I’m thrilled to tell you all that I’m a candidate for the Chair line of the APS Forum for Early Career Scientists! This is a three year position consisting of one year each as chair elect, chair and past chair. I’ve serving as a member of the FECS Executive Committee for the past two years and I’m excited to be able to continue my service with FECS. If you’re a member of FECS, please vote for me! Polls close on November 20; you should have an email in your inbox now with the subject line “APS FECS Election”. I’ve included my bio and candidate statement below.
If you’re a member of APS and not a member of FECS, you should sign up! I don’t know if you would be able to vote, but it’s free and it’s a way to encourage APS to support postdocs other early career scientists (and to get support yourself)!
Adam Iaizzi is a condensed matter physicist focused on using computational methods, chiefly quantum Monte Carlo, to understand quantum phase transitions in magnetic materials. Adam earned his PhD from Boston University in 2018; his dissertation, “Magnetic field effects in low-temperature quantum magnets”, won a Springer Thesis Award. After his PhD, he worked as a postdoc at National Taiwan University. Like many early career scientists, Adam is now exploring nontraditional career options. This year he was selected for a highly-competitive AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellowship and has been placed in the Department of Energy Office of High Energy Physics, where he will work on the international legal agreements that support international scientific collaborations like the LHC.
Early career scientists are both a key part of today’s science and the backbone of its future. We are also at a crucial and vulnerable part of our own careers: we often move great distances, we have neither the protection of tenure nor the comradeship of classmates, and we usually hold temporary positions with relatively low pay and few labor protections. We balance pressure to maintain our scientific output with constantly changing circumstances and the search for our next position. These factors put early career scientists at high risk for exploitation and harassment, the worst of which often falls upon minority and women scientists. Early career scientists are therefore in the greatest need of support from APS. In the era of COVID-19, this is more true than ever before: the pandemic has made research and conference travel impossible, which is crucial for developing our professional networks, and shutdowns have made labs inaccessible, slowing experiments to a halt. Postdocs, usually on short-term employment contracts, are especially hurt by these delays, and the global economic downturn is making job searches even more challenging than usual.
My recent experiences mirror those of many early career scientists: job hunts, uncertainty, international moves, and now a transition into a nonacademic job. Even though I am still early in my career, I have the experience and skills I need to lead FECS effectively. For the past two years, I have served as a member-at-large on the FECS executive committee, where I recruited new members, organized conference sessions, and attended the APS leadership workshop. I have seen firsthand the crucial role FECS plays in identifying the unique challenges and needs of early career scientists and directing APS resources towards those challenges. I also have experience leading similar organizations, building consensus and managing a budget: in graduate school I served as Treasurer and later President of the university-wide Graduate Student Organization, overseeing a $35,000 annual budget encompassing social programs and travel grants; I also worked with the women in science group to establish paid parental leave for PhD students.
My term as member-at-large ends this year, and I am eager to continue serving our community. After excellent leadership from more senior scientists, I believe FECS is ready for early career scientists to themselves serve in the chair line. If elected, I will continue FECS’ important work and be an advocate for vulnerable early career scientists. I am a fierce advocate for diversity and I will continue to advocate for women and underrepresented minorities in all of FECS’ work.