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Found 15 results

  1. Amanda Labuza

    Science in Hollywood

    Last week I had the joy of attending a Q&A with Ann Merchant to learn more about the Science & Entertainment Exchange. Merchant, the deputy director for communications at the National Academy of Science helped launch the Exchange in 2008. The Exchange is a place where anyone can receive free consultation from a scientist. Most of their “clients” are Hollywood writers looking to make their scenes more realistic. They have helped with the Avengers, Castle, Guardians of the Galaxy, small indie films, novels, and more. They place a large emphasis on “inspiring not accuracy”. For example, the Exchange made the suggestion to change Jane Foster’s occupation in Thor from nurse to astronomer. While this helped make more sense of how Jane met Thor, it also helped show the general public a young female in a scientific career. For too long the only scientists on tv were “stale, pale, and male”. We are now getting to show diversity and help more children see themselves as scientists one day. The NAS has also asked Hollywood to help spread messages for them. Adding sentences in shows like Grey’s Anatomy that women with HIV can still have healthy babies is a simple, effective teaching opportunity for a wide audience All scientists are welcomed to be consultants. Their main concern is that scientists can communicate with the public and are non-judgmental. No suggestion from Hollywood is stupid, just uninformed (which is why they are seeking consultation). If you are interested in getting involved with the Exchange you can find more information here. I personally am so excited Hollywood is trying to be more accurate and aware of the messages they send.
  2. Amanda Labuza

    How did you get your postdoc?

    After having lunch with several seminar speakers I am amazed at the variety of pathways they have taken to get to their faculty position. I’m curious others obtained their postdoc position. Did you cold email someone? Had you met your postdoc adviser at a conference previously? Did your graduate mentor introduce you? Other stories? I’m interested to hear! Any thing that didn’t work?
  3. Michael Oberdorfer

    Bullying in science

    A recent editorial in Nature discusses the problem of bullying in science. The editorial springs from ongoing allegations at Max Planck in Garching, Germany, This story is from the field of astrophysics, but bullying is likely pervasive in all fields of science. Your thoughts?
  4. I’m leading a project to create a new set of online activities to teach behavioral neuroscience. If you’re interested in participating in a groundbreaking project to improve the teaching of neuroscience to college undergraduates, please join me. You can find out more and apply to join the project at https://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/4387040/87dd12561893 Thank you, G. Campbell Teskey, PhD Professor Hotchkiss Brain Institute University of Calgary
  5. We welcome dues-paying members of Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience (FUN) to nominate students for a FUN Undergraduate Student Travel Awards. The awards offer financial assistance up to $750 for expenses associated with attending the Society for Neuroscience 2018 meeting. To be eligible for the award, undergraduate student researchers must be an author on the abstract and participate in the poster presentation. While the research must be conducted by undergraduate students, the students may have completed their degrees at the time of the Society for Neuroscience meeting. To access the award, application instructions, and judging criteria visit www.funfaculty.org. Your FUN membership supports undergraduate education and travel awards. Applications are due Thursday, May 10, 2018 at 5:00 PM PDT
  6. This is a great resource for both graduate students and faculty! Your university may have a subscription to this organization so you can access it for free. I have heard many positive things about their writing bootcamps. In addition, they send weekly e-mails that help keep you accountable in your writing practice as well as self-care. There are times where these e-mails really help focus me in on my professional and personal goals. Other times, they remind me to be patient with myself. Please share your thoughts and comments on this program. facultydiversity.org Faculty Diversity On-demand access to the mentoring, tools, and support you need to be successful in the Academy.
  7. Charise White

    What is working in industry like?

    Colleagues, I need your help. I am at a crossroads, trying to decide whether to apply for industry jobs. My reservation is my need for input and some autonomy. I do not want to be just a cog in the industrial machine. So, what is it really like to work in industry? How do you spend your days? What is the best thing about it and the worst? I will truly appreciate any answers.
  8. Please pay attention to the new bill that will potentially tax grad students on their tuition wavers. nytimes.com Opinion | The House Just Voted to Bankrupt Graduate Students Our tax burden could increase by tens of thousands of dollars, based on money we don’t even make. Please call your senators and representatives. This link has a website at the bottom of the comic strip that will QUICKLY take you to your senators and representatives. It also has a nice script. It should only take 15 min of your time to call. phdcomics.com PHD Comics: Tax Attack Link to phdcomics.com Please act! The future of grad education is being threatened!
  9. Today I am inspired by something pretty sad that has just happened to me. Let me start by saying that I’ve moved many times throughout my career. I have also started a field shift over the past years because something happened in my life that made me feel very strong I had to push towards my vision and establish my own lab rather than keep working as a post-doc (or research associate) on someone else ideas (yes, I’m very creative and I feel the urgent need of unleashing my creativity!). A few years ago I was a post-doc and at some point I became very sick. Needless to say, I was not entitled to sick leave. Hence, my job contract was terminated. It was an endless, painful year of career break trying to keep a hold of my life, during which I never thought of quitting Science: Science was keeping me alive! I kept applying for grants and positions, trying to give the best of my self as good as I could be or feel in that moment. My illness gave me the time to reflect on what I was doing and what I actually wanted to do. So I decided to take up the challenge of a field shift to dive myself into a totally different world. Eventually, at the end of my illness, I relocated for a new position in another country within just 1 week. That was the first lab where I could thrive in a complementary discipline and embrace a different perspective about the scientific challenge I was undertaking. Eventually, I was also awarded a very prestigious fellowship that marked the official beginning of ‘the new me’. Today, I’m heading towards the end of my project and of course I need to secure my next position. I feel it’s time for me to guide my own team and move again to another country for good. I decided I would apply for a grant to start my own lab. I have found the dream place and the dream funding scheme. I was very inspired and I was already writing… Of course, every funding scheme has eligibility restrictions and I have found that I’m just a few months too old to apply. However, an eligibility extension clause would entitle me to compete. And here it goes: according to the funding agency, any leave (parental or due to sickness) should be formal, i.e., it should be documented by the employer as a reduction of working hours (up to 100%). Of course I don’t have such a pre-requisite (because I had lost my job). According to the funding agency, since I had no job contract, I was just unemployed. Too bad that policies on career breaks are not global: some funding agencies consider the precarious position of the (poor) post-doc and understand that he/she might not be entitled to take time off and pause the job contract due to inability to work. Very sad, this would have been my last chance to apply for this very attractive funding scheme and, once more, I will probably have to post-pone my personal scientific mission and apply for another (the 4th!) post-doctoral appointment. This time, however, I will chose carefully. No benefits? No post-doc! So who is to blame at the end of the story? A) Your employer - for not fostering your career development as a post-doc offering a ‘more obligations than rights’ job contract B) The funding agency – for hiring policy makers who establish policies before walking in the (poor) post-doc’s shoes C) Your no-other-choice decision – you should have kept working even if you were dying!!! D) Your lack of wisdom – You should have refused a no-benefits positions at the cost of an unjustifiable career break E) All of the above: “Publish or Perish” There is no right answer… The bottom line is …only the funding agency policy makers will tell. Meanwhile, you’d better off applying for a position with ‘equal rights and obligations’. Have a story to share? Let your voice be heard here!
  10. I’ve been interested in science, literature, and writing — creative writing especially — since I was young. I ended up studying science (biochemistry), literature, and creative writing in college and faced a tough career decision when I graduated. I chose science and thought my writing career had ended. But later, when I started considering careers away from the bench I realized that I could combine my writing and literature interests with my science interests. That inspired me to move to the journal editing field where I evaluated papers and manuscripts in many fields of science. Now, I serve as the Director of Research Administration at the RIKEN Brain Science Institute, where I focus on science communication and writing in the context of research development and global engagement. While I’ve come full circle, switching from bench research to science writing wasn’t an easy transition, and, in fact, I struggled with the decision for many years. As a researcher, it was a challenge for me to focus on a narrow question because I was continually drawn to the bird’s eye view. I also felt a stronger need to express myself intellectually through writing than I did through working at the bench. When those two realizations clicked for me, I knew that I needed to explore other career paths. I was inspired to become a journal editor where I could incorporate my writing skills and learn to read and evaluate manuscripts from many areas of science. Eventually, I became a Senior Editor at Neuron. In this role, I gained valuable insights into the peer review and publishing processes. When I started working at the journal, all I knew about peer review was what authors see on the other side of the manuscript submission portal: You submit your paper, get three reviews, try to address them the best you can, and then receive a rejection or acceptance letter. Managing peer review, however, showed me that the process is a deeply human enterprise. It’s all done voluntarily by reviewers who agree to adhere to an ethical system while they evaluate other people’s work. As a journal editor, creating a fair peer review process through carefully selecting reviewers with diverse expertise, balancing competing interests between authors and reviewers, and managing differences between reviewers was the core of what I did every day. Peer review is not a perfect process, but it’s the best one we have so far to evaluate quality and priority in research. Now, I apply my knowledge of science evaluation, peer review and publishing at RIKEN, where I help to oversee research development and output, global communication, collaboration, and outreach. My job is fluid, diverse, and dynamic. Every day is different, which is fun. I help to facilitate the institute’s research output, but I also serve as a consultant to researchers at all stages of their projects and careers, guiding them on how to productively move their research forward to publication. Research is hard. You could spend years on a project collecting data but not be skilled at writing a paper that accurately and positively represents your discovery. I try to fill that gap by working one-on-one with researchers to shape solid paper narratives and by teaching writing and publishing workshops. My path has led me to a place where I’m able to bring unique value to the scientific community by drawing on my experiences as a researcher, writer and journal editor. If you’re a trainee who also has diverse interests or skills, my advice is to spend as much time as you can learning how to conduct research while in parallel exploring the way you most enjoy doing science. We tend to want to be like our role models and mentors — and there’s value to that — but we each have our own path. Constantly self-evaluate and think about what type of research you’d like to conduct and whether or not you want to pursue research at the bench. Careers involving science writing and communication, advocacy, policy, administration, or other fields should be kept on the table. Science is a huge enterprise and not everyone needs to be specialized for research in a particular field. There’s a lot you can do within science that’s interesting, valuable, and worthwhile. Link back to full article Charles Yokoyama, PhD Charles Yokoyama is the director of research administration at RIKEN Brain Science Institute.
  11. jasnamarkovac

    My Journey Out of Academia... and Back

    When I started my career, I assumed that I would always stay in academia. I got my PhD from a large, well-respected institution (University of Michigan Medical School), did a postdoc at another great school (UCLA), and was lucky enough to find two faculty positions (first returning to the University of Michigan, and then several years later at Mount Sinai). I was happy with my career. I was applying for grants and publishing papers. In hindsight, though, I wish someone had told me that there were other options for careers in science — ones that did not involve being at an academic institution, or even at the bench. Link back to full article
  12. With different opportunities and environments in academia, industry, and government, how can neuroscientists determine the right career path for them? Understanding what to expect in each field can help you make informed choices that lead to satisfaction and success whether you are just starting out or transitioning later in your career. Join SfN tomorrow at 3pm EST for a webinar titled Making the Switch: Tips for Successfully Transitioning Between Academia, Industry, and Government, in which various speakers will showcase the unique characteristics of each workplace and share advice on what to consider when contemplating a career move based on their own transitions. Right after the panel discussion, a special live chat with the webinar speakers will happen right here in the Neuronline community so they can take your career path questions. Click here to post your questions in advance.This webinar and live chat are open to all SfN members. Not a member? Join or renew your membership today. Link back to webinar
  13. While a successful career in academia can be a very set path, a career in science writing has the breadth of options to fit a wider range of lifestyles. Whether it’s more structured work at an office or the more fluid life of a freelance position, a scientist can find a writing career that suits them. Link back to full article
  14. Are you interested in a career in science policy? Whether you are just beginning to explore your options or looking for ways to enhance your resume in anticipation of your job search, here are six tips for preparing for a science policy career. Link back to full article
  15. The biotechnology industry works to find new treatments and create better technologies. With these goals in mind, the industry prefers to hire neuroscientists with a master’s degree because they: Link back to full article
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