What is the Biomedical Postdoctoral Council (BPC), and what has it done for me lately? Unfortunately, too many biomedical postdocs are asking these questions. As scientists our approach does not just require posing a question. Instead, we have to ask the most appropriate question(s). So, I propose this question: How can postdocs proactively maximize their overall training experience at the University of Pennsylvania?
Okay, let’s start with the two opening questions. The BPC serves as a platform to advocate for policy issues related to the postdoctoral training. In fact, each biomedical postdoc is a member of the BPC; however, only a few us chair or serve on committees. Now, before your blood pressure rises in anticipation of a lecture, let me be clear: I am not wagging my finger at postdocs. We are very busy people who are intensely focused on our careers. Our time is very valuable. However, the collective diversity of all of our respective training experiences can serve your individual postdoctoral training experience very well, and the BPC is listening…
If you ask minority high school students interested in biology what they want to do as a future career, they typically tell you that they want to be a physician or dentist. Unfortunately, what they don’t tell you is that they want to be a professor or researcher. This lack of interest is often due to a lack of exposure or negative stories about being a professor in the sciences. Becoming a professor in the life sciences often takes at least 10 years after the bachelor’s degree due to the need for post-doctoral experiences. In addition, students are often lured to practitioner-focused careers by higher starting salaries and the prestige associated with being a physician or dentist.
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