July 2020 Blog Post

Q&A with the ADSA Career Development Network

Can you give us an overview of the Career Development Network (what it is, who can be involved, etc.)?

The Career Development Network (CDN) is a group within ADSA that supports the professional development of early career data scientists.

The CDN was started by alumni of the Moore-Sloan Data Science Environments and is currently expanding to add new members. Most of our members are early career data scientists, within 5-10 years of receiving a Ph.D., who work in academia or industry. Our group also includes more senior individuals with an interest in mentoring and supporting early career members.

Our group currently has about 80 members and is led by an Executive Committee elected by the membership. The current leadership consists of co-chairs Dani Ushizima (Lawrence Berkeley National Lab) and Justin Kitzes (University of Pittsburgh), Garret Christensen (U.S. Census Bureau), Ciera Martinez (UC Berkeley), Lauren Ponisio (University of Oregon), and Micaela Parker (ADSA, Ex Officio).

CDN members and friends at Image XD 2018

CDN members and friends at Image XD 2018

What are some of the initiatives the CDN is working on that early career data scientists should know about?

Our group focuses our work on four major activities, several of which are just getting started this year.

First, we focus on connecting our members to each other and to the broader data science community. We send our members regular communication and hold  special break-out sessions at the yearly ADSA summit for our network.

Second, we support skill sharing to help members to stay up-to-date with developments in methods, tools, software, and pedagogy and integrate new approaches into their research and teaching. We are launching, in coordination with ADSA, a series of webinars for our members.

Third, we create mentoring relationships for our members to support their career development. We are establishing a mentoring network that links participating members with both senior individuals who can provide career guidance and junior members who they can mentor themselves.

Fourth, we assist our members in finding and acquiring competitive funding to support their data science activities. This year, all members are eligible to apply for $10,000 to $20,000 seed grants directly from our network. Beyond these seed grants, we aim to help members assemble into interdisciplinary teams that can jointly pursue outside funding and to help direct interested funders to appropriate groups of members.

What are some planned/upcoming initiatives the CDN is working on that we should look forward to?

For the remainder of this year, members can look forward to the announcement of our seed grant opportunities later this month. We also hope to see as many members as possible at our breakout session at this year’s virtual ADSA summit. Members can also expect to hear more information about regular all-member phone calls and participation in our mentorship network before the end of the year.

How can people get involved with the CDN?

If you are a current member, keep an eye out for our upcoming announcements! If you are not yet a member, we encourage you to fill out this form to express interest in joining our group. We particularly welcome interest from early career individuals from disciplines and universities that are not well-represented in our current membership, including those from outside of the “hard” sciences and from smaller universities and colleges.