A (dis)course in postdoc identities

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Science  01 Jun 2018:
Vol. 360, Issue 6392, pp. 977-978
DOI: 10.1126/science.360.6392.977-f

Adapting postdoctoral training to include the development of skills that are translatable to careers outside of the laboratory is critical for diversifying the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) workforce. We do not know much about the scientific identities of postdoctoral researchers (postdocs), which could ultimately limit their understanding of additional STEM career opportunities. Price et al. interviewed 30 postdocs to better understand how their scientific identities influenced their career goals. Using discourse analysis, the research team categorized two primary scientific identities among the postdocs: (i) bench scientists, who implement the scientific visions of others, and (ii) principal investigators, who formulate their own scientific visions. A further understanding of how these identities develop is essential for implementing better professional development programs for postdocs as they embark on scientific careers.

CBE Life Sci. Educ. 10.1187/cbe.17-08-0177 (2018).

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