Publication resulting from BBS course led by Susan Baserga indicates increased awareness of nontraditional scientific careers

Jennifer Claydon, PhD, Assistant Director of Training Program Assessment in BBS and the Poorvu Center and Susan Baserga, MD, PhD,
September 24, 2021

 Findings from a Yale B.B.S. course launched in 2019 and led by MB&B faculty member Susan Baserga, MD, PhD, were recently published in FASEB BioAdvances. The course, “Skills Development for Diverse Scientific Careers” (BBS 550b), aimed to introduce graduate students to career options not covered by established Yale curriculum.

The resulting publication, “Building skill-sets, confidence, and interest for diverse scientific careers in the biological and biomedical sciences,” measured students’ understanding of and desire to pursue careers outside of traditional academia positions. A survey administered before and after the course reflected “increases in students’ interest for, knowledge of, and confidence in securing a position in multiple nontraditional career,” according to the study.

First offered in Spring 2019, the course covered topics such as ways to increase productivity, understanding ‘big data’ applications, personal marketing, grant funding for biotech-academia collaborations, practicing resilience, and transitioning from academic research to jobs in other fields. Some of the fields explored included careers for PhD graduates in biotechnology, library science, biosafety, government or non-profit, and publishing. The post-course survey questions sought to measure various markers of impact as defined by four objectives. One answer reflected that “56% of students (n = 5) responded that they were able to narrow down their career path or confirm the path they are on” after taking the course.

The course was designed by Baserga, who served as Program Director, with collaborations from MB&B professor Anthony Koleske, Ph.D. and Director of the MD-PhD program at Yale, Barbara Kazmierczak, M.D., Ph.D. It was funded by an Administrative Supplement from the NIH. The subsequent study was authored by Jennifer Claydon, PhD, Assistant Director of Training Program Assessment in BBS and the Poorvu Center, Katherine Farley-Barnes, PhD, a recent MB&B graduate from the Baserga group and now Special Assistant for Program Development for the CMQB training grant, and Baserga. The publication can be found on FASEB.

By Brigitte Naughton