The NESACS Blog
From the Northeastern Section of the ACS, focusing on career management and development
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05/14/21
Codebreaker by W. Isaacson
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Networking, Mentoring, Post-docs, Observ. Trends, Undergraduate majors, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 6:31 am

During the pandemic it was timely to read Walter Isaacson’s
“The Codebreaker” as it brought to life the transnational process
of understanding viral RNA infections leading to mRNA vaccines.

.
The book, while 700 pages, was so good I needed to gift it to our
daughter who was part of CRISPR projects.  Then our daughter-
in-law, a biologist, asked to get it too.  [I might just gift her a copy.]
.
Isaacson weaves a compelling story of how curiosity driven research
has led to actual treatments for congenital diseases.  It is often
related to Vannevar Bush’s report that offered
“basic curiosity driven research and science is the seed corn
that eventually leads to new technologies and innovations.  Harry
Truman launched NSF based on this report.”
.
Codebreaker also breaks into a timely description of patents
in this realm:
.
“Ever since the republic of Venice in 1474 passed a
statute giving the inventors of any new and ingenious
device the exclusive right to profit from it for 10 years
.
…Biological patents have a long history.  In 1873 the
French biologist Louis Pasteur was awarded the first
known patent for a microorganism:  a method for making
yeast free from organic germs of disease.  Thus, wee have
pasteurized milk, juice, and wine.”
.
“The modern biotechnology industry was born a century
later when a Stanford attorney approached Stanley Cohen
and Herbert Boyer and convinced them to file for a patent
on the method they had devised for the manufacturing of
new genes using recombinant DNA…”
.
Stories of the people involved in this incredible science
epic should be worth the time for scientists to peruse.  He
tells of competition leading to cooperation, mentoring and
collaboration.

comments (0)
04/30/21
Book: Adam Grant: Think Again
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Mentoring, Mature professionals, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 6:10 pm

Thoughtful reading in a time of uncertainty is Adam Grant’s
“Think Again”. 

It comes to mind in relation to a previous post on Multi Career 
Paths.
  Every time we discover new information, we can
1. attach our opinions to our identities (adjust)
2. stand our ground in stubbornness of preaching and prosecuting
or 
3. treat it like a scientific issue and evaluate with all the tools of
data collection, hypothesis testing, statistical inference and trial
and error
.
Some of my take-aways from the book include:
- Define our values, not our opinions
  chief among them– curiosity, continuous learning, mental 
 flexibility, new skills, interests, hobbies and habits

- When doubtful, reframe as a situation for growth 
  +learn something you do not know as a step for new 
 expertise,
  +find a way to emerge discovering something new

- Have each person you meet, teach you something
  +respect pushback
   +accept conflict, reframe as debate, rather than disagreement.

Written to teach us something.

comments (0)
02/17/21
Chemical Enterprise and Surveillance Capitalism
Filed under: Recent Posts, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 2:54 pm

Computers, it was reported in 2020, quantum simulated a simple
chemical reaction.

.
John Pople and and Walter Kohn were awarded the Nobel for
contributions and developing the use of computers to understand
chemical structures with quantum mechanical concepts. (1998)
.
To my knowledge little has been described about the impact of
surveillance capitalism as described by Shoshana Zuboff on
the chemical enterprise.
.
Sure, we can order chemicals using computers, manage
accounting and monitor reactions by computers, but in many
realms from politics to social physics to organizational behavior
to raw economics, surveillance capitalism is dominating 
21st century life. 
.
It is commodification of personal data.  The
extension to chemistry where data is compiled and analyzed 
with computers is only a matter of time to find applications.  
6 comments
01/10/21
Career Management. Multi-career Paths
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Mentoring, Mature professionals, Post-docs, Technicians, Observ. Trends, Undergraduate majors, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 8:10 am

An email reached me about changing career paths
[from Zackary Crockett].

.
I will try to find a viable link
This can happen to many of us who are trained as
a scientist where technology takes a
hockey-stick-like shift in what methods and areas
of expertise are favored and successful.
.
Your mindset is your key to success, I can attest.
After grad school, I desired to apply myself to an
area where “the rubber meets the road”, practical
areas–  To work in industry
.
After doing this for several decades, in electrochemistry,
applied solid state and polymer chemistry, photography,
statistics, I learned from a national lab researcher that 
later in his career he sought areas where he noticed “gaps”
where he could bring knowledge and experience to bear.
It was a deciding moment.  My targets changed.
.
One area that is not mentioned in the Crockett story is
changes in your health and outlook, as our careers 
extend and our “perceived expertise” and creativity
might not fit our roles.  Nonetheless, I recommend the
article for it may help you.
comments (0)
12/28/20
TIP: Linkedin Use during and after Pandemic
Filed under: Recent Posts, Interviewing, Position Searching, Job Offer (Situations), Mature professionals, Post-docs, Technicians, Observ. Trends, Undergraduate majors, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 4:12 pm

Read a purposeful NYTimes articel by Charlette Cowles

that point out what professionals can and should do 
in Linkedin to help you meet your goals.
In a typical fashion for community networks, she lists
this Microsoft acquisition urges members to remain
active, whatever their current and future situation.
She advises to include true representative entries
into sections– photo, skills, certifications, active
networking, practice interviews, …
See for example.. 
                            2  
                             3  
comments (0)
09/09/20
That Used to be US
Filed under: Recent Posts, Interviewing, Mentoring, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 10:38 am

Have you heard of that book?

No, well, I am here to tell you you are missing out on a real ice-breaker
of a nonfiction written by Tom Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum.
For decades there has been a struggle between the American economy’s
desire to constantly increase productivity and the desire to maintain
blue-collar jobs.  We watched

 - as more machines and cheaper workers replaced
American manual laborers
 - as loss of blue-collared jobs were
compensated for by creating white collar jobs
 - as we see the hyper connected world
threaten white collar jobs

We do it by inventing new white collar jobs, which requires
more start-ups and better education.

EMPLOYERS SEEK
Workers who can think critically, who can tackle nonroutine complex
tasks, and who can work collaboratively with teams located locally and
globally.
Critical thinking has become the basic price of admission.  Look for
proven ability to innovate.
Innovation is more than conceptual thinking.  It comes our of working
with the problem.  Working with the materials, on the line, seeing a
problem and devising a solution.  Every employee is part of the
process of continuous innovation.
EDUCATIONAL TRANSFORMATION REQUIRES WHOLE 
COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT.
Graduation from high school is not enough.

Six improvements are proposed:
1. better teachers and better principals
the quality of an educational system can not exceed the 
quality of the teachers.  A principal recruits and retains great teachers.

WE NEED A NEW EDUCATIONAL ACADEMY MODELED 
AFTER MILITARY ACADEMIES.
Great teachers make the difference.  Colorado can be a model
for educational improvement
Education needs its “Tuskegee Moment”- prove that children can
compete with the world’s best.

2. more involved parents that demand more in children’s education.
3. politicians who push to raise standards
4. neighbors who invest in schools even if their children are not there.
5. business leaders committed to raising educational standards 

FRIEDMAN AND MANDELBAUM URGE
As globalization and IT merge, expand and advance, old
categories of developed and underdeveloped will disappear.
The world will be divided between high-imagination-enabling
countries that encourage and enable imagingation and
those countries that simply fail to develop people’s 
creative capacities and abilities to spark new ideas and 
nurture their extra special features.

Add to the three R’s of education– reading, writing and arithmatic
with the three C’s–  critical thinking, effective oral and written
communication, and collaboration.


comments (0)
07/15/20
TIP Independent Academic Consultant
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 7:39 am

NOT REAL Career Management Alert

Received an email recently that you might delete as

not in your best interests…
FROM  

mirhashah4@gmail.com via gmail.mcsv.net 


 ”Hello there,
 
Hope this mail finds you in the best of your health.
I am Mirha Shah, an independent academic
consultant. I provide assistance to higher-education
level students in the articulation of their dissertations
and thesis. I connect them with the published
scholars of their fields.

These scholars help you out in:
Moreover,….”

This is the second recent scam this blog alerts you to
be aware that it seems to be spreading at this uncertain and
potentially devastating time in our careers…
comments (0)
06/24/20
BROMINE IN 21st CENTURY
Filed under: Recent Posts, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 6:31 am

Let me pose an idea for Chemists that builds on the naming of
 the Periodic Table as the topic of the year a couple of years ago. 
 We all noticed that scientists volunteered a story about their
 favorite element.

.
Throughout my career Bromine has been a common
 denominator of research, manufacturing and enterprise.  So I
 have created a document telling its story that I have pulled
 together from a number of fields with a 21st century perspective…
 that entails knowing about toxicology, ozone depletion,
 biochemistry, and even geology and historical uses and abuses.
.
https://docs.google.com/document/d/18f7-TzTzrYsf3Ro5LlaBWFQNmwsIFg6X/edit
.
Bromine Timeline: 
 https://drive.google.com/file/d/1ByKKnWrieagmFJWSKxaZ86hw6ffvfg00/view?usp=sharing
.
I encourage others to create their own favorite element story and
 I will gladly list their perspectives in this blog.  [To my mind,
 CEN tried to give one page, edited views that missed a valuable
 opportunity to teach about advances and new notions.]
.
Another opportunity I wish to suggest people learning about is
 their “Scientific Genealogy”.  That could be not only the
 university department from which each of us attended and
 graduated from, but also teachers and their teachers, colleagues
 and their contributions.  Think about it and the value it would provide.
4 comments
04/09/20
USA Jobs.gov
Filed under: Recent Posts, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 5:36 pm

Thanks to the reader who alerted me to USAJobs.gov
website change.  It is important to notify authors where
errors that can be corrected are located and what
should be done.

Thanks to the reader of the blog.
comments (0)
04/01/20
Electrochemistry in Space. Practical developments to allow humans to explore outer space
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Observ. Trends, Undergraduate majors, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 2:20 pm

Let me start by wishing all readers good health and
patience in the human struggle with the coronavirus
pandemic.  We wish it were not in our environment. 
Now that it is we need to work together to survive
and prosper.

.
We each have struggles each day.  Face them and
overcome them.  We are scientists and technologists,
all.  Let me tell you what I faced this morning with
my laptop, quarantined at home like many others.  I
was perusing the news and mail and regularly visited
websites this morning when I noticed my lithium ion
battery was getting low state of charge signals.  I had
the charger cord plugged in.  What was going on?
This battery was replaced two months ago with an unused
one online, not from Dell (They only sold “refurbished”
batteries for this laptop.);  it was installed guided by a
you-tube ‘how-to’ video and has been working nicely.
.  
What to do?  Go on line and see what others have
faced and done, right!  Accordingly, I opened the
computer up to wipe the electrodes clean.  While it
was sitting on my lap, I look down and the power cord light 
was not lit.  the plug had loosed from the socket and was
the root cause.
Lesson:  Look for root causes of problems before you go
too far.
.
Electrochemistry in Space
The latest issue in “Interface” brings us incredibly
thought-provoking articles that should move you to
take several looks.
.
The first uses the technology of ‘regenerative fuel cells
to explain the details of and action items included in
NASA patent of the utility patent US 7,410,714,
K. A, Burke.
[For all interested in a terrific series of technology
patenting please see 
www.iopscience.iop.org/journal/1944-8783/page/looking-at-patent-law-collection)
.
Nelson and colleagues reveal the technologies involved
in the life support system.
.
Cordeiro and colleagues show photos and descriptions
of a variety of sensor systems.
.
Bugga and Brandon nicely review the history of
energy storage 
systems 
that find their way into the decades
of space programs and pointing out the need for  
“beyond lithium” technologies
.
This is strongly recommended reading for people
interested in the science as well as future career
directions.
comments (0)
09/20/19
Career Management. 2019
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Legal matters, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 7:03 am

For access to all of 2019 entries with links to the pages please review
the following listing.
.
Hot Buttons. Trade secrets  9-11
Hot Buttons. Cell phone hacking  8-21
Hot Buttons. Subscription
Model
  8-11
Hot Buttons. Where do
you get reliable data,
 information and conclusions
 7-29
Hot Buttons. Stress
in Grad School, Post-doc, and career
positions 
7-22
Hot Buttons. Women in
Scientific Leadership
Roles  7-11
Hot Buttons. Online
Presence
  6-23
Hot Buttons. Motivation underpinnings, Financialization
and Laws  6-3
.
References following Job Interviews  9-7
.
Legal Issues. 
Provisional and Utility patent applications
and C-I-P
  7-25
.
Watch-Outs 110.  H3+,
High Pressure Elements, Retractions
  6-14
.
Gig Economy. 
Scientific Writing Editing
Review 
5-26
.
Job Loss, Job Search and Retirement.  5-20
.
Tax Law Change. 
Relocation and :Grosss Up

.
Habits.  Top Four that
enhance your self esteem 
4-17
.
Artificial Intelligence. 
Best Jobs and Predictions  4-14
.
Update on Financial Record-keeping  4-12
.
Professional Profile 7. 
4-5  Technology Specialist,
Science and
Technology Patent LLC

Professional Profile 6. 
2-23  Senior Supervisor
Immunoassay
disease detection
 
Professional Profile 5. 
2-11  Policy and Advocacy Fellow
at
Society for Neuroscience

Professional Profile 4. 
1-21  Pharmaceutical Process
Research

Professional Profile 3. 
1-20  Field Application Scientist
Professional Profile 2. 
1-19  Medical Science Liaison
Professional Profile 1. 
1-15  QUESTIONS.  Applied energy
research
, Photographic production and process research, Adjunct
.
International Travel
New Requirements  3-27
.
Plan S.  OPEN ACCESS
journals 
3-25
.
Online Platforms
Suggestions from Clint Watts  3-16

Recommended Reading
8.  12-29
.
End of Year Career Management 2018  12-23

comments (0)
09/07/19
References following Job Interviews
Filed under: Recent Posts, Interviewing, Position Searching, Mentoring, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 6:17 pm

One of critical pieces of data you must have ready in an interview
is a list of at least three references.

.
Along with this, please know it is critical to have asked those
individuals whether they are available to provide good references
for you.  To help them do their job, it is so critical to provide
a current CV or resume and with whom you have or will be
interviewed.
.
Recommendation references can be requested via mail and email,
 and 
also via email in a phone call where there is an actual
conversation between an interviewer and your reference.
.
I have known HC for nearly ten years where we have worked on
her career path search process.  Her goal from the beginning has 
been to work in a government research lab or federal department
as a scientist/ chemist.  After her Ph.D. she gained a post doc position
in a field related to pharmaceutical sciences.  A four year R&D role
and academic positions followed.  In each, she has come up to speed
quickly and made creditable contribution.
.
Earlier this year, I strongly recommended her for the academic
role.  To prepare me for this we had a telecon to help me develop
an understanding of her motivation and qualifications.  The process
followed where I wrote a supporting letter to the search committee.
Since I have not been a supervisor or co-worker, I perform as
a professional personal reference and provide a brief summary
of my background as a manager and interviewer and teaching
professional skills as a consultant and adjunct for many.
.
Ideal references need to provide your assets and specific examples.
So, it is important that you know he or she will be able to do
this.  Rank of the individual is less significant than their ability
and experience supporting your candidacy.  
.
If your reference is asked to conduct a phone reference
conversation, it may be a sign that your quite highly considered
for the opening and the conversation will “close the deal”.  So
it was for HC, there was a strong positive reaction to the interview
process.  Yet one of the other three references failed to respond.
This could be a situation where you are asked to provide three
references and where you add a fourth, just in case. 

References for professional positions, you should:
-  Have a list of four four professionals–name, title, affiliation,
address, phone (confirm the right one for interviewers to use), email.
(Senior level positions could require 5 to 7.)

-   Obtain permission and availability to provide a good reference
for you
-   Keep your references aware of your progress.
-   Send current resume, CV, cover letter and related documents to
your references.
-   Thank your references, letting them know you appreciate their efforts.
-   When leaving a position, thank your supervisor in that role for their
role with respect to you.
-   Consider greeting references with a holiday card in a personal, more
than casual way.
-  Understand providing a reference requires thought, time and know-how.
Find ways of professionally recognizing them for doing more.
 
3 comments
07/25/19
Legal Issues. Provisional and Utility patent applications and C-i-p,
Filed under: Recent Posts, First Year on Job, Legal matters, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 7:03 pm

Realizing most scientists and engineers receive little
specific training in grad school or their careers related
to patent applications.  It is instructive to see the next
in the series of contributions  by
Taylor Jennings and Maria Inman.

.
Their summary reveals the significant content:  contains a 
synopsis of the discovery of Lithium - LiMPO4 materials
followed by (1) filing provisional patent applications, (2)
filing of utility patent application, and (3) filing continuation -
in - part patent applications,  
.
The strong article clarifies differences  between the two
kinds of applications and the requirements to maintain 
filing date.  
Provisional Patent application
  -claims NOT required
  -will not be examined and not issued as a patent
  -cannot claim domestic or foreign priority
  -21 year term if nonprovisional is filed in 12 months.
(utility is a nonprovisional patent application)
The Jennings and Inman series of Interface articles is
essential reading.  
comments (0)
07/11/19
Hot Buttons. 3. Women in Scientific Leadership Roles
Filed under: Recent Posts, Mentoring, Leadership, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 10:12 am

In the days in mid-20th century, women were a smaller
fraction of class members in math, geology, chemistry,
and physics
classes in many departments.  This population
dynamic resulted in fewer women in scientific leadership
(decision-making) roles.

.
Implementation of programs to reach more representative
fraction of balance in leadership can benefit from thoughtful
attention, like Melinda Gates book 
The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women
Changes the World
She argues that there are unseen benefits by broadening
the equality balance.  While many organizations feel it is
nice to do but do not sense the “pipeline” permits more of
the perceived minority.  In fact it is quite analogous to people
of non-Americans natives in emerging industries– their
different approaches and perspectives offers great benefits. 
It often starts with men and men in families.
.
Ms. Gates writes about how Bill Gates driving his children
to school a couple of days a week moved other families
to share the transportation task in their families as well.
1 comment
06/03/19
Hot buttons. 1. Motivation underpinnings Financialization and Laws
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Legal matters, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 7:35 am

This entry starts a new dialogue called “hot buttons.”

This first button is “Motivation”.  I found it curious what
Ladders” articulated on this topic, that for:
  newbies (1-2 years) -  “new skills or new knowledge and self
pride in accomplishing a task”
  individual contributors (3-7 yrs) - “frequent communication
with higher ups” and value 
in work life balance [whatever that
evolving concept means]
  mid-career (8-15 yrs) - “contribute to their organization’s
overall mission, goals”
  sages (>16 yrs) - being able to and in a position to ‘get
things done.’
.
It seems that business schools have influenced “motivation” as
Kellogg’s School program attests.  Their program offers finding
two or three personal drivers from five — 1- accomplishing meaningful
goals, 2-being part of a collaboration, 3-gaining status, 4-directing and 
controlling your activities, and 5-being part of a larger effort.
.
This blog recognizes these academic elements.  There are
two subsurface realities in our capitalistic system that need
to be realized. 
Reality 1 money-profit- and advantage dominates the economy
of the chemical enterprise.  It is a big business.
[Think of bankruptcies, mergers, patent infringements, and
technology generations.]
Reality 2legal contracts and laws of commerce in different
societies projects a ‘larger than life’ influence on results that
happen.  [Mores in societies evolves over time…think of race
and gender equity.]
Few of my mentors shared this with me early in my career.


 
comments (0)
05/26/19
Gig Economy. Scientific Writing Editing Review
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Mature professionals, Legal matters, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 6:12 am

Say, you have strong technical writing skills in English.
Say, you have time (more than 4 hours a day) and credentials
that clearly show proven skills in improving technical
communications.

.
Well, there is a need, that some societies promote, is available
It is an interesting avocation for some, but I am not advocating
it.  As I contacted an excellent technical writer to seek her 
“take” on this proposal.  As an article by Joanne Chen observes,
while many people look at on-site reviews for determining
a purchase decision, objective assessment from a trusted 
colleague will do better for you.
.
I shared Enago’s offering with Lisa Balbes and bring up several
of her noteworthy comments.  The remuneration is sub-standard, 
sometimes it is not equitable and not timely, the feedback on
performance can seem arbitrary, without recourse..  Other,
online reviews also point out caution.
.
She wisely points out that payment in advance and individual
contracts with stated expectations can avoid many troubles.
comments (0)
04/14/19
Artificial Intelligence. Best Jobs and Predictions
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Legal matters, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 8:36 am

Readers of this blog might look at recent reports for: 

   looking for best jobs
.
  companies are predicting when employees will quit
IBM Watson and GM have a “predictive attrition program” which
assesses employee flight risk and offers proactive steps to retain
those employees.
Career path assessments and key employee skill area predictions
are also AI targets..
Ginni Rometty predicts AI will change 100 % of jobs in the future.
.
Suggestion:  While it is nice to track trends, finding what
is likely to happen in the future and how to prepare for it
is better for our futures.
  
comments (0)
04/05/19
Professional Profile. 7
Filed under: Recent Posts, Interviewing, Position Searching, Networking, Mentoring, First Year on Job, Legal matters, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 8:01 am

Profile:  Technology Specialist, Science and Technology Patent LLC

Style and Responsibilities
Proficient in both experimental and computational exploration of
synthesis and evaluation.  Developed technology assessment 
experience through post-doc and internship.

Personable and highly organized with different cultures.  

Position involves bringing technical skills to bear on business 
strategy and best legal practices for technology concept protection
for biomaterials, formulations, optophotonic electronics, food
and nanomaterials.

Challenges and Stresses
Time is currently a limited resource with long commute, 
management of household with preschool children and 
current housing arrangement.  Am using mentors to figure
out longer term strategies  and encouragement to ask questions
and seek help.

Landing Current position and openness to new opportunities
The search for my current position that I started a month ago
faced several hurdles.  We became new parrents, had my
work papers approved and dealt with several months break in
appointments.  Yet we were successful due to persistence,
preparation and practice.

Just as one might expect, as soon as I started a new position
other opportunities arise.  While the benefits package is quite
satisfactory and meets our needs (eg.  salary exceeds ACS
Salary Comparator benchmark), I will find a way to accept
interview invitations.  I do not do them from my employer’s
locations nor on employer’s time.  I keep all engagements 
confidential and record notes.

Interestingly, since this is a legal position “billable hours”
is a new work constraint that I am learning to include in my
agenda.

Opportunities for Growth
In addition to a highly skilled staff and generous benefits,
the firm offers continuous in-house training, support for
personal growth and patent agent certification and help
in pursuing a legal education.  
1 comment
02/23/19
Professional Profile. 6.
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, First Year on Job, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 2:24 pm
Profile:  Senior Supervisor Immunoassay disease detection.

- What do you say when asked about your personal style and responsibilities? 
I would say my personal style is pretty easy to work with and always trying to
accommodate others reasonable requests within my ability. My responsibility
I would say it’s really to help others, either it’s the upper management or my
colleagues. 
- Are you challenged?  What stresses you? 
I’m definitely challenged at work, but I welcome that as it gives me a sense
of accomplishment. As with any projects, finding and managing resources can
be pretty stressful, but I think our team are doing pretty well so far.

- Describe your title, how long you have been in your role and your most
enjoyable responsibilities and tasks. 
I currently hold a supervisory role and I enjoy very much working with my team
to meet our targets and present our work together to the cross functional team.

- How did you land your current position?  Do you continuously keep an open
mind to changing positions?  How long should we stay in our positions? 
I started as a scientist role in my current company and was approached by my
current boss to work on a special project that expands our companies current
portfolio, which I thought was and still is pretty interesting. As my experience
grows, I always think about the next step, for which I have continuous dialogue
with my current boss.

- What do you believe aided you in being awarded your position? 
Not afraid to take on really challenging but low visibility tasks.

- Have you refused an offer that you think you should have taken?  What were
the factors in your decision? 
Yes, long term professional growth was probably the biggest reason I decided
to refuse. The offer I refused was definitely a much better short term offer, but
I think I made the right decision.

- What opportunities and challenges do you see provide growth for you? 
Right now, gaining experience in resource and project management is the
biggest learning opportunity for me.

- What are ways that you go out of your way to expand your network? 
So far, I think not being afraid to ask for help and others advice has helped.

What comments do you wish to make for people who are graduating or
planning on moving on in the next year? 
Keep an open mind, what you do after graduating may be different than
what you studied for 5+ years. Be prepared for the interview and know your
audience before your presentation, expect questions on anything you put
up on the slides, sometimes it’s the small details that trip people over.

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02/11/19
Professional Profile. 5.
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Networking, Job Offer (Situations), First Year on Job, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 8:04 am


Profile: Policy & Advocacy Fellow at Society for Neuroscience


- What do you say when asked about your personal style and responsibilities?

In terms of overall work, I like to be given a project and work independently, while knowing where to go for help if needed. It’s also very important for me to know where my work fits into the overall mission of the group, and that we all work together towards a common goal- that is usually very motivating for me. I also typically enjoy being given a great deal of responsibility in my work, as I take that as a sign of trust and therefore try to achieve the goals at hand as best I can. I try to utilize these principles in my current job, where I am part of a great team and also feel that I am given enough freedom to learn, explore, and manage projects and assignments. We have plenty of meetings about various aspects of the work, which is very helpful. I enjoy the group interactions as well as the independent work.  


- Are you challenged?  What stresses you?

I’m challenged every day in the sense that I am faced with having to find something, learn a new system or vocabulary- sometimes I am challenged in terms of time constraints, other times because I am working on a task that I’ve never done before. But this also contributes to the value of this experience. I was lucky enough to be given this opportunity to be a Policy & Advocacy Fellow at Society for Neuroscience. This is my first exposure to working in a department where there is a blend of biomedical PhDs and those from other backgrounds, and first time working for a scientific society and seeing how that works, while also learning more about policy & advocacy. I enjoy being fully immersed in all the novel experiences in this position, whether they are in the office, or outside going to Hill events (which is a lot of fun!). What stresses me is sometimes the element of surprise or changing circumstances, meetings or tasks, although currently I am fascinated by everything and soaking it all in. In general, I like stability, but in some cases, especially if it’s something I am interested in and wanting to learn more about, I welcome chaos and embrace new things no matter how hectic it is, because I know it’s a tremendous learning opportunity and I feel passionate about it. I suppose a lot of how we approach life comes down to our attitude towards things- if we think that something is exciting and we are grateful for it, we will enjoy it more. I am also stressed sometimes about not knowing what comes next in my career, however from past experience, my plans don’t usually work out but something else works out which typically turns out to be even better than I could have ever imagined. So I’m trying to learn a bit of the art of “going with the flow” and seeing where my interests and passions will lead, and enjoy the process.


- Describe your title, how long you have been in your role and your most enjoyable responsibilities and tasks.

I am the Policy & Advocacy Fellow at Society for Neuroscience. I started in this role on January 2, 2019. I enjoy having variety in my day, therefore the ideal day is a combination of office work and Hill time, which is not very common (although Hill Day in March will be exciting). The idea of interacting with people outside the office during the workday for networking is really important, and I’m trying to also take advantage of living in D.C. and engage in experiences outside of work as well, because there is so much here for me to learn from and I don’t want to miss useful opportunities. In terms of specifics, I enjoy drafting letters and working on excel sheets with information, especially if I know what the goal for them is, and in particular if they are collaborative efforts. It’s exciting to contribute to a collective project in the office, but I also enjoy being out of the office to and getting some practical experience.


- How did you land your current position?  
Do you continuously keep an open
mind to changing positions?  
How long should we stay in our positions?

I had some prior science policy experience. Once I realized that I wanted to pursue this as a career path, I applied to relevant jobs that fit my background. Out of all the jobs I applied to and interviewed for, this was my favorite, so I am very happy to be in it now. I searched for and applied to jobs for some time, and in the process learned the right level of job to apply for, my application materials improved and my Skype interview skills sharpened with each conversation. This position just happened to be there at the right time, I was very excited about it (which probably showed in the process!) and it was just a really good fit overall. I was happy to learn that, when I got the position, everyone in the office unanimously voted that it should be me. I am reminded of this every day and I am really grateful for how accepting and welcoming they have been towards me since the very beginning. I’m also lucky to be in a really good working environment, which I didn’t always have. I think we should stay in our positions for as long as we are still learning and growing in them, and when it starts becoming boring and not useful, switch. We should not switch if it’s challenging, however, only if there are good reasons to do it. We should always be striving to better ourselves and thus look for that next thing that will allow us to accomplish that. The exception to this is a situation where the environment is really toxic or detrimental to our well-being, in that case we should leave it immediately.


- What do you believe aided you in being awarded your position?

I had demonstrated prior interest and passion in the area that I was looking to get hired for, and this position was a logical next step for me. I was able to articulate what I had previously learned and done, but also knew exactly why I wanted this position. I was looking for exactly this type of experience as the next step in my career. Although I had some experience with policy, I had never worked in a department like this. I work hard and I think I had demonstrated that in the past, so I came across as someone who was reliable and whom they could count on for pretty much any task at hand, which I imagine is what they were looking for. Finally, I also had the scientific background, and I believe they wanted a PhD graduate for this position, and that serves me well now as I am able to apply that background to this position. At the same time, I am also learning the policy & advocacy side of it, which is what I wanted to learn. Overall this is a win-win situation, and I think that everyone on the team is gaining from it. Plus, it is a really good working environment which is great.


- Have you refused an offer that you think you should have taken?  
What were the factors in your decision?

Not an offer. There were other potential interviews on the horizon when I decided to accept this one, and some of those were more long-term and potentially more stable as well. But this was my only offer I had at the time, and I didn’t want to wait any longer before moving in this direction, so I accepted immediately. At the time I was still toying with several options as to where I wanted my career to go, and I applied for jobs in two different directions along the same continuum. In a sense it was maybe a bit of a coin toss in terms of which one would work out first. Interestingly, I interviewed for the other type of job first, and I got pretty far in the process (I got to the in-person interview) but then ended up not getting the job, which I was very disappointed by. In retrospect, I am grateful that happened because it determined my direction towards something else that I instinctively knew was the right thing for me, and my current position was exactly that. I remember saying to a friend after I didn’t get the other job offer that it would be ideal for me to work in policy at a scientific society. I am now doing that, so it couldn’t have worked out any better!


- What opportunities and challenges do you see provide growth for you?

Right now this position is both a tremendous opportunity and challenge at the same time, and I took the job knowing that it would be both, and I need both. I haven’t entirely figured out where to go from here, but I am learning more every day about what my future interests might be and where I might want to take it, just by being exposed to various experiences. My opportunity right now is to work with people from a different background, and learn how they think about the same issue that I am bringing my scientific expertise to. This is really valuable. The challenge is that I to put myself in situations which are outside of my comfort zone. I purposely seek them out because I know they will be growth opportunities for me. Sometimes this means talking to someone I might be intimidated by, so I force myself to just go up to them and start talking! This job is definitely teaching me how to network, and I find it’s getting easier overtime. I also often seek out projects that I know nothing about but could help with, in order to gain that expertise and grow in a different direction that I might not have explored otherwise.


- What are ways that you go out of your way to expand your network?

Being in DC provides a lot of opportunities to meet people, and I find that most people are happy to have an afternoon coffee and talk about what they do. This is usually very  informative for me, and provides good practice for me in talking about my interests and goals to as many people as possible. The interesting thing is that I almost always get a different response, a new perspective, or a resource I didn’t have before. I attend some events related to work, and others on my own in particular if they are on something I am interested in (for example at the NASEM) but wouldn’t have the opportunity attend in person otherwise. I also try to go to social events related to policy work, where either peers or higher level experts would be present, and seek to meet both types of people. I find that talking with peers is helpful for practicing my pitch before going up to someone who might be more intimidating.


- What comments do you wish to make for people who are graduating or planning on moving on in the next year?

I would say that career exploration should be a constant endeavor, and not done only when you are in your last year of your PhD, for example. Don’t wait until the end to try and figure out what you might want to do. Every day is an opportunity to explore something new, and everything you do can change your career trajectory. If you work in the lab, get out and meet people, especially those from different research areas or non-scientific backgrounds, because you will learn a lot. Keep an eye out for opportunities to grow and help others in your community. Never stop learning and growing, and find opportunities that will facilitate both of these things.


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