"Even today," says Peter Fiske, "most graduate students in science tend to shy away from anything that smells like 'activism.' They are "fear being labeled a troublemaker for speaking up about issues that concern them. Other students are genuinely ambivalent about the issues, believing that science is a meritocracy..."

Why Get Involved?

In this special feature on young scientists and activism, we invite you to examine some of the reasons that other early-career researchers have chosen to become "activists." Training? Career development? Start by reading Peter's introductory essay, The Activated State: An Argument for Involved Scientists.

Young Scientists as Activists: Role Models

Then learn what four different " role models" -- all young scientists -- have to say about their experiences.

The Grad School Survey

Finally, learn about a simple way you can help yourself and your fellow scientists: the Grad School Survey, recently released by PHDS.org.

Young Scientists as Activists: Role Models

Tara Riemer, a Ph.D. student in biomedical engineering, is an excellent example of how activity in student issues can help you develop professional skills, experience, and new employment opportunities.

Sharyl Nass, a Ph.D. cell biologist from Georgetown University, became an activist when she started her postdoc at Johns Hopkins University, an institution with a large postdoc association already well established.

Linda McPheron, a Ph.D. entomologist from the University of California, Berkeley, turned her activism into a job--as coordinator of postdoc affairs.

Rama Kasturi, a Ph.D. in biophysics from The Ohio State University, Columbus, found her efforts to improve the plight of postdocs were not greeted with uniform praise at the University of Cincinnati.