skills required to make the transition, and highlight volunteer and internship opportunities. Follow @MSSPG_  on Twitter for updates on speakers, registration, and remote viewing.

Second Annual Evolution in Philadelphia Conference (EPiC)

Meghan Barrett

Alexandra Brown

Rohini Singh

The purpose of the Second Annual Evolution in Philadelphia Conference (EPiC) is to bring together early career researchers from genetics and evolutionary biology in the greater Philadelphia area. EPiC is hosted by members of Philadelphia Evolution Group (PEG) which consists of faculty, postdoctoral fellows, and graduate students from Drexel University, Temple University, and the University of Philadelphia. This symposium aims to maximize opportunities for students, both graduate and undergraduate, and postdoctoral fellows to present their research and interact with fellow early career scientists and faculty from the greater Philadelphia area and nearby states.

We received an overwhelming response for EPiC 2017, which attracted 91 attendees from 23 institutions spanning across five states. As before, EPiC 2018 will focus on a broad range of topics, including genome evolution, speciation and adaptation, the genetic basis of phenotypic evolution, microbiomes and symbiosis, and organismal response to the environment. By holding EPiC a second year, attendees will get a chance to build on their extant network and, additionally, forge stronger ties with peers from more distant locations, increasing the possibility of future collaboration. Furthermore, EPiC will encourage a sense of unity and collaboration among early-career researchers in the greater Philadelphia area, which may inspire attendees and their peers to collaborate more readily with each other.

Toronto DNA Replication and Repair Symposium

Clare So

The Toronto DNA Replication and Repair Symposium was a one-day event assembling researchers from graduate departments and research institutions in Toronto to share their ongoing research and promote the professional development of its trainees. The symposium provides professional development opportunities to trainees through oral presentations, networking, and the organization of the symposium itself. Despite the significant number of DNA replication and repair researchers in Toronto, no formal avenue for dialogue or collaboration exists between these researchers. This is especially detrimental to the career development of early career researchers in this community. The Symposium remedies this problem by bringing together researchers across institutions, universities, and academic departments in the Toronto area to share their expertise and learn from one another, thereby promoting sustained growth in the field of DNA replication and repair in Toronto. The Symposium was organized by a team of five graduate students from the University of Toronto and took place April 20, 2018.