Students working in the FSC observatory.
Sep 25, 2017
This summer, undergraduate students doing scientific research at FSC also attended seminars that helped them consider their own career development.
Every Wednesday, Dr. Susan Banks, Assistant Professor of Biology, held a lunchtime seminar series designed to expose students to important aspects of careers in scientific research. The seminar series focused on different topics, from options for employment to what to expect in graduate school to tips on effective presentation skills.
“The skills acquired from undergraduate research experiences can increase the potential career options for students,” Dr. Banks noted, “However, it can often be difficult to navigate through the many available opportunities.”
Dr. Banks invited guest speakers each week to share their perspectives and experiences with the students. Timothy Moore, Visiting Instructor of Biology, also helped to organize one of the sessions in the series. Speakers included faculty and staff at FSC, as well as scientists working in the private and public sector. One of the invited speakers was alumnus Valentina Ochoa Mendoza ’15, who now works at the University of Florida’s Citrus Research and Education Center in Lake Alfred.
“The guest speakers shared their own unique career paths and information about the many resources available to students at various points throughout their training,” explained Dr. Banks.
The seminar series was well attended, with typically around a dozen students at each meeting. The main focus was on career paths for student researchers in the natural sciences and computer science. The topics discussed were applicable to a variety of disciplines, and transferable skills were highlighted.
"The series helped me have a better understanding of what I needed to do now to help me prepare for a future in the sciences after my undergraduate studies,” said Malique Bowen ‘20, marine biology major.
Students were often surprised by the number of resources available to help them advance their careers. They gained valuable insight into what a career in research might hold for them, and the myriad of paths they can take to achieve their goals.
“Although the series was slightly more catered towards graduate programs outside of the medical field, much of the information overlapped with my future goals and was extremely beneficial for presentations and applications that will come in the near future,” said pre-med student Sabrina Hendrick ’19, “I genuinely believe it was a helpful program for any student involved in the STEM field.”
Students appreciated the opportunity to consider aspects of career development along with learning the methodology of their discipline and conducting novel research.
“Two recurring themes were to keep an open mind about your future and be prepared to take advantage of opportunities that come your way,” said Dr. Banks, “With this advice and their newly acquired research skills, I can’t wait to see what these students will do next.”
Dr. Banks plans to continue the series next summer, with a new group of budding young researchers.
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