Make room for sessions
beyond the science

Published April 01 2018

A question for graduate students and postdocs: How are you preparing for the annual meeting?

I remember pouring over the abstract book with my lab mates before my first scientific conference. What scientific sessions did I want to attend? What techniques did I want to learn? How would they inform my research? I carefully planned my days around my science.

As my career progressed, I realized that scientific meetings offer more than just research talks. These meetings provide amazing opportunities for professional development, hosted by experts from around the country. Now, when I plan my schedule for a meeting, I pencil in some time for these exciting, interactive events that focus on career growth beyond the lab. Whether this is your first meeting or your tenth, I suggest you do the same. To help, I’ve broken the 2018 American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Annual Meeting into four main categories for you to explore.

Education

While your main focus is on your research, chances are you spend some time in the front of a classroom. Paul Craig of the Rochester Institute of Technology, winner of this year’s ASBMB Award for Exemplary Contributions to Education Lecture (see his profile on page 41), will discuss his work, “Promoting hypothesis-driven thinking in the undergraduate biochemistry lab.” This lecture will show you how to help your students engage with traditional biochemistry lab experiences. You also can learn more about active learning in biochemistry and molecular biology during the Education Spotlight Session.

Education sessions

CREST (Connecting Researchers, Educators and Students) Conversations
12:15–1:15 p.m. Sunday, April 22, in the ASBMB lounge (near ASBMB booth, #1316, in exhibit hall)

ASBMB education award lecture
Sunday, April 22, 2:30–3:45 p.m. in Room 6C
“Promoting hypothesis-driven thinking in the undergraduate biochemistry lab” — Paul Craig, Rochester Institute of Technology

Workshop | Molecular Visualization
5:30–7 p.m. Monday, April 23 in Room 6A

Spotlight Talks: Active Learning
4–5:15 p.m. Monday, April 23, in Room 31C

Education poster session
12:15–2:15 p.m. Monday, April 23, in the exhibit hall

Communication

Regardless of your career stage or goals, communication skills are critical. The more compelling your message, the more likely you are to impact your students, publish a paper or even get a job. Several panels and workshops will provide tips and tricks for communicating with expert and nonexpert audiences. One session I’m excited about is a workshop on “Storytelling and the Art of Giving a Good Presentation” led by Public Outreach Committee members Thomas Baldwin and Teresa Evans. In this interactive session, you’ll learn how to create a compelling narrative with your research. These skills are used by journalists and professional communicators every day — so why not put them to work for you?

Communication sessions

Workshop | Storytelling and the Art of Giving a Good Presentation
5:30–7 p.m. Sunday, April 22, in Room 6B

Workshop | Your Data, Magnified: Success in Scientific Publishing
5:30–7 p.m. Sunday, April 22, in Room 30E
Sponsored by Journal of Biological Chemistry

Session and panel discussion | Communicating Scientific Ideas to Novice Audiences
10 a.m.– noon Monday, April 23, in Room 31C

Meet the Speakers
2:30–3:30 p.m. Monday, April 23, in the ASBMB lounge (near ASBMB booth, #1316, in exhibit hall)
Learn more about the ASBMB’s “Art of Science Communication” course from members of the society’s Public Outreach Committee

Outreach

The importance of science outreach continues to grow as we work to combat misinformation and present science as a human endeavor. Outreach can be as simple as sharing your research with a friend or neighbor, or as complex as hosting a multiday science fair. To learn more about how outreach can be inspired by your work in the lab, be sure to attend the “Transforming Science Research into Science Outreach” workshop organized by the ASBMB Public Outreach Committee. Let outreach professionals help you expand, improve or even start your own public engagement activity.

Outreach sessions

Science Outreach Poster Session
7–8:30 p.m. Saturday, April 21, in Sails Pavilion

Workshop | Storytelling and the Art of Giving a Good Presentation
5:30–7 p.m. Sunday, April 22, in Room 6B

Workshop | Transforming Science Research into Science Outreach
5:30–7 p.m. Monday, April 23, in Room 6B

Career development and networking

Have you looked at your CV lately? Does it truly reflect your background and training? Learn more about using your unique experiences to market yourself by attending “Strategically Building your CV at Every Career Stage” organized by the ASBMB Education and Professional Development Committee. You’ll get advice from a diverse panel of experts on how to present yourself in the best possible light to employers to achieve your career goals.

On the facing page, you’ll find handy schedules that you can cut out and carry with you so you don’t miss any of these great sessions.

And remember — while several networking events are scheduled at the annual meeting, every interaction has the possibility to be a networking experience. Don’t be afraid to seize the moment. Bring business cards to share with people you meet. These cards can contain links to your LinkedIn page, your science communication portfolio, any resources you want a potential mentor or collaborator to access. (Pro tip: Be sure to use a professional-sounding email address.)

Career Development/Networking sessions

Spotlight Talks: Advancing Successful Careers
4:15–5:15 p.m. Sunday, April 22, in Room 31C

Workshop | Constructing your Elevator Pitch
Noon–1 p.m. Monday, April 23, in Exhibit Hall D, Career Resources Center Room 2

Session and panel discussion | Strategically Building Your CV at Every Career Stage
10 a.m.–noon Sunday, April 22, in Room 6A

Workshop | Strategically Building Your CV at Every Career Stage
5:30–7 p.m. Sunday, April 22, in Room 6A

Education poster session
12:15–2:15 p.m. Sunday, April 22, in the exhibit hall

Danielle Snowflack Danielle Snowflack is the manager of public outreach at the ASBMB.