At the University of Toronto (U of T), some of the graduate students are taking their careers into their own hands. The Biochemistry Graduate Students' Union of that school has taken upon itself to organize a career seminar series for graduate students and postdocs in biomedical sciences, for all of U of T and the nearby hospitals.
Though last year was the first year of the series, this year's organizers are planning a more organized, regular schedule, and has invited the whole campus, instead of just the faculty of biochemistry. Sessions will take place the first Thursday of every month and will include a free pizza-and-pop dinner, sponsored by the speakers. An exciting list of speakers have already been booked, including Connaught Laboratories, Hoffman-La Roche, NovoPharm, the Boston Consulting Group, Kelly Scientific services, and Cortex Human Resources Inc.
More than just a promotional event for the speakers, the sessions will try to give the students who attend insight into the represented fields, as well as offer helpful job-finding tips. For example, November 4th's session, though currently tentative, should include a workshop on resume writing for scientists, hosted by Kelly Scientific Services, and a discussion on strategies for successfully gaining employment led by the U of T career center.
Cortex HR, also a general sponsor of the series, believes that the series is the start of an encouraging trend in the scientific community: "It seems that people are starting to realize the importance of doing their due diligence and managing their career options," says Michael Kalchman, managing director at Cortex HR. Zayna Khayat, organizer of the series and past president of the Biochemistry Graduate Students' Union at U of T, agrees: I think students are starting to get more aware, for two reasons: First, there was a similar event held last year, which a lot of people found helpful; and second, I think students are finding more and more that the academy isn't what it used to be. There are simply less and less jobs there, and people are starting to look elsewhere."
The first session of the series will be on October 7th, where speakers will include a discussion about career opportunities at Hoffman-La Roche (hosted by Hoffman-La Roche) and an information session about the Ottawa Biofair, hosted by Dan Mamelak of Cortex HR. Sessions will take place in room 4279 of the Medical Sciences Building at U of T, starting at 5:00 p.m.