Postdoctoral fellow at the Baylor College of Medicine
Tips to take to heart: “Don’t let science shape you; you shape science. Make sure you ask every ‘dumb’ question you have, and you will continue to reach your goals. Lastly, be sincere, honest, direct and humble in your efforts. People will appreciate these qualities and your work.” Read the full interview here.
Postdoctoral research associate, Purdue University
Navigating a foreign landscape: “If you are from a country that is not highly represented in (the) U.S.A. … or have difficulty speaking English, things can get lonely. Try to be patient. Pay attention to the reactions and signals from the people you interact with. Remember it is not for a day; it can be years before you ever get a chance to travel back or meet someone from you country. You, therefore, need to socialize or make the people around you see your social side.” Read the full interview here.
Assistant professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
Rolling with the punches: “There are failures along the way, and a key example that many people mention is being turned down for a funding opportunity. I try to give myself time to absorb the initial disappointment before making any further decisions so that I am in a mindset to be able to think realistically and logically about my next steps. Whatever the situation has been, my mentors have played an important role in helping me identify areas where I can improve and work towards achieving a more favorable outcome. Read the full interview here.
Assistant professor at the University of California, San Diego
Lasting impact: “As a graduate student and postdoc, I was also able to develop my interest in teaching and outreach. I helped design and implement programs that promoted excellence in science by increasing the participation of members of underrepresented groups in science and research — such as a Saturday Science Academy for high-school students at Caltech. It was incredibly rewarding when, years later, one of these high-school students worked as a teaching assistant in my upper-division molecular biology class at UCSD! Read the full interview here.
Erika T. Brown
Assistant professor at the Medical University of South Carolina
On finding a mentor: “As a junior faculty member, it is crucial to still have mentoring. Mentoring does not stop once the postdoctoral fellowship has been completed. In the early years of my independent position, I did not have a committed scientific mentor at my institution, because there was a lack of investigators who had a similar or overlapping research interest. I learned from this experience that, if your needs are not being met at your institution, it is imperative to seek assistance from outside senior faculty with expertise in your field of research. Read the full interview here.