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What can you expect from the 2018 Yale Ciencia Academy?

Mónica Ivelisse Feliú-Mójer's picture
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Applications for the Yale Ciencia Academy for Career Development are open! As you are working on your application, we wanted to give you an inside look into the topics that we will be discussing during the 2018 Yale Ciencia Academy. Not working on your application yet? Go here to read more about the program and apply. You can also watch this recording of Facebook Live Q&A we recently hosted with Yale Ciencia fellows and alumni.



The Importance of Being Proactive:The Yale Ciencia Academy is not just about career development but about empowering doctoral students to take charge of their careers and professional growth. We will kick off the program with a peer mentoring chat—a moderated conversation between program fellows—discussing why taking charge of your training and career matters and what being proactive looks like. Throughout the year we will discuss how to be proactive expanding your network, achieving important academic milestones, identifying and combating negative emotions, integrating your work and life priorities, and dealing with mentoring challenges. We will also expose you to successful scientists working in a variety of fields to arm you with information, role models, and opportunities to explore career interests. In addition to peer mentoring chats, the program also features workshops on career planning and mentoring, to help doctoral students build skills and give them tools so that they can be proactive in these key areas of their training.

Effective Communication: Science is all about ideas. And what good are ideas if you can’t convey them in a way that is compelling and understandable? Science is also all about relationships. Becoming a scientist is an apprenticeship, and we must establish good relationships with advisors, mentors, collaborators, and colleagues to be successful. Thus, learning how to communicate effectively is key to doing science and becoming an independent scientist. Effective communication will be a recurring topic during the 2018 Yale Ciencia Academy, from our Effective Communication Workshop, which will take place during the program’s in-person meeting (more on that below), to our multiple conversations and chats.

Science Outreach: Yale Ciencia fellows are required to complete a science outreach project as part of their participation in the program. This component of the program allows the fellows to have social impact, while putting into practice the communication and leadership skills they learn during the program. Yale Ciencia fellows receive written guidelines and advice from program staff for the development and completion of outreach activities. You can see what kinds of projects fellows have done in the past here. In addition, this year we are adding a science outreach workshop, which will also be held during the program’s in-person meeting.

Building Support and Community: The Yale Ciencia Academy is all about community. Fellows are not just part of a cohort of 40 students; they become members of a supportive community of young leaders to learn with and from. In addition, the program relies on a large community of professionals that are committed to helping young scientists succeed through mentoring and advising. An in-person meeting at the beginning of the program, held in conjunction with the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s annual conference, allows fellows to establish camaraderie and community. There, in addition to attending conference sessions, Yale Ciencia fellows participate in the effective communication and science outreach workshops, and in community-building exercises.

The 2018 Yale Ciencia Academy will also feature a peer mentoring chat discussing the importance of building support and community, in your scientific field, your institution and beyond. During this chat, we will discuss the role and responsibility each of us has as members of a larger community as role models, as scientists, as leaders, and as individuals who also need support.

Making Progress Towards Independence: The main goal of graduate school is to become an independent scientist. The 2018 Yale Ciencia Academy will feature a peer mentoring chat in which we’ll discuss academic and research milestones students should pursue during graduate school. We will discuss the importance of these milestones as steps towards developing skills and building scientific independence and not as just boxes that a student needs to check to obtain a PhD. We will also have conversations with scientists—moderated online panels with successful professionals in a variety of careers—about getting funded and getting published.

Careers: The Yale Ciencia Academy includes multiple conversations with scientists to expose fellows to diverse professional paths they can pursue. The 2018 program will feature conversations about pursuing a postdoc, careers in academia, careers in industry, as well as non-research careers.

Scientific Teaching:Teaching is an important responsibility of an academic career, and graduate students are often required to teach as part of their training. The Yale Ciencia Academy includes a workshop on scientific teaching, a strategy that emphasizes active and inquiry-based learning and that supports diversity and inclusion in the classroom.

Finding Balance and Persisting: Undoubtedly, graduate school is hard. Finding ways to balance and integrate academic work, research and personal life can be challenging. The Yale Ciencia Academy features a session of conversations with scientists where we discuss the importance of finding work/life balance and strategies to help doctoral students achieve their own. The program also includes a discussion about skills and strategies for persistence—steps students can take to persevere and persist in a career in science

Isolation and Imposter Syndrome: Feeling like we are not good enough or are undeserving of being where we are is a common occurrence in grad school. At other times, it’s easy to feel like we are the only ones struggling with or going through a particular situation. This can be further complicated for students from underrepresented backgrounds because they are one of the few or the only one from their race, ethnicity, gender or ability. The 2018 Yale Ciencia Academy includes a Peer Mentoring Chat to talk about these issues and give graduate students tools and skills to deal with feelings of isolation and the imposter syndrome.

We have an amazing roster of instructors, panelists and role models lined up to lead all of these discussions. So, what are you waiting for? Apply now!