Jul 5, 2024

MoGen's 8th Annual Career Development Alumni Symposium

Event News

Empowering the Next Generation of Scientists

Liliana T at the symposium
By Saya Sedighi and Liliana Trajceska

MoGen's 8th Annual Career Development Alumni Symposium Recap

On Tuesday, June 25th, 2024, the Department of Molecular Genetics at the University of Toronto hosted its 8th annual Career Development Alumni Symposium at Hart House's Great Hall. This event gathered students, postdocs, and genetics experts for networking, learning, and career development. Dr. Daniel Schramek, Deputy Director of LTRI and Associate Professor of the Department of Molecular Genetics, opened the symposium with a warm welcome, setting an enthusiastic tone for the day.

Key Speaker Highlights

Dr. Amanda Veri, Manager of the Office of Research Trainees at the University Health Network, opened the day with a compelling keynote. She offered practical advice on navigating the competitive job market in scientific research. She emphasized the importance of networking, leveraging tools like LinkedIn, dedicating time to career reflection, and using university resources. Her insights resonated strongly with attendees looking to carve out their career paths.

Later in the day, Dr. Nathan Schachter, the Therapeutic Area Head for Breast and Gyne Cancers at Merck, shared his journey from academia to the pharmaceutical industry. His insights provided realistic perspectives on the challenges and rewards of transitioning from research to medical affairs while captivating the audience with real-world anecdotes and career strategies.

Pictured: Dr. Amanda Veri (right) and Dr. Nathan Schachter (left)
Pictured: Dr. Amanda Veri (left) and Dr. Nathan Schachter (right)

Engaging Discussions and Networking

Attendees participated in three interactive roundtables, selecting mentors from a diverse group of 26 professionals in fields like product development, computational science, and genetic counselling. These sessions provided a platform for attendees to exchange ideas and gain valuable advice from mentors who are professionals in their respective fields. Each mentor shared their unique experience towards reaching their career goals, emphasizing the numerous opportunities awaiting students in their career development journey.

Mentors and Participants engaging in their roundtable discussion.
Mentors and Participants engaging in their roundtable discussion.

Interactive Career Learning Opportunities

The event also featured two new features: demo informational interviews and a career table, which offered participants hands-on experience refining their interview skills and polishing their resumes.

For the demo interviews, four MoGen students prepared for and conducted mock interviews with professionals in different roles, showcasing effective techniques for conducting successful interviews, such as preparing questions, navigating the interview, and respectfully concluding the conversation.

Dr. Kali Iyer (on the left) is demonstrating an informational interview.
Dr. Kali Iyer (on the left) is demonstrating an informational interview.

The new career table buzzed with activity as students sought expert guidance on navigating job applications and career advancement from our Career Advisors, Sun Ooi and Dr. Sarah McClymont. The career table was available for students to meet to discuss questions related to career advancement.

Career Advisors Dr. Sarah McClymont and Sun Ooi are seen answering participants' CV-related questions.
Career Advisors Dr. Sarah McClymont and Sun Ooi are seen answering participants' CV-related questions.

Closing Remarks

Dr. Martina Steiner, who coordinated the event and faculty member, ended the symposium with a recap of the event's goals and achievements. She encouraged students to continue their networking efforts and discussions over a wine and cheese reception to connect and reinforce a sense of community within the molecular genetics community.

Looking Ahead

The Career Development Alumni Symposium was an incredibly valuable experience for MoGen and MedGen students and postdocs. With inspiring keynote presentations, interactive roundtable discussions, practical live informational interviews and career coaching, attendees felt more knowledgeable and confident about their career paths. As the day wrapped up, participants left with a fresh sense of purpose and a toolkit of resources to help them embark on their professional journeys.

A big thank you to all the mentors, speakers, and attendees who helped make the symposium such a success. Your contributions truly made a lasting impact! We look forward to future events that will continue to empower and inspire the next generation of scientists. A special thanks to our sponsors for making this event possible. Last but not least, we would like to express our gratitude to our volunteers for making this event a success: Iosifina Fotiadou, Sumayya Abdul Qadir, Aisha Wada, Joshua Charkow, Ryan Chieu, Marcia Iglesias, Lekshmi Mohan, May Nguyen, Sun Ooi, Dr. Sarah McClymont, Ashley Campbell, Busra Canik, Pamela Alamilla, Rushil Dua, and Dr. Martina Steiner.

 
Career Symposium Sponsor Logos