- Who are we? The Penn Postdoc Editors Association is a volunteer group of postdocs who are interested in the editing/writing career path and are dedicated to helping the Penn community.
- How can we help you? We provide editing of a variety of different types of documents, including manuscripts, abstracts, grant proposals, and slides/posters for meetings.
- How much does the service cost? Absolutely nothing. Our services are completely free.
Please visit our website for more information: www.med.upenn.edu/bpc/editors_club.shtml or email us: firstname.lastname@example.org
Why should you join the Biomedical Postdoctoral Council?
1. Develop initiatives and programs to improve and enhance the biomedical postdoctoral experience at Penn.
2. Improve your “soft skills” that employers look for in new employees.
3. Cultivate leadership skills that are essential in any career.
4. Meet and network with other postdocs in different fields throughout the university.
5. Have fun working with a great group of postdocs!
Even if you can only spare a few minutes a week, we have a role for you! Our meetings are held on the first Monday of each month at 5:00 and are open to all postdocs. Please join us!
**We are currently seeking a treasurer, seminar chair, and community service chair.**
For more information, please visit our website: www.med.upenn.edu/bpc or email us: email@example.com
Monday, April 2, 2012 – BPC Meeting, 104 Stellar-Chance
Friday, April 6, 2012 – Post-doc Happy Hour, City Tap House
Thursday, April 12, 2012 – New Postdoc Orientation, CRB Austrian Auditorium
Monday, May 7, 2012 – BPC Meeting, 104 Stellar-Chance
Tuesday, July 24, 2012 – Second Annual Scientific Vendor Fair and Technology Seminar, BRB Lobby
By Caleph B. Wilson
What is the Biomedical Postdoctoral Council (BPC), and what has it done for me lately? Unfortunately, too many biomedical postdocs are asking these questions. As scientists our approach does not just require posing a question. Instead, we have to ask the most appropriate question(s). So, I propose this question: How can postdocs proactively maximize their overall training experience at the University of Pennsylvania?
Okay, let’s start with the two opening questions. The BPC serves as a platform to advocate for policy issues related to the postdoctoral training. In fact, each biomedical postdoc is a member of the BPC; however, only a few us chair or serve on committees. Now, before your blood pressure rises in anticipation of a lecture, let me be clear: I am not wagging my finger at postdocs. We are very busy people who are intensely focused on our careers. Our time is very valuable. However, the collective diversity of all of our respective training experiences can serve your individual postdoctoral training experience very well, and the BPC is listening.
Specifically, the BPC recently created the Career Enhancement and Training (CET) Committee to address a wide range of career issues voiced by fellow postdocs. One of CET’s charges is to encourage postdocs to utilize the many career workshops and events offered at Penn. The Office of Biomedical Postdoctoral Programs (BPP) and University Career Services offer many programs that will augment the professional development of postdocs. Many of the activities are applicable for those of us pursuing both academic or non-academic careers. For example, the monthly Career Services Walk-Ins are very useful for preparing job search materials such as CVs (academic) and resumes (government and industry). CET strongly recommends that postdocs develop and keep both documents up-to-date in preparation for unexpected opportunities. Taking advantage of the Walk-Ins early and throughout your time at Penn is strongly encouraged.
As mentioned above, this is not a lecture. Rather, I am attempting to demonstrate the value of active postdoc participation in the BPC, as well as the value of communicating our concerns to the BPC. The BPC appreciates and welcomes input from the biomedical postdoctoral community. Therefore, consider becoming an active member of the BPC by serving on committees. Your thoughts and experiences do and should have a great impact on postdoctoral training at Penn.
By Sarah J Collington
As postdocs, we have spent the majority our lives studying hard to get to this where we are. But what made you consider a career in science? Did you always have an inquisitive nature and want understand how things work? Did you want to help cure diseases? Perhaps you were a good science student and a teacher suggested it. Maybe you had exposure to this career through family members. Whatever your reasons, at some point you have decided to invest a lot of blood, sweat and tears to cultivate a scientific research career, something you hopefully love!
Here at Penn, in an environment where we are surrounded by like-minded people that have made similar choices, it can be difficult to consider what other people think about science and why they didn’t make the same choices. While many people think that they could never be a scientist, once you get talking most people are generally interested and can see the benefits of scientific research, provided the information is communicated in a manner they can grasp. I certainly found that once I started my PhD, my friends and family would constantly bombard me with questions about any aspect of science they had read in the paper or seen on TV. In their eyes, PhD meant expert, even if it was not my area of research! As researchers, we have a responsibility to participate in the public engagement of science, and to provide opportunities for people of all ages and backgrounds to learn about, discuss and challenge the sciences and their implications. One opportunity is the Philadelphia Science Festival which will take place April 20-29. Every year, Philadelphia’s schools, universities, cultural institutions, and research centers unite as one to put science in the spotlight. Scientists and engineers throughout the city offer fun, interactive programs for Philadelphians of all ages. Events are diverse to include things such as the science of beer, a science scavenger hunt, science cabaret and a science festival on the Ben Franklin Parkway.
Taking into account the long training involved, it is definitely not a career that many people choose to enter later on in life. For that reason, it is particularly important to engage school-aged children in the importance of science. It is something that affects everyone’s lives in some way so it is important to continue to inspire the next generation of scientist and also ensure that the population of scientists reflects society it impacts. One organization that arranges such outreach schemes locally is iPRAXIS. iPRAXIS is a non-profit based in the University City Science Center which aims to foster opportunities to engage Philadelphia’s underrepresented communities in science and technology through education, entrepreneurship and advocacy.For several years, the Biomedical Postdoc Council Community Services Committee has partnered with iPRAXIS to provide postdoc volunteers to mentor middle school students in preparation for their science fair. As a scienteer (iPRAXIS’s word not mine!), you have the opportunity to expose the students to the idea of science as a career as well give them personal guidance for their science fair projects. You also benefit from the hands-on teaching and communication experience that is obtained. It’s a great feeling to see the students get enthusiastic about the research process and be able to communicate their findings to the science fair judges and their peers. iPRAXIS also organizes guest teaching and career presentations to deliver specific sessions that mesh with the teacher’s existing lesson plans.
As postdocs, we are all well aware that it is not just a job but something that takes over most of our lives. Even at times when we may question our choices, it is important to remember what inspired us to pursue a career in science. It is even more important to be able to share these experiences with those outside of our world. By participating in science outreach activities, you can help to demystify some of what research entails and, inspire the next generation of scientists.
Part 3 of a series on scientists and science communication in social media
By Bethany Brookshire
So you think you want to get involved as a practicing scientist in online science communication? There are many reasons to want to get involved online. Perhaps my recent articles have persuaded you that post-publication peer review could be useful. Perhaps you want to interest young people or adults in what you do. Maybe you want the public to see scientists as more than just people in white coats with colored liquid in beakers. Perhaps you want to hone your skills in online communication or writing in order to branch out and provide yourself with new and useful experience in an uncertain academic world. Whatever the reason, this article can help you determine which platforms you want to use and how you might want to use them as you enter the wild west of the internet.
Twitter: You may have heard of Twitter, the online platform where you “follow” people who interest you, and get “followed” by others in turn. This highly concise format is limited to 140 characters at a time, but that hasn’t stopped Twitter from acquiring a strong contingent of scientists. Many scientists use Twitter to follow other scientists, to share links to articles of interest, and to promote themselves and their lab. Twitter can allow you to connect with other scientists, follow information during meetings*, and even receive updates on grants via the NIH Twitter feed.
Facebook and Google+: We all know about Facebook. While it can be a great way to connect with friends and share information, it can be harder to do so in an official capacity (unless you can get people to “like” your blog or website). Google +, on the other hand, while having privacy settings, can also allow you to put people in “circles” of who sees what, allowing personal friends to see one set of information while a professional circle sees another. But places where you connect with friends and family might not be the best places to practice your online science communication. If you want to practice your scientific writing, you need…
Blogs: Blogs are incredibly easy to set up and personalize (as well as privatize), and can be personal or professional (or even both). On a blog you have no word limit, and can use it to practice your science communication with the public by talking about your lab’s work , engaging in post-publication peer review on articles in your field, giving and receiving advice about funding and academic life, or even focusing on “life in science”. Blogging can be a great way to practice writing science aimed at people with various levels of knowledge or background. It can be a good way to connect with other scientists in different fields, and it can keep you abreast of the latest work in fields outside your own. Before starting, think carefully about whom you want your audience to be (Other scientists? Non-scientists? Kids?). Find other blogs that target that audience, and find out what tactics they use. Find out how they acquire an audience. Get in touch with them. And start writing! Find out what works and what doesn’t, and hone your skills in science communication.
Regardless of which method you choose, don’t be afraid to step into online communication of science. Your audience is out there, and a lesson in science communication is just one click away.
Footnotes: *Scientific meetings such as Experimental Biology have their own “hashtags [#]” which allow you to filter your search to see only tweets related to the meeting.
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