Yale Ciencia Academy (YCA) is a year-long program that provides graduate students with opportunities for mentoring, peer support, and networking; for developing skills that are important for career advancement; and for contributing to their communities through science outreach.
I am a YCA Fellow form the 2017 cohort. The program is conducted largely online (video conference), except for the annual face-to-face meeting that occurs at the AAAS conference in February. All expenses to attend this conference are paid by the program. The opportunity to attend the AAAS conference was beneficial not only as part of the YCA, but as a scientist. The AAAS conference offers a wide range of activities for networking and career development for its attendees.
As part of the program we had different opportunities to enhance our training. From conversations with scientists in the industry and in academia, to peer discussion about impostor syndrome. The following list is taken from the YCA website:
- Conversations with successful scientists and mentors– Online video chats with role models and mentors who are in a variety of academic and non-academic careers. These conversations include Q&A sessions where professionals share their experiences, insights, and practical advice on diverse topics, including having careers in and outside of academia, getting funded, securing a postdoc, and work/life balance.
- Moderated peer discussions – Online video discussions between program fellows to facilitate networking, peer mentoring, and community building. During peer discussions, participants have the opportunity to discuss topics including mentoring concerns, important milestones, and common challenges in graduate training, and addressing the imposter syndrome.
- Workshops for skills development – The program features professional development workshops (online and in-person) on topics including:
- Defining and working towards professional goals
- Scientific teaching
- Effective communication
- Science outreach & leadership – Participants have the opportunity to impact their communities through science outreach activities like the publication of popular science articles or podcasts or visits of local schools. See examples of our fellows’ outreach projects from 2016 and 2017.
- Annual face-to-face meeting – In-person meeting of all participants during the AAAS conference in February, to extend opportunities for networking and professional development.
Yale Ciencia Academy 2017 Cohort at the AAAS conference (February 2017)