Athena Swan

Athena Swan promotes and supports the careers of women in Science, Engineering and Technology (STEM), and aims to address gender inequalities and imbalance in these disciplines and, in particular, the under-representation of women in senior roles.

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

New guidebook aims to help (all) postdocs

Although pitched as being for female postdocs, this guide offers advice to all early career scientists trying to navigate new freedoms as an independent scientist. In particular, it offers practical steps to promote yourself both in and outside academia, something not all academic advisers are willing or able to offer. Although it has a US-slant, this guide can offer new ideas or opportunities to postdocs on both sides of the Atlantic, if they are willing to pursue them.

It’s no secret that women pursuing careers in science face various challenges, and those related to having children can be particularly pronounced for female postdocs. To help address some of these issues, the National Postdoctoral Association (NPA) has released the Advancing Postdoc Women Guidebook. And while the guidebook is primarily intended for women, much of the information—including chapters about career planning and building good mentoring relationships—is relevant for all readers, regardless of gender.
One of the guidebook’s primary aims is to make readers aware of the many resources that are available to them, particularly from professional societies and associations, such as mentorship programs, career development workshops, and funding opportunities. “There are a lot of really great resources available that I don’t believe people know about, so this guidebook is intended to shine a light on them,” says NPA Executive Director Belinda Huang, who edited the guidebook and wrote a chapter. Different societies and associations offer different programs and resources, so seeing them all in one place can also alert postdocs to opportunities they might not have realized were lacking in their disciplines and empower them to advocate for themselves. “If you don’t find the program or resource offered, ask your society for it,” Huang advises.

Article here and PDF guide here.

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