The “Let’s Talk” Seminar Series is an informative discussion on topics related to personal and professional development in a variety of careers. Each seminar will be conducted by a recognized expert in the field and will highlight their career trajectory, including their peaks and valleys, as well as advice on how to enter their respective fields. In addition to the seminar, there will be opportunities to ask questions and network with the invited speakers. All seminars will be held in the Executive Board Room at NCI Frederick Building 549. If you have any questions about the seminar series or the FDC please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
September 29th, 2018
Phil Ryan, PhD., Deputy Director, Graduate Programs and Student Services
About the speaker: Dr. Philip Ryan joined the NIH Office of Intramural Training and Education (OITE) in 2011. As Deputy Director, Graduate Programs and Student Services, he oversees the NIH Graduate Summer Opportunity to Advance Research Program, NIH Graduate Partnerships Program, NIH Translational Science Training Program and NIH Intramural AIDS Research Fellowship. Dr. Ryan provides resources and scientific guidance to NIH trainees to facilitate a successful graduate/fellowship experience. He also delivers workshops on scientific career development skills at a number of events throughout the year.
An introduction to who you are (elevator speech) is an essential first step in building your network. As scientists, a brief, concise and well thought out introduction to your science is very important.
Dr. Ryan addressed this topic by giving a practical and easy to follow guide for constructing your own elevator speech. He emphasized key elements that make or break an elevator speech which includes a proper introduction, stating one’s professional or career goals, and establishing how a new relationship will be mutually beneficial for each party involved in the conversation.
He also described the different types of audiences one may encounter and the importance of tailoring your speech depending on the audience. For example, an elevator speech designed for an industry audience may include more technical details that highlights one’s understanding of cutting-edge techniques. This is key since a proper elevator speech should communicate the value each party can offer by joining each other’s professional network.
Want to learn more about constructing and giving a successful elevator speech? Please review Dr. Ryan’s complete presentation below.
July 20th, 2018
Networking is an important tool to establish collaborations, discover opportunities for leadership roles, investigate the viability of an organization and identify career and personal mentors. Developing an effective network is crucial for career development and advancement. Dr. Ryan addressed this important topic by offering resources and practical tips on how to make new professional connections and maintain them for career success. He emphasized the importance of developing networking skills through elevator pitches, communicating your science and using platforms like LinkedIn to establish connections grow your network. Most importantly, Dr. Ryan emphasized that practice makes perfect and encouraged trainees to practice as often as possible. One piece of advice offered by Dr. Ryan was to remember that networking is a two-way street. When establishing a new mentoring relationship, it is important to figure out how all parties involved can mutually benefit from each other. This will increase communication and ultimately aid in the longevity of the relationship. The more opportunities you seek to network, the easier it becomes. Want to learn more about effectively building a network? Please review Dr. Ryan’s complete presentation below.
A big thank you to Dr. Ryan for his workshop on Networking at NCI-Frederick!
June 15th, 2018
Dr. Roland Owens Ph.D., Director of Research Workforce Development
Dr. Roland Owens came to the NIH Office of Intramural Research (OIR) in 2008. His primary duty as an Assistant Director is to facilitate and enhance principal investigator recruitments within the Intramural Research Program. As a logical offshoot of this primary duty, he is the principal OIR senior staff member responsible for promoting diversity and inclusion in the biomedical research workforce, as well as promoting mentorship at the NIH. He also coordinates an annual course for new tenure-track PIs, titled “How to Succeed as a PI at the NIH – Leadership & Management Skills.”
Dr. Owens succinctly touched upon the process of applying to the Earl Stadtman Tenure-Track investigator position and the requirements for successfully obtaining a tenure track position in Academia. He talked about the often-neglected aspects such as the importance of consensus between the research plan/vision statement of the candidate and the recommendation letters; the need to practice the chalk talk (where most candidates falter); and highlighted the importance of mentoring experience in obtaining a tenure track position. Dr. Owens encouraged fellows to apply for positions well in advance of the termination of their fellowships as the turn-around time can sometimes be quite extended. Details of tenure-track position vacancies are available at the websites of the specific universities while all the details of the Earl Stadtman application are available at
The website of the Intramural Research Program (IRP) provides a comprehensive list of scientist level positions available at NIH.
View Dr. Owen’s complete presentation.
We thank Dr. Owens for the excellent, detailed talk and appreciate participation from scientists and fellows at the NCI at Frederick.
May 10th, 2018
Dr. Jim Cherry, Scientific Program Director for LASP and ABCC
Dr. Jim Cherry is the Scientific Program Director for the Laboratory of Animal Science Program (LASP) and the Advanced Biomedical Computing Center (ABCC) funded by the Office of Scientific Operations at the National Cancer Institute at Frederick campus. Dr. Cherry received his Ph.D. in Biology with a concentration in Biomedical Science from Catholic University. He completed his postdoctoral fellowship at QIAGEN and got promoted to R&D where he developed the miScript Chemistry platform for high-throughput applications. He became the Scientific Program Director for the Advanced Technology Program in 2010 at NCI-Frederick and was then appointed COR LASP and ABCC in 2013. During the seminar, Dr. Cherry spoke about the nuances of a career in science administration and how to utilize skills learnt from the bench to bridge the gap with scientists and contractors.
Translational research integrates scientific technologies with basic research for the development of research ideas into therapeutic medicine. The development of scientific technologies is supported at NCI-Frederick through specialized programs equipped to assist and advance scientific research at NCI. The Contracting Officer Representative (COR) facilitates the advancement of research by understanding the needs of the scientists/programs and bridging the gap with contracting office, and contractors to meet the scientists’ needs. The key skills required for this position involve effective communication, team-building, facilitating scientific progress and understanding Federal Acquisition and Regulations (FAR). The job entails good written and verbal communication skills, networking, and maintaining connections with colleagues. For those interested, Federal non-bench science related COR positions are advertised on USAJobs. Additional non-bench science related jobs can be found at company websites like Leidos, MedImmune and QIAGEN.
A big thank you to Dr. Cherry for kicking-off our seminar series and everyone who attended!