Thousands of scientists from around the world will travel to San Diego, California, this week to hear from top researchers as they describe ground-breaking work in science, technology, engineering, and education.
But beyond learning about new findings on the frontiers of neuroscience, medicine, the environment, and others, many attendees of the 2010 AAAS Annual Meeting—which runs 18-22 February—will also be looking to advance their careers.
To help scientists develop and polish skills they need to excel in their careers—especially those skills more often learned and used outside the laboratory—Science and Science Careers will host a variety of career-related events geared towards scientists at all stages of their careers.
The events are all open to the public but free registration is required. AAAS Registration will be located at the San Diego Convention Center in the lobby of Exhibit Hall B1 and opens on Thursday 18 February at 11 a.m. As part of the registration, attendees will also gain access to the exhibit hall, plenary lectures, and other free events.
Jim Austin, editor of Science Careers, said that career skills such as networking, identifying an academic mentor, building scientific collaborations, and resume writing are rarely—if ever—communicated during formal science training. But, he said, they are essential.
“Communicating your research and work experience is important not only for building scientific collaborations, but also for explaining to a potential employer why you’re the best person to work in their laboratory or company,” said Austin. “It’s these ‘soft’ skills that can open the door to new scientific opportunities.”
Austin’s team has organized events including a panel discussion on careers in science for women and minorities and establishing a research career doing work directly relevant to human health.
On Friday 19 February, CTSciNet, an online community for people pursuing careers in clinical and translational research who seek to speed the translation of scientific breakthroughs into real-world therapies, will host panel discussion with top experts in the field. The discussion will run from 3 to 4:30 p.m. in the San Diego Marriott Hotel & Marina Ballroom F.
The workshop will give tips on carving out a career in translational research, both informally and formally, along with other issues such as working with patients and establishing collaborations with physicians.
Science Careers, ScienceNOW, and AAAS are jointly hosting a Social Media Soiree to bring together meeting attendees for a relaxed event where Facebook fans, Twitter followers, science bloggers — and anyone else who wants to join the fun — can come for some light refreshments and to put faces to screennames. The event will take place on Friday 19 February from 5 to 6:30 p.m. in the Mission Hills Room of the San Diego Marriott Hotel & Marina.
Brianna Blaser, outreach project director at Science Careers, will also host a series of workshops including a panel discussion on submitting manuscripts to top peer-reviewed journals like Science; an hour-long session exploring career paths outside “traditional” areas, including government, science writing and publishing, and non-profits; a speed-networking breakfast; and a get-acquainted event where attendees can ask career-related questions.
During Blaser’s workshop on scientific publishing, an editor from Science will pull back the curtain on submitting to top peer-reviewed journals. Held on Saturday 20 February from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the San Diego Marriott Hotel Marina Ballroom G, the Science editor will explore the manuscript submission procedure including the review, approval, and publication process, and describe what kind of submissions best suited for a specialty journal.
“Career development covers a wide-range of topics, from making the most out of your training to finding a career that works for you and applying for jobs,” said Blazer. “With the breadth of career events at the annual meeting, there’s something that’s sure to meet the needs of scientists and trainees from undergraduates to postdocs and beyond who are looking to learn new skills or explore their options.”
Ric Weibl, director of the AAAS Center for Careers in Science and Technology, said that the career and professional development activities at the AAAS annual meeting are central to the AAAS mission, as they serve the association’s broad goals to enhance communication among scientists and the public and to strengthen and diversify the scientific and technological workforce.
“Meeting attendees gather in symposia and professional development workshops to share their experiences as scientists, engage in debate about workforce development policies, and consider the education and training of future generations of scientists,” said Weibl, who is organizing the Careers Resource Center, which offers free drop-in career consultation and information for Annual Meeting attendees in the Green Room on Marina Level 3 of the San Diego Marriott Hotel.
Committed to providing quality career resources for all scientists through its website, outreach, and publications, Science Careers is a free, online resource. It features includes thousands of career-related articles, graduate program information, grant information, meetings & event notices, and a job listings page that is updated daily.\