The APS Annual Leadership Meeting will be taking place this week on Thursday 2/4 and Saturday 2/6. This is usually an in-person meeting in DC, so registration is usually limited to the leadership of APS Units, but this year it’s virtual and they have extended registration to all APS members for free (it might be free to nonmembers, but I am not sure).
I attended last year and it was an extremely valuable look at the work that APS does to advance physics, from organizing conferences to interacting with the congress and federal agencies to advance policies to strengthen scientific research. That includes obvious things, like most science funding, and less obvious things, like ensuring an adequate supply of liquid helium.
One January 1, I started my term as Chair-Elect for the APS Forum for Early Career Scientists (FECS). This is a three-year position; I will serve as Chair-Elect, Chair and then Past Chair in 2021, 2022 and 2023 respectively. I have already served on the Executive Committee for the past two years as a Member-at-Large, and I am excited to continue serving this community. On behalf of FECS, I will also be serving as an Ex-Officio member of the APS Committee on Careers and Professional Development (CCPD) and I’m looking forward to shaping the crucial career programming that APS offers its members.
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)!
The Forum for Early Career Scientists (FECS) is an APS forum dedicated to addressing the unique challenges of early career scientists, which include postdocs, recent PhDs in industry, junior faculty, research associates and so on. FECS is one of the newest and fastest-growing APS fora and we’re looking for nominations of new people to join our executive board. Nominations are due Monday 8/31.
We are seeking nominations from people in all career stages, but since this is a group dedicated to early career scientists, we need early career scientists on our executive board. More information on how to get involved after the break.
Friday was my last day as a postdoc at NTU. My next step isn’t another postdoc or even a faculty position; instead, I’ll be learning about public policy as a AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellow (STPF)! My placement is in the Department of Energy, where I’ll be working on the diplomatic and legal arrangements that support international scientific collaboration.
I’m thrilled to announce that the Materials Modeling Stack Exchange forum is now in public beta. This means that anyone can browse without having to sign up for sign up for an account and the questions might start showing up in google search results. We’re still actively recruiting more physics-oriented contributors, so I encourage you to check it out.
There are already hundreds of questions and answers on the forum, here’s a couple great discussions you might want to join in on:
For the APS Congressional Visit Day last month, my team visited the DC office of Representative Jim Himes (D-CT-04) to advocate for a number of issues important to science (see previous post). One of our asks was for Rep. Himes to cosponsor the Keep STEM Talent Act. I just heard that Rep. Himes is now a cosponsor! Thanks so much to my CVD team, to Rep. Himes and to the staffer we met with, Jessica Hagens-Jordan!
This week, I am in Washington DC for the APS Congressional Visit Day and Annual Leadership Meeting. We started on Wednesday with the Congressional Visit. APS broke us up into teams by region. I’m a Massachusetts voter, so I joined a team of people from Massachusetts and Connecticut. We had six meetings with the offices of Massachusetts Senators Ed Markey and Elizabeth Warren, Connecticut Senators Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal along with House Representatives James Himes and Rosa DeLauro.
Established just three years ago, FECS is is dedicated to helping APS meet the unique needs of early career scientists (i.e. postdocs). Early career scientists face a number of unique challenges. They often move great distances, isolating themselves from their support networks. They have neither the protection of tenure nor the comradeship of classmates, and they often occupy temporary positions with low pay, meager benefits, and few labor protections. They must balance the pressure to publish with the constant search for their next position. All of these factors put them at an elevated risk for exploitation and harassment, the worst of which often falls upon women and minorities.
I am looking forward to working to make life better for early career scientists like myself. I want to focus especially on the problems faced by underrepresented minorities as well as mental health. In addition to my own ideas, I want to hear from you, my friends and colleagues, about issues that are facing early career scientists and ideas for how FECS might be able to address them. Please contact me or comment below with your thoughts and suggestions.
If you’re an APS member who is interested in joining FECS, you can do so for free by logging into your account on aps.org. You can also join the FECS Facebook group, even if you’re not an APS member.