Over the course of the semester, our trainees are reviewing webinars in their given fields and preparing abstracts to help colleagues outside their discipline make an informed choice about watching them. As our program bridges diverse disciplines, these abstracts are beneficial for our own group in helping one another gain key knowledge in each other’s fields. We are happy to share these here for anyone else who may find them helpful.
John Pulliam, PhD & Frederick Gregory, PhD
Neuroscience Scholars Program
In this webinar, John Pulliam and Frederick Gregory provide two insightful perspectives into transitioning from academia to non-academia STEM careers. Both speakers clearly describe their journeys from postdoctoral positions to their current careers and show how students and postdocs can take advantage of a variety of opportunities to discover what career path is best for them. Throughout the talk, both speakers highly encourage listeners to create a career development plan for both short-term and long-term goals. These plans can be flexible having multiple routes to consider, but they should be built with a few key priorities in mind: what is your passion, work/life priorities, and building a network of mentors to support your success. Most of the talk focuses on how you can build a network of mentors to support your career journey.
The key takeaway from this talk is to actively advocate for yourself and your career goals. Both speakers stress how it is important to sell your skills and demonstrate how you built them and use them. Throughout your academic career, it is important to actively seek out positions that fit your goals and lifestyle. Finding professional organizations in your area of interest and actively communicating with hiring managers and recruiters is vital. Both speakers were able to connect with professionals and build their network by taking advantage of a variety of opportunities such as applying to fellowships and internships, reaching out about teaching opportunities, and utilizing social media such as LinkedIn. While making these connections, both speakers stress the importance of knowing your transferrable skills and how to sell them in either a resume or elevator pitch that is specifically tailored to the position you want.
Overall, this webinar was an interesting watch and provided an abundance of information about how to successfully transition your career from academia. I found it interesting that both speakers were on the traditional path to academia (graduate student to postdoctoral positions) but based on their experiences outside of the lab they were able to build networks and careers that successfully utilize their talents outside of the lab. Even though the talk focuses on non-academia STEM careers, much of the advice still applies to those searching for academia positions. Advocating for yourself and actively connecting with the career professionals you would like to work alongside is key to career success.