Between May 4-8, 2020, the UBC Centre for Heart Lung Innovation (HLI) was proud to host the first-ever Faculty of Medicine Career Week virtually via Zoom Webinar.
Despite ongoing physical distancing measures due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the HLI Trainee Association, supported by Education Director Dr. Scott Tebbutt and Research & Industry Partnerships Manager Dr. Tony Yang, organized an exciting program of week-long events with the Faculty of Medicine Postdoctoral Professional Development Team.
These virtual sessions started daily at 2 PM and the program included career panels featuring 17 experts in Industry Research and Development, Academic Research and Teaching, and Non-Traditional Careers, as well as two new workshops: the first focused on building an on-line network and LinkedIn profile, and the second on how to effectively use Twitter for scientific communication. These sessions were carefully planned and organized to provide research trainees career insights and new skills critically needed during these unprecedented and challenging times.
Over 422 participants registered to participate in the online events (almost 4 times the usual registration), with participants coming from the HLI, Providence Health Care Research Institute (PHCRI), BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute (BCCHRI), Centre for Blood Research (CBR), Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute (VCHRI), BC Cancer Research Centre (BCCRC), UBC School of Biomedical Engineering (SBME), Experimental Medicine, and numerous other UBC units. There were even several participants from outside of UBC!
Each session was moderated by key members of the HLI Trainee Association, who expertly navigated the Zoom Webinar environment: introducing speakers, encouraging attendee participation, leading Q&A sessions, and soliciting feedback from all participants. Congratulations to Carleena Ortega, Daniel He, Diana Vikulova, Nancy Yang, and Simran Samra!
During the career panels, participants gained insight into “what it takes to land a job” and “how to build a unique career path” (whether in industry, academia, or elsewhere). The panelists provided honest advice and an “insider view” of their jobs – discussing their work-life-balance, daily tasks and duties in their given role, and what they wish they had known when they were a research trainee. Participants were given ample time to ask questions, either directly to the panelist of their choice, or to the entire panel.
A major theme throughout the week was the importance of building a diverse professional network on-line. In the LinkedIn workshop, the trainees learned the importance of having an updated and relevant LinkedIn profile, and how to use this platform to network and connect with other professionals from different backgrounds. In the second workshop, attendees were provided with some tips and tricks for disseminating their research findings via Twitter. They also learned about new ways that Twitter is being used, such as for technical troubleshooting and virtual Twitter conferences.
The Virtual Career Week 2020 was supported by the UBC Faculty of Medicine Strategic Investment Fund, secured by the HLI in collaboration with SBME and Experimental Medicine. The event program was organized by UBC FoM Postdoctoral Professional Development Team: FoM Graduate and Postdoctoral Education, HLI Trainee Association, PHCRI, BCCHRI, CBR, VCHRI, and BC Cancer GrasPods. For a list of Panelist and Workshop Presenters, please visit https://grad-postdoc.med.ubc.ca/postdocs/career-day/ for more information.