DR. VALANTINE'S FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Hannah A. Valantine, MD Chief Officer for Scientific Workforce Diversity
This month’s collection of good reads has a distinct focus: success. But, as we all recognize, success is in the eye of the beholder, and it can be defined many different ways. Below, read about how institutions can set the stage for success, how individuals can find their own version of success, and how debt relief
can make achieving success possible.
The Meyerhoff Scholars Program at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County is a shining star in its efforts to prepare undergraduates in STEM for success in biomedical careers. A new article in Science shares successful strategies that other institutions might emulate, including inter-institutional partnership approaches that are proving to be successful at majority universities with different compositions, geographies, and institutional sizes and cultures such as Penn State and The University of North Carolina. Other entities, such as the Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative, are also expanding the Meyerhoff strategy at California state schools.
According to a new report from the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS), the vast majority of STEM PhDs work in fields related to their doctoral education and are satisfied with their jobs. An illuminating new report from the CGS PhD Career Pathways project (a coalition of 70 doctoral institutions working to better understand and support PhD careers across all broad fields of study) goes into much more detail. Of particular interest: Persistence was cited as one of the most important attributes across fields, especially academia – whereas cooperation was deemed important for those pursuing non-academic careers.
Previous issues of this newsletter, and my blogs, have highlighted the NIH’s Distinguished Scholars Program (DSP). This unique endeavor joins scientists from across NIH Institutes and Centers (and thus working in different scientific areas). The cohort participates in multilevel mentoring and professional development activities. An important criterion for DSP scholars is an interest – and proven track record – for mentoring excellence and promoting inclusion. Chemical & Engineering News recently published a feature piece on the DSP. Worth a read!
Did you know that NIH can repay up to $35,000 in educational loans per year for early-career investigators? This debt relief helps alleviate an oft-cited barrier to entering the biomedical research workforce. And, new data shows, the program also helps such investigators stay in research and succeed. A new analysis from the NIH Office of Extramural Research Division of Loan Repayment (LRP) reveals that LRP awardees were more “persistent” (submitting grant and receiving grant applications and getting funded, as welling as publishing papers) compared to unfunded controls. Moreover, this approximate two-fold increase in productivity itself persisted 14 years after their LRP application!