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Early Career Scientist Leadership Program


Students, postdocs, and other early career scientists (ECS) are the future of the GSA community. To strengthen their voice in the Society, the GSA has developed an ECS leadership and professional development program. This program provides rich opportunities for early career scientists to develop skills, gain leadership experience, network, and produce concrete deliverables that demonstrate their abilities.



Application deadline: November 30, 2017


WHO: The program is designed for grad student and postdoc members of the GSA looking for leadership and professional development opportunities.


WHAT: You will work closely with other ECS members, as well as experienced mentors, to explore issues and themes related to advancement of early career members. Each subcommittee proposes, develops, and implements programming that addresses unmet needs in our community.


WHERE: Anywhere in the world. The program is conducted remotely via phone, internet, and e-mail. Participants in some locations in North America may also have opportunities to take part in-person at GSA Conferences and Career Development Symposia.


WHEN: Appointments are typically for two years, and the next cohort will be appointed in January 2018. Applications are due November 30, 2017.



  • Contribute to the advancement of early career scientists and the scientific enterprise.

  • Receive training and mentoring from GSA staff, GSA board members, other academic faculty, and leaders from the non-academic workforce.

  • Collaborate with PhD geneticists working in diverse sectors and industries.

  • Produce deliverables that show the fruits of your hard work (important for a job search), such as blog posts, infographics, program documents, lists and resources, social media campaigns, e-mail newsletters, surveys, and more.

  • Develop and demonstrate your professional skills, including: writing and editing, writing for nonscientists, communication, mentoring, seeking advice from advisors and mentors, demonstrating workplace etiquette, complying with rules and regulations, upholding commitments and meeting deadlines, maintaining positive relationships with colleagues, contributing to your discipline, planning and organizing projects, time management, delegating responsibilities, leading and motivating others, serving as a role model, careful recordkeeping, demonstrating responsible authorship and publication practices, and maintaining a professional network.

HOW TO APPLY: To apply, please use the linked form. Are you a current member? Check your membership status here. Questions? E-mail


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Current Early Career Scientist Leaders and committees


Click to expand Committee


›› Early Career Scientist Steering Committee

photo of Alessandro A. Bailetti photo of Alexandra Erwin photo of Giovanna Collu

Alessandro A. Bailetti
Steering Committee Co-chair

Alexandra Erwin
Steering Committee Co-Chair

Giovanna Collu
Policy Subcommittee Liaison

photo of Didem P. Sarikaya photo of Aleeza Gerstein photo of Zach Farrow

Didem P. Sarikaya
Co-chair of the Career Development Subcommittee

Aleeza Gerstein
Co-chair & Publications Committee Liaison

Zach Farrow
Chair Diversity Subcommittee


Victoria McGovern (Burroughs Wellcome Fund), JoAnne Engebrecht (GSA Board of Directors, UCSD)



• Understand the interests, challenges, and concerns of early career scientists.

• Collect and disseminate data to guide the activities of the three subcommittees.


Initial Projects:

• Create communication pieces on policies that impact training, including suggestions for change.

• Collaborate with early career social scientists to survey the scientific community.



›› Career Development Subcommittee

photo of Didem P. Sarikaya photo of Caitlin McDonough photo of Zihiji Ren

Didem P. Sarikaya

Caitlin McDonough

Zihiji Ren

photo of Nicole Green photo of Melissa Bizzurrai photo of Faten Taki

Nicole Green

Melissa Bizzurrai

Faten Taki

photo of Elaine Welch    

Elaine Welch





Erika Matunis (GSA Board of Directors, Johns Hopkins University)



• Build relationships with professionals and companies in the larger scientific community to create deeper connections with the Society and its membership.

• Highlight the versatility of model organism geneticists to enter a variety of career pathways.


Initial Projects:

• Develop the “Decoding Life” interview series as blog and social media posts to demonstrate the diversity of career options for PhD scientists.

• Create communication pieces highlighting the strength of underrepresented life histories to advance the scientific enterprise.



›› Communication & Outreach Subcommittee

photo of Aleeza Gerstein photo of Sumeet Nayak photo of Amey Redkar

Aleeza Gerstein
Co-chair & Publications Committee Liaison

Sumeet Nayak

Amey Redkar

photo of Jessica Velez photo of Narjes Alfuariji photo of Haifa Alhadyian

Jessica Velez

Narjes Alfuariji

Haifa Alhadyian

photo of Haifa Alhadyian photo of Adam J. Ramsey  

Haifa Alhadyian

Adam J. Ramsey
Communication Committee Liaison




Arash Bashirullah (University of Wisconsin, Kavli Fellow), Deborah Yelon (GSA Board of Directors, UC Davis)



• Draw connections between fundamental discoveries that have originated in the genetics community and show how they have contributed to advancements in science, medicine and technology.


Initial Projects:

• Develop the “Decoding Life” interview series as blog and social media posts to demonstrate the diversity of career options for PhD scientists.

• Create infographics and communication pieces describing transformative discoveries for a general audience.



›› Policy Subcommitee

photo of Giovanna Collu photo of Emily Lescak photo of Jo Bairzin

Giovanna Collu
Co-Chair & Liaison

Emily Lescak

Jo Bairzin

photo of Thomas Clements    

Thomas Clements





Gary McDowell (Future of Research)



• Explore current policies and their implications for graduate and postdoctoral training, research funding, and the advancement of the scientific enterprise.

• Communicate with Society members, government representatives, and other scientists.


Initial Projects:

• Create policy newsletter

• Curate list of policy fellowship and training opportunities.



›› NEW! Diversity Subcommittee

photo of Zach Farrow photo of Lucy Jinglin Xie photo of Tiffany Baiocchi

Zach Farrow

Lucy Jinglin Xie

Tiffany Baiocchi



Dana Miller (University of Washington), Robert Ward (University of Kansas)



• Communicate factors that create a welcoming environment for individuals from underrepresented groups.

• Create programming that contributes to building community and mentoring networks.


Initial Projects:

• Develop mentoring program for early career members.

• Provide suggestions for creating inclusive conference environments.









Learn more about the ECS Leaders and their projects:


ECS Leadership Spotlights - Read profiles of our current ECS leaders.


GENETICS Program in Scientific Reviewing - Receive one-on-one mentoring in manuscript reviewing from members of the GENETICS Editorial Board.


Decoding Life - Interviews with geneticists who have diverse career paths, tracing the many directions possible after research training.


Early Career Scientist Weekly e-newsletter - Featuring resources, opportunities, and job listings for our early career members.


GSA steps up its focus on early career scientists - Read about Sonia Hall’s vision for the Leadership Program. Sonia is GSA’s Director of Engagement and Development.