Sharing Opportunities for Careers in Science Communications
How versatile is a Ph.D. in science when it comes to making career choices?
On Thursday, November 30, 2017, in its ongoing efforts to help advance the personal and career goals of students and postdocs at the College of Medicine, Einstein's Women's Networking Group sought to answer this question, teaming with NYC Science Communication (NYCSC) and the Einstein graduate division to host “Science Communication and Careers Beyond the Bench.”
Event organizers with panelists and keynote speaker Jamie Talan (second from right).
“The realm of modern science has been steadily widening beyond the confines of research and academia,” noted Sara Nik, who serves as program planning chair for NYCSC and organized the event with classmates Renee Symonds and Alyssa Casill. “As more members of the general public seek to better understand the various aspects of science and nature that affect their lives, science communications has grown as a market for those with the ability to make scientific findings more relatable.”
Nearly 50 graduate students and postdoctoral fellows gathered in LeFrak Auditorium, at the Price Center/Block Research Pavilion, to learn from professionals working within science communications and related industries about how to pursue careers outside bench research and teaching.
Tips from an Expert
The event featured a talk by veteran science writer and journalist Jamie Talan, followed by a panel discussion that included four (out of five) College of Medicine alumni.
Ms. Talan is an Atlantic Fellow at the Global Health Brain Institute, , a collaborative program between the University of California, San Francisco, and Trinity College in Dublin. She has spent her career writing about the brain for various publications, most notably the newspaper Newsday, chronicling the advances and setbacks in in neurological disorders and neuroscience research, and championing the role of science in enhancing the human condition.
Ms. Talan told stories from her long journalistic career and highlighted some of the challenges a writer faces when translating the complexities of science for a lay audience. She also encouraged the attendees to pursue their passion when determining whether a career at the bench or in science communications is right for them.
She advised, “Find a body part that interests you, network effectively, and build trusting relationships. You’ll find that working on something that you genuinely enjoy is the best way to find success and life fulfillment.”
Representing Varied Career Prospects
The panel discussion led to lively interchanges among the five professionals who shared their respective experiences as science communicators. The panelists were: Danielle Pasquel, Ph.D., associate scientific director at Golin; Deb Aronson, Ph.D., vice president and medical director at ghg; Lisa Brown, Ph.D., medical science liaison at Assurex Health; Elizabeth Vancza, Ph.D., senior toxicologist at Safebridge Consultants, Inc.; and Travis Bernardo, Ph.D., senior medical writer at BGB group.
“We chose panelists who work in various aspects of the science communications field to highlight the diverse career opportunities available in this sector,” said Sara, a Ph.D. candidate in the laboratory of Dr.Teresa Bowman.
The panelists described their work, why and how they chose to pursue their respective careers, the skills they developed to become successful candidates, and their future goals.
Most of the panelists had been members of networking groups or engaged in talent development activities during their time at the College of Medicine. “Two of the panelists—Drs. Pasquel and Bernardo—had been writing interns in the program administered by the department of communications and public affairs,” said Sara (who is herself a writing intern). “We invited them all to showcase how current students and postdoctoral fellows interested in careers in science communications can develop or strengthen their talents and skills while at Einstein, to ready themselves for such careers.”
The event concluded with a networking reception where attendees were able to chat with Ms. Talan and the panelists. Daniel Zamith, a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Joshua Nosanchuk, noted, “I was inspired by Ms. Talan’s talk and encouraged by the success stories of the panelists. It’s great to be at an institution that focuses not only on the academic part, but also provides practical ways to diversify one’s portfolio for a highly competitive economy.”
Posted on: Thursday, June 14, 2018