Enhancing Biomedical Training and Diversity Through Skills Development, Community, and Outreach
The Yale Ciencia Academy (YCA) is a FREE year-long program that equips biomedical or health sciences doctoral students from underrepresented backgrounds in the final 1-2 years of their programs with the knowledge, skills, and networks they need to find great postdoctoral positions that will further their academic interests and career goals.
Over the course of one year, fellows will become part of a supportive peer community; develop important career planning, mentoring, and scientific and interpersonal communication skills and products; and connect with role models from diverse backgrounds.
The application for YCA 2021 closed on March 31, 2021.
Applications for YCA 2022 will open in January 2022.
Please note: Starting in 2021, we have modified some of the YCA eligibility requirements and program offerings to focus on late-stage graduate students interested in securing a postdoc and advancing towards an academic career. You can read more about this change here.
The YCA program is guided by three main pillars: (1) planning, (2) mentoring, and (3) communication. Collectively, the activities under each pillar have been designed to prepare you to successfully transition to a postdoc that matches your career goals, interests, and values and to develop skills that will continue to serve you at every stage of your scientific career:
1. Planning: Searching and securing a postdoc, while finishing experiments and writing a thesis, can be daunting and requires planning and reflection. Our experts will demystify the process, facilitate deliberation on what your ideal postdoc would look like, and help you develop an actionable agenda for the transition. You will participate in:
- Postdoctoral Transition Training – Through a series of video modules and conversations with scientists from diverse backgrounds, we will explore important considerations regarding the postdoc search, interview, and selection process.
- PhD to Postdoc Individual Development Plan (IDP) – You will receive training and individualized feedback on how to use the IDP to identify specific actions you can take over the course of the year to identify and select your ideal postdoc.
- Mock Interviews – Fellows will be given the opportunity to perform mock postdoc interviews with current faculty members and receive constructive feedback from YCA staff, outside experts, and YCA peers.
2. Mentoring: Mentoring relationships and needs shift and evolve as a scientist develops. We will help you manage your existing mentoring relationships and establish new ones to assure a successful PhD to postdoc transition. In addition, we will connect you with a supportive community of peers from similar backgrounds who will be a source of encouragement and advice. Key activities include:
- Mentoring-Up Workshop & Conversations – You will participate in an expert-led, interactive workshop to help you have more productive and proactive mentoring interactions with your current advisors and future mentors. Over the course of the year, current postdocs and scientific role models will also share insights and advice.
- A Supportive Peer Community – As a YCA Fellow, you will become part of a close-knit community of underrepresented minority (URM) trainees. Our activities and resources are designed to help you find peers and role models you can identify with and learn from.
- Advisor Training – Starting in 2021, the advisors of YCA Fellows will be invited to participate in an exciting program to refine their ability to support trainees from underrepresented backgrounds, gain access to resources that will benefit them and their institutions, and get recognition for their commitment to diversity and inclusion. The program is optional, with a total time commitment of less than 8 hours over the year-long program.
3. Communication: The ability to communicate your research and who you are as a scientist to both experts and non-experts is an integral part of your success in science. YCA Fellows will develop a personal narrative, receive training oral and written communication skills, and be supported to connect with communities they care about through outreach.
- Crafting a Personal Narrative – You will work with nationally-recognized communication experts to explore your scientific and personal identities and craft a personal narrative that communicates who you are as a scientist to a variety of audiences.
- Enhancing Written and Oral Communication of Research – In collaboration with iBiology, YCA Fellows will participate in a course on how to create and deliver a compelling abstract and 20-minute scientific talk. You will refine and practice your skills over the course of the program.
- Science Outreach Activity – As part of the YCA experience, you will be guided and supported to engage in scientific outreach activities that can impact a community of importance and allow you to put your new communication skills to work.
The Yale Ciencia Academy is funded by grant R25GM114000 from the National Institutes of Health (NIH)