Communicating your science: How to do it effectively and clearly beyond academia

March 26, 2015 @ Mount Sinai School of Medicine

The first in a series of workshops aimed to help our members bolster their science and communication skills. This interactive workshop led by Luis Quevedo, the current editor and host of CST (Ciencia, Salud, y Tecnologia) on channel NTN24, provided insights and experiences about the field of science communication. Luis Quevedo has worked with various media outlets and as a former producer for NPR’s Science Friday, was responsible for creating, producing, and hosting the weekly podcast for a Spanish speaking audience. Luis has years of expertise in communicating science to the public and gave hands-on advice to help hone and improve attendees' science pitch. The "Science Pitch" communication exercise had attendees submit a short video pitch of 2-3 minutes explaining their research project or any scientific topic of personal interest. Luis reviewed the videos offered in-session feedback on how to better present science to a general audience.

MGSN Science Cafe

February 19, Rockefeller University

Grad Student talks by:

Russell Ledet (NYU School of Medicine): Elucidation of the phosphoproteome of Homeodomain Interacting Protein Kinase II in castration-resistant prostate cancer

Alessandro Bailetti (NYU School of Medicine): Identifying new modulators of blood cell development using Drosophila as a low complexity model of leukemia

MGSN hosted a Science Café at The Rockefeller University featuring Alessandro Bailetti (NYU Sackler) and Russell Ledet (NYU Sackler). At a conference room at Rockefeller, these graduate students were able to present their research to peers from an array of NYC institutions.

The audience offered feedback and support to both Alessandro and Russell, suggesting new experiments and requesting clarification over pizza and soft drinks.

Alessandro Bailetti, a graduate student in the Bach Lab at NYU Langone, discussed his work searching for new modulators of JAK/STAT signalling and blood cell development. He is using the Hop Tum-l tumor phenotype model as a low complexity model of human leukemia. By conducting a screen of Drosophila deficiency lines, he has already started to implicate potential candidate genes.

Russell Ledet, a graduate student in the Logan and Garabedian Lab at NYU Langone, is using a chemical-genetic approach to study Homeodomain Interacting Protein Kinase II (HIPK2), an androgen receptor co-regulator that is associated with castration resistant prostrate cancer. He engineered this kinase to accept bulky ATPγS analogues in order to tag the substrates of the kinase, which enables them to be affinity purified for analysis by mass spectrometry.

Science, pizza, and conversation were enjoyed by all.

If you are interested in hosting a Science Café at your respective school, or would like to present your research at an upcoming Science Café, please contact us at We’d love to have you!

MGSN Networking and IDPs Workshop

December 4, 2014 @ CUNY Graduate Center

Having well-defined career goals and a strong professional network will give you a certain leg-up in your graduate studies and life beyond. This event presented an interactive two-part workshop to learn strategies for building a professional network to learn strategies for building a professional network, and guidelines for creating an effective professional development plan.

 Because scientists spend most of their time in the laboratory conducting research, they often fail to recognize the importance of building professional connections. Networking is vital to professional success both in and out of academia. In this interactive workshop led by Dr. Thomas Magaldi, MGSN members learned straightforward strategies for building and maintaining professional connections, critical for career success. Attendees practiced their elevator pitch, and identified people who are currently in their network and people who they would like to add.           

Today’s doctoral trainees face the challenge of competing for limited academic positions or entering “alterative careers” in science. Both options require a diverse set of skills and credentials that are not always obtained in the course of your scientific training. It is therefore essential that each trainee develops a strategic plan for success based on their personal career goals and skill needs. This plan, known as an Individual Development Plan (IDP), can be created with the assistance of the myIDP interactive web-based career-planning tool as discussed by Christine Gonzalez.  This portion of the event highlighted the importance of an IDP, providing a walkthrough of the myIDP web tool and while teaching strategies on how to effectively formulate and complete your goals.

“But I have no transferrable skills: Debunking myths and exploring career options of PhDs” – Melanie Sinche Event

September 25, 2014 @ Weill Cornell Medical College

‘What am I going to do after I get my PhD?’ -- It’s a question a lot of current graduate students ask themselves many times during the course of their research studies.  With the dismal situation surrounding funding for biological life science fields, getting a post-doctorate position, once a likely step for newly minted PhD’s, is becoming less and less of an option for many students.


Graduate students from all over the NYC area packed the auditorium at Weill Cornell to hear career coach, Melanie Sinche, explain how the skills they learn at the bench can be applicable to positions outside of academia. She is currently working as a Senior Research Associate for the Labor and Worklife Program but it was her extensive work as a Consultant and Career counselor at the National Institutes of Health that made her a qualified and dynamic speaker. 


The talk kicked off by having students call out skills that are developed by all graduate students. Some mentioned included critical thinking, problem solving, communication, and organization, all skills that are highly desired by prospective employers. A moment of humor was added to the presentation when participants were asked to pick apart an anonymous cover letter touting the writer’s excellent sales, organizational, and highly impressive financial numbers running a successful business. Later it was revealed, the writer was in fact someone who had spent some time behind bars leading the group to realize that no matter your background, it’s all about how you market yourself!


Ms. Sinche then led a “Skills Identification Exercise” that prompted students to list every activity they had been a part of during their graduate career, and then subsequently break down specific task associated with the activities. In doing this, students were able to identify key skills gained from each set of tasks.  She urged all students to not only have up-to-date LinkedIn profiles but to contact specific individuals in your fields of interest and attend programs in person and online in order to establish a robust professional network.  


The event was a huge success with many students saying they had a better understanding of the skill sets they possess and more importantly how to use those to apply for a variety of jobs.


Download the “Skills Identification Exercise” worksheet for yourself and identify your own transferable skills! 

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