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Careers

ASM’s careers blog focuses on young scientists seeking career advice, professional development and career exploration. Here you’ll find “a day in the life” profiles on working scientists, tips and tricks on how to craft resumes, find a mentor and transition from academia to industry.

Wednesday, 29 March 2017 09:53

Surviving Your First Year of Graduate School

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Graduate school is no walk in the park, and the first year can be especially hard because of the challenges that come with being in a new environment, learning what is expected of you, and the rigors of balancing lab work and classes. Many students end up feeling helpless, overwhelmed, and lost. We asked current graduate students about their first-year experiences and what advice they have for surviving the first year of graduate school.
Wednesday, 22 March 2017 11:48

Picking Lab Rotations: Dating in Graduate School

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Your first year of graduate school will probably consist of taking classes and doing lab rotations, a trial period to assess a lab and its people, while they assess you, to determine if it’s a good match. Rotations are like dating for a long-term relationship but with research and mentors. How many rotations do you do? How do you pick rotation labs? And, how long do you stay?
When Bryan Crable was a graduate student, he attended an ASM conference and learned about research in the government sector at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. He later decided to do a postdoc there and now is a Research Scientist at the Air Force Research Laboratory. He shares what makes networking worthwhile and what helped him in his career.
Wednesday, 08 March 2017 14:07

Perspectives: Thriving in the Sciences as a Woman

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On International Women’s Day, we hear from women about their perspectives on thriving in the sciences. They recommend that women be more confident and find key mentors that can guide them through the initial stages of their career. They encourage all women to be supportive of other women and their choices.
Some of us know that we want to pursue a Ph.D. and conduct research, while others have doubts. If you had an occasional internship or no research experience at all, becoming a lab tech is a good way to assess whether research excites you. We interviewed Brittney Ivanov, a lab tech at Trinity University, about what she does and what factors to consider for a lab tech job. Her experience has taught her that research is a very collaborative environment that must include outreach to the general public. 
Are you interested in science policy? Dr. Kate Stoll, a Senior Policy Advisor, shares her career path, what she does in her current position, and how to be competitive for science policy. In her current role, she bridges researchers and policy-makers by creating policy-relevant reports that are shared with the government. 
Wednesday, 15 February 2017 11:54

Public Outreach in Science: The What, Why, and How

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In today’s world, direct engagement with those outside of science is critical not only to communicating what we’ve discovered, but also to promoting an atmosphere of trust between scientists and the public. Direct engagement can mean many things, but for Katherine Lontok, public outreach is a powerful and immediate means of bridging the gap. She explains what public outreach is, why it's important, and how to do it yourself. 
You know about industry research, but what about government research that includes aspects of regulatory review? We break down how one student transitioned from academia to government, the differences between the two sectors, and how to get involved in regulatory review once inside the FDA. She also goes on to share her passion of getting more women into science.  
Wednesday, 01 February 2017 08:54

Experience Needed for an Industry Managerial Career

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You’ve finally landed a research job in a pharmaceutical or biotechnology company and after spending a few years mastering your job, you might want to move into the business side. But exactly how much business experience/background do you need to be competitive for a management position within industry? We interviewed Dr. Alita Miller of Entasis Therapeutics and Dr. Sarah McHatton of Novozymes to get their insights on this question.
Wednesday, 25 January 2017 11:59

The Importance of Finding the Right Mentor

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With January being National Mentoring Month, we hear a personal story about mentorship from Dr. Alan Goggins, a new Microbiology and Immunology graduate. After a tough start with mentoring, he switched labs during graduate school and discovered a few factors to consider when finding the right mentor. 
Wednesday, 18 January 2017 10:00

5 Reasons Why Having Multiple Mentors Helps You

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Who do you go to with questions on your career? Or when your PCR isn’t working? How about when you have a conflict with a coworker? Although it may be easier to approach your dissertation mentor or an appointed advisor to get clarity on these questions, why not consider going to an expert or another mentor? In celebration of National Mentoring Month, learn about the benefits of having multiple mentors. 
Wednesday, 04 January 2017 15:21

How to Pick a Post-Doc Position

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One of the challenges for any PhD candidate is to decide if they want to pursue a post-doctoral position after graduation.  This challenge can become more daunting when decisions need to be made about where (and under who) this post-doc should be conducted as well as the post-doctoral research topic.  However, it’s important to know that you are not alone in making these types of decisions. Microbe Mentor reached out to three relatively new post-docs, regarding their post-doc decisions.  Despite different backgrounds, they collectively agreed that it was critical to first determine what was important to them. The factors and their importance…
What is your personal brand? Have you spent time purposefully shaping it, or has it evolved on its own? Do you wonder what a “personal brand” even is? One of the great things about the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS) is that it combines scientific sessions and professional development opportunities for students. At ABRCMS 2016, Dr. Marquita Qualls of Entropia Consulting presented a session on building your personal brand.
Wednesday, 21 December 2016 10:10

ASM’s Top 5 Career Advice Tips from 2016

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The most viewed career articles of 2016 with career advice tips.
Scott Cunningham, a Research and Development Technologist at the Mayo Clinic, identifies new technologies and applications for the clinical lab. He moved up the ranks to become an expert in procedural matters and training of new staff. He encourages students to aim for new goals by training for new methods and taking on additional projects. Find out more about what he does and advice for trainees.  
Do you like working in a hospital with patient samples? Ty Cox, a medical lab scientist at Banner University Medical Center in Tucson shares his journey and what skills are needed for his profession. As he juggles his new position, he is learning to manage his time better and take on new responsibilities.
Informational interviewing is a teachnique where you gather information about a career field, an organization, one’s career path, that position’s daily responsibilities, skills that are needed for a particular position, and many more topics so that you can decide on what career path is right for you. 
Do you have a Ph.D. and want to learn about your options? Mark Campbell, a biological safety officer, shares what he does, how he got there, and advice for trainees.  
Monday, 14 November 2016 08:20

How to Find the Science Career for You

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It’s no secret that STEM academic research and faculty positions, particularly tenure-track positions, are harder to come by now than they were decades ago. Thus, recent Ph.D. graduates are more likely to work outside of academia than within, and current graduate students are looking for information on varied career options. Students often have difficulty finding this career information. Academic advisors may be underprepared to discuss non-academic career options, and students and postdocs may be too busy in the lab to pursue outside professional development or may not know where to look for this information. 
The decision to attend graduate school has huge implications on any young microbiologist. It can determine lifelong colleagues and friends, impact future research directions, and build business opportunities. It is no wonder, then, that the ultimate goal of any applicant is to find a university, program, and ultimately an advisor, that will satisfy the student’s current and future needs. Once the applicant has identified where he or she would like to spend the next few years of their lives, either as a Master’s student or a Ph.D. candidate, the next challenge is to convince this university/program/advisor to accept the responsibility…
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