I’ve mentioned it plenty of times in previous blog posts, but I thought it was time to write a full post specifically about networking. Some students love it, some students hate it, but all students need it. Plenty of benefits come when people network, including contacts with professional people in your area and potentially around the country (depending on where your contacts move), support during grad school and beyond, links to potential employers, and head starts on job hunting at career fairs.
Following the theme of networking, I recently hosted my friend Pam from the University of Alberta. I met Pam at the Northwest Regional Meeting of the Society of Developmental Biologists in 2007. Pam was an undergraduate who works on the development of freshwater sponges, and I was a graduate student at the University of Oregon working on marine worms, and we found our shared appreciation for enigmatic invertebrates and how studying their development helps us to understand the evolution of the animal body plan.
Like most of my fellow life science PhDs, I have thought the most about tenure track research positions. Facing the reality that only about 14% of us will end up in those positions, I’ve tried to keep an open mind about the diversity of career outcomes that will enable me to apply my PhD towards.