20/20 Foresight - The New Postdoc Programs at SACNAS

By Alberto I. Roca, Ph.D.

Editor’s note: The following article has been updated to reflect current email contacts and web resources. In particular, the Postdoc Committee recommends using the SACNAS LinkedIn group for online interactions. The original version of this article first appeared in the Summer 2005 issue of SACNAS News on page 20. This article is used with the permission of SACNAS; and, a PDF version can be downloaded here.

If only a course on “20/20 hindsight” was taught in school! There is so much that I would have done differently, if, as a graduate student, I had possessed the insight that I now have from my postdoctoral experience. For instance, I’ve learned that you must publish a quality first author peer-reviewed publication as quickly as possible during your doctoral work. Do not wait to submit your manuscripts while you are writing your thesis and planning your next career step. Thus, we expect that the SACNAS postdoc programs will help provide young scientists with “20/20 foresight” so that they may benefit from the combined wisdom of our community.

Postdoctoral research is a critical step in a scholar’s career. However this stage is often poorly defined creating vulnerability in career development. In 2004, SACNAS created some new career resources for current and future postdoctoral scientists.

The SACNAS Postdoc Committee

First Co-chairs: Drs. Alberto Roca and Lidia Yoshida (former academic coordinator at University of California, Irvine)

Committee Duties: Organize virtual and conference postdoctoral activities planned during our monthly conference calls.

Annual Conference Events:

To Join the Postdoc Committee: Contact the committee staff liaison at [email protected]

For More Information: Postdoc Programs

SACNAS Postdoc Membership Category

New Postdoc Membership Category (created in 2004): During the first year of “New Ph.D./Postdoc” membership, individuals are eligible to receive a membership fee waiver (i.e., no cost!). Subsequent years cost $45 annually. More information at SACNAS website.

Conference Registration for Postdocs: SACNAS members who will be postdocs at the time of the annual conference are encouraged to register under the new postdoc membership category.

SACNAS Conference Financial Support: A limited number of travel awards and financial aid will be available for SACNAS postdoc members.

For More Information: Contact Postdoc Committee staff liaison ([email protected]) to sign up for the postdoc email list which will inform you of travel awards and postdoctoral conference activities.

SACNAS Postdoc & Professional Online Community

The Postdoc Committee had the first online community sanctioned by SACNAS and originally implemented using the “CommunityZero” software tools. Currently, the Postdoc Committee encourages those interested to use the SACNAS LinkedIn group. The online community offers many tools beyond those of an email listserv including discussion message boards. The online community is used and managed through a web interface. The SACNAS LinkedIn group will allow us to post and discuss job announcements, fellowship opportunities, career advice, etc. All SACNAS members are encouraged to participate to allow both peer-mentoring as well as an opportunity for our elders to interact with us.

SACNAS LinkedIn Group URL: http://www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=81952

SACNAS LinkedIn Group

SACNAS also maintains a Facebook page that is popular among student members. Interestingly, at the 2009 Understanding Interventions conference, participants of a social networking workshop noted that as students advance in their careers, they migrate from Facebook to LinkedIn.

At the 2009 SACNAS annual conference, the LinkedIn and Facebook groups were described by staff persons Tanya Beat and Nancy Rocha. The slide presentation from the workshop can be downloaded here.

Online Behavior: Note that this is a professional community designed to facilitate information exchange and networking among members. Online behavior should reflect one’s professionalism so please keep the discussions respectful and on topic. To facilitate networking among members, we ask that everyone disclose their real name on your profile within the community.

By participating in these online communities, young scientists can benefit from the collective wisdom of SACNAS. Learn from our successes and avoid our past mistakes. I wish that there were these resources when I was preparing for my career.

Dr. Alberto I. Roca was a President’s Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California, Irvine and can be reached at [email protected].

last updated 4-Oct-2010