In addition to enhancing my own development, I have always found opportunities to directly contribute to the development of other students and postdocs.
Since the scheduled termination of the CMORE program, I have joined the professional development team of ECUSA (Association of Spanish Scientists in the USA), where I organize regular career development events in collaboration with other Spanish postdocs. These experiences have greatly enhanced my organizational, communicative, and collaborative skills, as well as fulfill my interest in professional development.
Since March 2013, I took a leadership role in the NSF Science and Technology Center for Microbiology: Research and Education (CMORE). I participated and took a leading role in developing the Professional Development Training Program (PDTP), an innovative educational program that aimed to enhance the professional development of students and postdocs from the seven CMORE institutions. The program consists of eight different modules focused on enhancing a variety of skills, such as science communication, teaching, mentoring, proposal writing, and leadership. Through my work on the committee, I was involved in all parts of the organization of workshops and activities, including selecting topics, identifying and inviting speakers, outreach efforts, as well as the development of evaluations and surveys to assess the students’ needs and the effectiveness of the activities. In 2013, I was awarded a competitive grant from CMORE for the development and implementation of an educational workshop focused on effective communication and enhancing diversity in STEM fields. I also organized a teaching workshop to promote active learning skills and effective teaching strategies among CMORE students and postdocs. For the organization of these activities, I communicated with multiple guest speakers, presenters, co-organizers, and faculty, and recruited people at LDEO/Columbia to attend the workshops.