Reflections Newsletter

Issue 24, May 2023

This newsletter is typically distributed the last Thursday of the month and contains a variety of resources, links, and reflections on graduate-level career & professional development, higher education, and an occasional detour into neuroscience topics, the area I formally trained in as a graduate student and postdoc.

I will be taking a break for the summer. So, look for the next issue on August 31, 2023. 

Missed the inaugural newsletter from January 2021?

Read it here


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Reflections Blog from May 2023 


A Deep Dive Into Ph.D. Employment Data from NSF

2021 NSF Survey of Earned Doctorates & Doctoral Recipients Data

Data from both the NSF's Survey of Earned Doctorates (SED; recent Ph.D.s) and Survey of Doctoral Recipients (SDR; all US Ph.D.s) from 2021 is now available. I dive into these data and examine trends in employment prospects, salary data, postdoctoral demographics, and more in this piece. 

Worthy Reads

What's a College Degree Worth?

The imperfect science and contested methods of measuring the return on investment (ROI) of college. 

While using program earnings data available through the US Department of Education's College Scorecard seems like a reasonable means of returning a purely economic ROI of college, this piece in The Chronicle of Higher Education makes the point that the Scorecard only has 2 years of earnings data for bachelor's degree graduates. So, delayed earnings from majors or programs that don't provide an immediately high salary will appear to have a lower ROI (think a biology major who goes on to medical school and won't be earning a physician salary for many years). Furthermore, transferrable skills in communication, teamwork, and creativity that might be cultivated more readily at a liberal arts institution may not immediately pay off for recent graduates but gain value over time as workers move into more senior positions.

And, obviously, there is more value to a college major or profession that the earnings they provide.    

See also:

The ROI Riddle

The Postsecondary Value Commission

How College Contributes to Workforce Success: Employer Views of What Matters Most 

Third Way's Ratings of Colleges by Economic Mobility 

U.S. Must Invest in Emerging Scientists

Important commentary on the need to better support the livelihoods and careers of early career researchers (graduate students and postdocs) to help them more easily pursue academic research careers, which impacts our ability to discover new knowledge, innovate, and ultimately improve human health and flourishing. 

Programs Worth Promoting


Postdoc Academy: Building Skills for a Successful Career

Online Course Begins June 5

In this 8-week, self-paced asynchronous course you will learn how to: 
•    Describe the key attributes of leadership frameworks and apply to a current or future role.
•    Reflect on and practice supervision strategies you could use to build and manage an effective team.
•    Apply concepts of project management to your own project or position.
•    Describe effective teaching skills that are applicable in multiple workplace environments and apply them to several professional scenarios.
•    Apply your assets and strengths to create engaging and strategic responses to common interview questions.
•    Reflect on how to communicate your strengths to potential employers in the job application process.

Plus, you can sign-up to discuss the content in the course with those in your discipline or local institution through a PALS learning community. Learn more here​. 


NSF Virtual Grants Conference
June 5 - 8

Join the National Science Foundation for the Spring 2023 NSF Virtual Grants Conference, to be held during the week of June 5, 2023. Just like the in-person grants conferences, the NSF Virtual Grants Conference is a must, especially for new faculty, researchers and administrators. 

Highlights include:
•    New programs and initiatives
•    Proposal preparation 
•    NSF's merit review process 
•    NSF directorate sessions


Research!America Online Early Career Summit Series

Wednesdays in June

The objective of the Early Career Researcher Summit is to bring together a diverse group of early career researchers from across the medical, health, and science arenas to:
•    Gain insights into the range of careers available to them 
•    Empower them to secure and thrive in the career path they choose 
•    Provide communication tools they can use for advocacy and other forms of civic engagement 
•    Network with others across the R&D ecosystem

Session 1: Career Tour. Two Panel Discussions with Early Career Professionals
•    Wednesday, June 7th, 2023, 12:30 – 3:00 PM ET    
Session 2: Mastering the Elevator Pitch
•    Tuesday, June 13th, 2023, 12:30 – 1:45 PM ET
Session 3: Communicating Science to Inspire and Foster Public Engagement
•    Wednesday, June 14th, 2023, 12:30 – 1:45 PM ET
Session 4: Building a Strong Resume: A Hiring Manager’s Perspective
•    Wednesday, June 21st, 2023, 12:30 – 2:00 PM ET
Session 5: Science and Startups: Taking your Research to the Next Level
•    Wednesday, June 28th, 2023, 12:30 – 1:45 PM ET


National Postdoctoral Association Resources

The NPA's SmartSkills program returns in 2023 featuring webinars on a variety of topics related to postdocs' career and professional development and well-being.

And check out the NPA's Resource Library​ for more guides and resources including a guide to the postdoc timeline, mentoring, and more.


Onboarding International Postdocs Guide

The ultimate goal of the guide is to help international postdocs in their transition to a new life in the United States. By offering a detailed approach to topics relevant to onboarding international postdocs, this guide can also help administrators and faculty better understand international postdocs' needs and provide more focused recommendations to support the international postdocs at your institution.

Revisiting Past Blog Posts 

This piece, published in August 2021 touches on the 2019 NSF Survey of Doctorate Recipients data, which surveys a vast swath of individuals who earned their Ph.D.s from US institutions. 

Read More

I cover Survey of Earned Doctorate data from 2019 in this blog post from March 2021. These data specifically focus on recent Ph.D. recipients and their career plans, post-Ph.D.

Read More

This piece from May 2020 is the first of a two-part series where I reflect on what the data say about international scholars in the US and their employment prospects. 

Read More

More to Explore - Resources for Trainees & Those Supporting Them

Explore Job Search & Funding Resources On My Website

For Further Reading & Exploration

More About Me
Carpe Careers Column
National Science Foundation Data
Career & Professional Development Research

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