Graduate student and postdoctoral leaders from the Early Career Scientist Committees of the GSA.
Adam Ramsey and Jessica Velez lead the Talk Science To Me outreach workshop at PEQG 2018

Join the Communication and Outreach Subcommittee of GSA’s Early Career Scientist Leadership and Professional Development Program.

Are you a student or postdoc with a passion for science communication and outreach? Gain valuable experience, professional skills, portfolio pieces, and a vibrant network by applying for the Communication and Outreach Subcommittee, one of four subcommittees under the GSA’s Early Career Scientist Leadership and Professional Development Program, brainchild of Sonia Hall.

“The opportunity to gain writing, communication, and storytelling skills as an Early Career Scientist is a huge opportunity. Whether your aim is academia, industry, or other, your ability to communicate science is of the utmost importance. Even if you do amazing science, if you can’t communicate it, the research won’t have much of an impact.”

 Aleeza Gerstein (Assistant Professor, University of Manitoba, former Co-Chair of the Communication and Outreach Subcommittee)

The goal of our subcommittee is to highlight discoveries that originate from the model organism community to demonstrate the roles genetics research plays in daily life. We invite all early career GSA members to apply to be part of our group. Keep reading to learn more about what it’s like to work on the subcommittee!

Building community while networking

Our committee places an emphasis on building community. Although we are spread across the world, we stay connected through monthly video conference meetings and online discussions on the team working platform Slack. We use these forums to support each other, share resources, advance projects, and celebrate individual and group accomplishments. Through these interactions, we’ve become better peer mentors and have gained a deeper understanding of the challenges faced by early career scientists.

Being part of this subcommittee has opened up my network to a diverse and talented group of scientists who I now can call friends.”

Alison Gerken (Research Molecular Biologist – USDA Agricultural Research Service, current member of the subcommittee)


“As I am interested in interdisciplinary problems, it is increasingly important for me to be able to reach peers with different ways of thinking, and this subcommittee is an outstanding platform to do so.”

Angel Fernando Cisneros Caballero (Master’s student in Biochemistry, Laval University, current member of the subcommittee)


“This subcommittee has helped me expand my personal and professional network and further develop my leadership and organizational skills.”

Jessica Velez (Graduate Research Assistant – University of Tennessee Knoxville, current co-Chair of the subcommittee)

Building a portfolio

Using Slack, video conference, and Google Docs, we work in small groups to write articles that are published in a variety of outlets. Our topics are varied, ranging from the practical applications of RNAi, the history of in situ hybridization, and the discovery of microtubules. Each member spends up to two years on the Subcommittee, so we’re able to develop a strong portfolio of work that allows us to stand out in a crowded job market—all while making meaningful contributions to the scientific community.

“The subcommittee has helped me practice throwing out the jargon and messy details and distilling complex ideas into something catchy and impactful.”

Alison Gerken (Research Molecular Biologist – USDA Agricultural Research Service, current member of the subcommittee)

Developing diverse professional skills

Through our projects we develop strong writing and editing skills in addition to a variety of professional skills. Using a peer editing approach allows us to learn how to give and receive feedback. Our roles on the committee push us to refine our time management skills, manage projects effectively, implement teamwork strategies, and practice collaboration across space and time. These are important professional skills that take time and practice to develop. But perhaps most important, this experience allows us to develop ourselves as strong scientific professionals.

“I am not only developing my communication skills, but also expanding my professional network by working with a diverse group of early-career scientists, editing and reviewing each other’s work, and challenging myself by writing scientific pieces outside of my area of expertise.”

Haifa Alhadyian (Graduate Research Assistant – University of Kansas, current member of the subcommittee)


“I’ve learned about various topics and contributed to pieces that are not within my area of expertise, and I’ve learned a lot from our senior members and advisors about the leadership skills that are needed to keep a team motivated.”

—Angel Fernando Cisneros Caballero (Master’s student in Biochemistry, Laval University, current member of the subcommittee)

Engage in novel opportunities

Beyond the unique experience that the projects afford, committee members are also empowered to become more involved at GSA conferences. From developing workshops, to hosting panel discussions, or participating in unique community events—there are lots of new opportunities!

“Jessica and I developed and led a workshop on establishing and expanding an outreach program. We summarized our outreach activities and presented ways others can break into their communities, in both local and web-based contexts. This was a new experience that helped me develop new skills I may not have had the opportunity to develop without being part of the subcommittee and Leadership Program.”

Adam Ramsey (Graduate Teaching Assistant – University of Memphis, current Co-Chair of the subcommittee)


“I had the opportunity to pilot and host the first GENETICS Discussion event at a GSA Conference. We used this discussion to dive into the story behind the paper.”

Jessica Velez (Graduate Research Assistant – University of Tennessee Knoxville, current Co-Chair of the subcommittee)

Join us!

We’re very excited to continue growing our subcommittee while publishing interesting articles for the general public and fellow scientists. We have some new project platforms and ideas in development, but we need your assistance! If you are interested in joining our subcommittee, please apply for the Early Career Scientist Leadership Program by November 30th, 2018. We welcome you as we continue to expand the subcommittee and communicate science!

While I have a history of performing outreach and being an active proponent of science, I was a little apprehensive to be moving into a more visible role within the scientific community (a bit of imposter syndrome!). But the welcoming atmosphere of the subcommittee dashed that apprehension away. I realized I was selected for the subcommittee because I have talents to offer. It has been an enjoyable and rewarding experience playing a role in—and seeing first-hand—the accomplishments of the subcommittee.

Adam Ramsey (Graduate Teaching Assistant – University of Memphis, current Co-Chair of the subcommittee)

About the authors: The Early Career Scientist Communications and Outreach Subcommittee aims to draw connections between fundamental discoveries that have originated in the genetics community and show how they have contributed to advancements in science, medicine, and technology.

    Leave a comment

  1. Sara says:

    Do you we have to pay for this program or it is free for GSA members

    • Cristy Gelling says:

      There is no cost, but entry to the program is by competitive application. Please apply!

      • Sara says:

        Right but I have no previous experience of research work in genetics instead I am interseted in genetics research in future coz my son is having a genetic disease.should I still apply?

        • Cristy Gelling says:

          Hi Sarah – the program is designed for graduate students and postdoctoral researchers in genetics, so it sounds like this wouldn’t be a good fit for you. My e-mail address is, please e-mail me and I will see if I have any suggestions.

  2. Sara Farheen says:

    hi, seems exciting opportunity for researchers…is it completely online forum?can anyone related to medical field join?