Blog

As part of our year-long programming, ABRCMS will periodically publish blog posts of interest to students, faculty, and other individuals associated with ABRCMS.

Have you or your students' research been impacted by COVID-19?

The current COVID-19 pandemic has changed the academic and research experience for students, and is sure to impact marginalized and minoritized populations. Click here to visit our "COVID-19 Impacts on Minoritized Scientists Series". This 5-part series offers guidance and perspectives on the impact of COVID-19 on the training and scientific maturation of minority students in the biomedical sciences.

Silencing Your Inner Critic: Spotlight on Michael D.L. Johnson

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Dr. Michael D.L. Johnson is a Keystone Symposia Fellow, a Health Scholar of the Aspen Ideas Festival, cofounder of the National Summer Undergraduate Research Project and assistant professor of immunobiology at the University of Arizona, where he currently studies how bacteria interact with metals, like copper, during infection. But, according to Johnson, identifying his propensity for science and finding the confidence to thrive in his field were limited by feelings of imposter syndrome early in his career. In fact, proving to himself that he belongs has been the most challenging thing he’s had to overcome as a Black microbiologist.

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Practicing Resilience Mid-Ph.D.: Spotlight on Kristen Walker

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Kristen Walker has years of scientific experience, from her B.S. and M.S. degrees in Animal Science (from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore and Kansas State University, respectively) to her work as a biologist at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in the Agriculture Research Service (ARS), where she investigates the genomics of a virus that is a serious threat to domestic pork production. But nothing prepared her for the sudden departure of her Ph.D. advisor in the summer of 2020.

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Imposter Syndrome: The Truth About Feeling Like a Fake

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Who do you think you are? You don’t belong here. Your intellect and experiences are leagues behind that of your peers. There’s no way you’re cut out for this! Just wait, your proposal will be a flop and then everyone will know that you’re a fake. Everything turned out alright, you say? (Again)? The reviewers must not have been paying attention. After all, if you can do it, then anyone can do it.
 
If someone were to say this to you, you might consider looking for new friends or filing a verbal harassment complaint (and rightfully so). Even very young children can correctly identify this as bullying language. Nevertheless, a lot of us speak this way to ourselves. Why? Engaging in such denigrating internal dialogue could indicate that you, like 7 out of 10 people, experience imposter syndrome (known also as imposterism or the imposter phenomenon), a faulty belief system wherein one chronically doubts his or her abilities in spite of rivaling external evidence.

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Practicing Resilience and Wellness During COVID-19

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Many of us who are in or near periods of transition had a well thought-out plan for what to do next and how to get there. A global pandemic was not part of those plans, not to mention the equally potent civil rights movement that evolved shortly thereafter. Either of these alone could easily flip someone’s life upside down, but together, it’s like the whole world is getting flipped and spun and jostled. I say this not to make us feel more helpless, but rather to illustrate the extent to which our lives have been shaken up. Despite the nearly universal feeling of instability, we are all largely stuck in different houses, with or without other people, weighing any number of factors and just trying to make the best decisions moving forward.

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Reviewing Grant Applications and Manuscripts as a Professional Development Strategy

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Reviewing manuscripts and grants is a key component of academic science. Without peer review, published research lacks credibility. Without grant review panels, decisions around funding might be more arbitrary. The system relies on huge amounts of volunteer labor and expertise. This labor is often framed as altruistic work for the betterment of science, but you can also be strategic and leverage review work to directly benefit your career.

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How Mindfulness Helped me Cope with Uncertainty

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Regardless of country, state, age or social status, the COVID-19 pandemic has taken its toll on everyone.  It is impacting how we approach our relationships with friends and family, as well as, our work and careers. Reflecting on how the pandemic started, I never imagined that I would not be able to physically go to work for almost 3 months. As it stands currently, that uncertainty remains. Uncertainty certainly seems like the word that is defining the year 2020, and it is easy to let it get the better of us, especially for students and trainees, who are constantly transitioning in their careers. We think that we are in control of most aspects of our lives, but if there is anything that I have learned from all this, it is that there is so much outside of our control.

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Celebrating Pride Month with Dr. Phoebe Lostroh

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We all find interests, passions, hobbies and careers that ignite us regardless of our identities. To celebrate Pride Month, we interviewed Dr. Phoebe Lostroh, an Associate Professor of Biology at Colorado College and a member of ASM’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Taskforce. She shares with us how her passion for science started, advice for those who want a teaching career and her interests in supporting the LGBTQ+ community.

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Coping with Stress in the Time of COVID-19: Strategies to Enhance Resilience in Biomedical Graduate Students

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Pursuing graduate school in the biomedical sciences can be stressful, and the COVID-19 pandemic may be adding additional stress to graduate students’ lives. As stress levels increase during these difficult times, it is important to ensure that students have access to resources that will provide guidance in reducing stress.

We are a team of highly trained professionals in psychology, psychiatry and the biomedical sciences who have combined our expertise to provide recommendations for coping with stress and enhancing resilience for biomedical graduate students during the time of COVID-19.

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