Northeast Superfund Research Program (SRP) Training Workshop

The Northeast Superfund Research Program (SRP) Training Workshop was held on Thursday, April 2nd and Friday, April 3rd, 2015, at Boston University Medical Campus in Boston, MA. The workshop was jointly organized by the Boston University Superfund Research Center, the Superfund Research Center at Dartmouth University, and the PROTECT Center at Northeastern University.

The first day of the workshop, attended by 29 trainees, began with presentations by trainees at each of the five participating SRP centers: Boston University, Brown University, Dartmouth College, Harvard University, and Northeastern University. Each group of trainees introduced their center’s overall research mission, as well as the individual projects and accomplishments of their trainees.  Following these introductions, the workshop featured several presenters, each engaging with the trainees from a different perspective, but all focused on encouraging individual reflection and growth:

  • The Keynote speaker, and former Dartmouth SRP trainee, Courtney Kozul-Horvath, Ph.D., DABT (Safety Assessment Expert, Novartis Institute for Biomedical Research) spoke about how she has utilized the opportunities and networks around her to advance her diverse and successful career, while also balancing time with family and personal priorities.
  • Angela Jackson, M.D. (Associate Dean for Student Affairs & Associate Professor of Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine) presented “Career Planning – How to Plan and Implement your Career Aspirations,” which engaged trainees in hands-on career planning exercises, including some thoughtful reflection of their skills, knowledge, interests, and values.
  • Steve McGonagle (Professor of Engineering Leadership and Industry Relations Director, Gordon Engineering Leadership Program at Northeastern University) presented, “The DISC Personality Type – Impacts on Interactions,” which applied the results of a brief DISC personality test (completed by trainees beforehand) to a workshop on how different personality types can translate into leadership skills and group dynamics.
  • Thomas Sheahan, (Professor and Senior Associate Dean, College of Engineering at Northeastern University) and Dr. Katherine S. Ziemer (DiPietro Associate Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering, Northeastern University) presented, “Individual Development Plans (IDP) & Your C.V. – Professional Development & Presentation,” which included a review of the PROTECT IDP program for trainees, followed by a collaborative review and critique of best practices.

On the second day of the workshop, Friday, April 3rd, 18 trainees participated in a workshop led by the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science.  The workshop is focused on improving the communication skills of scientists to convey their work and enhance public understanding of scientific research.  Using creative exercises, such as improvisational acting of hypothetical communications situations, workshop leaders provided tools to trainees on how to communicate their research to various audiences.

 

Trainee Feedback via Post-Workshop Survey:

“I really liked the whole idea of having the workshop and a chance to meet and talk to trainees from other SRP programs in the area…I really liked the sessions on Friday and think they are very useful to develop better skills to present our very important work we do within SRP.”

“It was good to meet and interact with other SRP trainees and some of the PIs.”

“The ‘distilling the message’ aspect of the Alan Alda workshop was excellent. That was something that everyone (regardless of education level or career aspirations) could learn and benefit from.”

 

April 15, 2015