Month: August 2015

4 Tips for living in Boston: a Postdoc perspective

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1. Reconcile the cost of housing in Boston

Due to the large population, limited space and antique infrastructure, housing in Boston is one of the most expensive in the country. The average STUDIO apartment goes for an average of $1000 a month. Combine that with a high cost of living (Boston is 28% higher than the national average) and your postdoctoral stipend can be eaten up fairly quickly. Luckily Boston is an amazing city and when you have the opportunity to hear about amazing new startups and collaborate with some of the best researchers in the world, so hopefully the fact that you can’t save as much as you want to during your postdoc can be mitigated by the awesome scientific community around you.

2. Utilize the amazing science community around you

Regardless of whether you want a career in academic science or private industry, networking will further your career goals in ways you cannot even foresee. The great thing about Boston is that there are an incredible amount of networking opportunities and seminars for you to attend! From the great events put on by the Postdoc Association and Graduate Student Councils at Tufts to outside organizations that bring people together. Here is a short list of some organizations and events that are well worth looking into! There are plenty others!

Start networking yesterday!

3. Take advantage of the seasons

Boston is known for its amazing seasons. Spring is revitalizing with flowers blooming and warmer weather rolling in. Summer is hot and sometimes humid, perfect for enjoying the beach or esplanade. Fall brings the gorgeous autumn colors and cooler nights and preludes to the colder winter months. Most Bostonians understand that for 4 months of year (December through March), they may be stuck inside due to bad weather, so they make the most of the spring, summer and fall months. There are a myriad of activities during this time, from concerts and Shakespeare in the park to food truck festivals, sporting events and much more.

4. Explore the city

Boston is one of the oldest cities in the USA and is world-renowned for it’s amazing history. However, don’t just get a Lobster Roll and stroll through Faneuil Hall and call it a day. Boston and the surrounding area is teeming with great sights and sounds. Here are a few ideas:

Although the lab is always calling, try to take some time out for yourself and make sure you get to experience the fantastic city Boston is!

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Weekly Highlights – 28th August 2015

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Upcoming Events:

Sept 9

Get Powerful: Achieving influence, a MASS-AWIS Seminar
Click on link for more details

Sept 15

Futures in Life Sciences: Big Data Careers
(One of our former postdocs, Viktoria is a panelist!)

Saturday, Sept 19th

Sarah Cardozo Duncan: the Career Strategist’s guide to finding a job after your PhD.
A Career Development Workshop

12pm – 4pm
Behrakis Auditorium, Jaharis Building, Boston campus,  150 Harrison Ave, Boston MA 02111

  • Identify your best skills to fit your dream job and how to leverage them
  • Learn how to network from a pro!
  • Includes a free lunch!

12pm – 4pm, Jaharis Auditorium, Boston campus,  150 Harrison Ave, Boston MA 02111

Register for free HERE!

Thursday, Sept 24th

Postdoctoral Office Poster Competition

9am – 11:30am
Sackler 114, Boston Campus

The event will be a great opportunity for postdocs across all of Tufts to come together and present a poster showcasing their research! First and second place winners in junior and senior categories will receive a travel award to be used towards travel to a meeting or conference. First place awards will be $1,000 and second place will be $500. Please contact Sara for entry form and guidelines. Entries are due by September 16th. Please send completed applications and any queries to Sara: Sara.Abbott@tufts.edu

Take your PI to lunch (Boston campus)

12pm – 1pm
Sackler 216A

Bring your PI to a nice lunch to celebrate postdocs or come by yourself!
Please register with Sara: Sara.Abbott@tufts.edu

Friday, Sept 25th

Take your PI to lunch (Medford campus)

12pm – 1pm
Aidekman Arts Center, Remis Sculpture Court

Bring your PI to a nice lunch to celebrate postdocs or come by yourself!
Please register with Sara: Sara.Abbott@tufts.edu

Aeronaut Brewery Tour

5:30pm – 8:30pm
14 Tyler St
Somerville, MA, 02143

Join the Tufts Postdoctoral Association in celebrating the end of Postdoc Appreciation Week!  We’ll be touring the inner workings of the Aeronaut Brewing Co. and then sampling their wares (try a craft beer on us) and dining on the finest local pizza!

It’s going to be a fun night of the science of brewing, enjoying great beer and company.   Come and meet your fellow postdocs!  Significant others are welcome at this social event.

Tours are available 5:30pm – 6pm and 6pm – 6:30pm.

You can register online HERE. Cost is $19.45 and includes the tour, a craft beer and pizza. Password is pstdocslovebeer

Please note, you can also register and pay for the tour in person via cash (only $17.50) at the Boston and Medford campuses and save yourself the processing fees! Please see the following locations. Please bring correct change!

Boston campus: Jaharis cafe, Mon 8/31 & Wed 9/2 from 12pm – 1pm (Ania – anna.wronski@tufts.edu)
Medford campus: 8/28 from 12:30pm-1:30pm at 200 Boston Ave, 4th floor lounge and 9/1 from 3:30pm-4pm in the Barnum lobby (Sarah – sarah.dykstra@tufts.edu).

Posts from our Facebook page:

Career development:

Lab Resources:

News/Opinions

Fun

Job Opportunities:

Highlights of the Week – 21st August 2015

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Upcoming Events:

Sept 9

Get Powerful: Achieving influence, a MASS-AWIS Seminar
Click on link for more details

Sept 15

Futures in Life Sciences: Big Data Careers
(One of our former postdocs, Viktoria is a panelist!)

Sept 19

Postdoc Appreciation Week: Career Development Workshop with Sarah Cardozo Duncan
Details TBA

Sept 24

Postdoc Poster Competition on Boston campus
Details TBA

Take your PI to lunch – Boston campus
12PM Sackler 216A

Sept 25

Take your PI to lunch – Medford campus
12PM Aidekman Arts Center, Remis Sculpture Court

Posts from the Tufts PDA Facebook page:

Career Articles & Resources:

News/Opinions

Awards, Grants, Job Postings & Other Opportunities

Fun

Highlights of the Week – 14th August 2015

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Upcoming Events:

Sept 9

Get Powerful: Achieving influence, a MASS-AWIS Seminar
Click on link for more details

Sept 19

Postdoc Appreciation Week: Career Development Workshop with Sarah Cardozo Duncan
Details TBA

Sept 24

Postdoc Poster Competition on Boston campus
Details TBA

Take your PI to lunch – Boston campus
12PM Sackler 216A

Sept 25

Take your PI to lunch – Medford campus
12PM Aidekman Arts Center, Remis Sculpture Court

Posts on the Tufts PDA Blog:

Posts from the Tufts PDA Facebook page:

Career Articles & Resources:

News/Opinion pieces/Other:

Events:

How to work out what you want to be when you grow up – An intro to Individual Development Plans

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What are you going to be when you grow up?

We are already adults, yet the majority of postdocs and PhD students are likely plagued with this simple question that we have been asked since we could talk.

As scientists, we have a large number of scientific, analytical and managerial skills that benefit a wide array of jobs. You possess many transferable skills (such as project and time management, risk analysis and conflict resolution) that you may not even be aware of. In the haze of all the possibility – how do you know what is the best career for you?

One strategy is to create a list of must haves and deal breakers and try to identify career paths that fit what you are looking for. Do you want to work 9-5? Perhaps consulting is not for you. Do you need financial stability? An academic career may make this more difficult (although definitely not impossible, and once you gain tenure, faculty positions are arguably one of the most stable jobs).

Another very useful tool is to use an Independent Development Plan. Science Careers has a fantastic one that is free to use upon registration. It is a three part assessment tool that analyzes your skills, interests and values to identify career paths that align with all of these areas. The hardest part of the process is being completely honest with yourself about your responses – the tool does a better job if you range your responses from 1 to 5, rather than answering everything as a 5 or “strongly agree”.

These are my top 10 results from the Science Careers IDP tool:

MyIDP v2

One thing you will notice is that my percentage skills match for all paths was between 93% and 87%, pretty high! This means I have the skills to do all of these jobs, however – would I like doing them? Thats where the Interests match comes in. It tries to align what you enjoy doing and your requirements for a content life with what jobs require of you and can also give you. My percentage match based on my interests varied much more than my skills match (I did pull out the spreadsheets and crunch the numbers!). This means you shouldn’t necessarily be looking at jobs just because your skills matches what they require. You have a much better chance being successful in a career if you are happy doing it!

Tools like an independent development plan are just the first step to your dream career. Once you have identified where you could be looking, you then need to head out into the world, network, do informational interviews and really find out what the job is about. Does it really match your interests? If not, head back and try researching a different career path. By doing these informational interviews and networking you are also expanding your own network of people, one of whom may know of a job that might be perfect fit for you.

It is definitely a long road, but as seasoned researchers, our major skill is to find information and critically evaluate all options. Why only research your lab work? Why not apply your research skills to finding the best career that aligns with your goals and interests?

Good luck!

Cover Image By Afirsichbaum (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

First published on Adage of Ania

Fortnightly Highlights – 08/07/15

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highlighter-603992_1280Interesting posts from our Facebook page:

Career Articles and Resources:
9 Ways to Manage and Overcome Academic Stress and Transition into Industry by Cheeky Scientist
Best industry transition articles of the week for PhDs (July 26 2015) by Cheeky Scientist
Job seekers: How to banish those job interview jitters by Forbes
Why PhDs shouldn’t overlook a career with a non-profit organization by Cheeky Scientist
What you need to know before inviting people to connect on LinkedIn by Career Sherpa
So you want to be a science writer by Cell Press
Basics of Venture Capital by BiotechLikeMind
In conversation with Brian Schmidt, podcast with the Nobel Prize winner about training researchers by NatureJobs
Insider Knowledge (how to get ahead in science) by NatureJobs
Leaving academia: Do’s and Don’ts by NatureJobs
How to survive your PhD – a free course (works well for postdocs too!) by The Thesis Whisperer
Why not have a life? from our very own Gary McDowell in Science Magazine
5 Mistakes to avoid in your one-on-ones with your manager by Quickbase Intuit
What is it like to be an AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow? from Brandeis U Blog
Tips for writing a scientific review article by ASCB
Best industry transition articles of the week for PhDs (Aug 2, 2015) by Cheeky Scientist
12 ways to get more out of attending a conference by US News and World Report
Essay on how academics should approach “revise and resubmit” responses from journals by Insider Higher Ed
How to choose a postdoc position: A step by step guide by Biotechin Asia
12 tips for scientists writing for the general public by American Scientist
How to get your boss to read your emails – and act on them by Quickbase Intuit
International Postdoc Survival Guide by National Postdoc Association
10 steps to executive-level confidence by Wall Street Journal
How to use your LinkedIn profile to power a career transition by Harvard Business Review
Making it in academia: Before and after you apply by NatureJobs blog
Gaining leadership skills volunteering at a professional organization by Addgene blog
How to break up with an innovation project by Harvard Business Review

News and Opinions
Rethinking graduate education by Science Magazine
Vision and Change in Undergraduate Biology Education: Chronicling Change, Inspiring the Future by AAAS
Elizabeth Warren and Newt Gingrich agree on call for more NIH funding by the Boston Globe
Shaping the Future of Research: a perspective from junior scientists (from the Future of Research group, including many Tufts postdocs!) in F1000Research
Request for information on the NIH-wide 5 year strategic plan. Have issues with postdoc training? Tell the NIH!
White house announces nominees for NSF deputy director and head of the Energy Department’s Office of Science by Science News.
Subscription to Nature magazine for only $50

Events
– August 9: MASS AWIS Annual Summer Potluck
– August 13: Women in Bio: Fundraising Bootcamp: Step by step guide for success.

Job Opportunities and Fellowships
Desktop Genetics on the AngelList startup database
American Council of Learned Societies
Graduate Research Fellowship Program by NSF