News: AAAS 2008 Annual Meeting News Blog
Facebook Comes Alive at Science Careers 'Meet'
The AAAS/Science Careers Facebook Meet was the place to been seen late Friday, 15 February 2008, where more than 90 young scientists stopped by for food and refreshments, along with a little light talk about doctoral-level research and getting how to publish your first peer-reviewed article.
Many of the attendees -- undergraduates, twenty-somethings, post-docs, and those a bit older -- were members of Facebook groups set up by AAAS and Science Careers last year.
Through Facebook, an online social networking program, young scientists are able to post questions, professionally and socially network, upload images, play games, and give each other tips techniques, such as how to solve organic chemistry problems.
"It is really important to bring young people into the scientific community," said Science Careers's Jose Fernandez, who created the Science Careers Facebook page in June 2007. "It allows them to network with people like them and learn about resources to help them succeed."
There are about 400 members of the Fernandez's Science Careers Facebook group, which includes high school students and undergraduates, and 1,100 members in a more general AAAS Facebook group run by AAAS Membership's Alison Chandler.
Many of the attendees at the event said the Facebook groups allow them to socialize with other young scientists -something they appreciated.
"I have posted to several discussion boards about my research and education," said Gyami Shrestha, a Ph.D. degree candidate at the University of California, Merced. "It was to help a high school student decide which science degree to pursue. I hope I helped."
AAAS has seen a five percent increase in young scientist members over the past three years, and plans to use Facebook and other social networking sites to reach out to early career scientists.