Strategies for Success: Student workshop series

In 2014, 2015 and 2016 the CSEE student and postdoc representatives organized student workshops during the annual meeting, with the help of the local LOC students. The workshop took place in a pub during and evening. The event was structured as a number of tables with one topic addressed at each, such as:

  • Finding scholarship opportunities and writing scholarship applications,
  • Choosing where to do your MSc/PhD/PDF (what things to look for in a lab and a location),
  • Advice for students hoping to do a degree/post-doc abroad,
  • Academic job applications (research and teaching positions),
  • Careers in government/industry,
  • Tips for writing your MSc/PhD thesis,
  • Creating work/life balance,
  • How to juggle kids and academic careers

Between one and three faculty members, postdoctoral fellows, or people with non-academic positions were selected for each table. Workshop attendees then moved around the different topics that they are interested in. This workshop is designed to be a safe space where students and postdocs can ask questions and receive advice from experienced people in a relaxed ambience. This event has been a big success in the past, and a great opportunity for networking.

We are planning to organize a similar workshop for the 2017 meeting in Victoria. Stay tuned for more details and the list of topics/speakers!


2012 – Science and policy

The Role of Science in Policy – Informing and Engaging with Decision-Makers
Workshop at CSEE 2012

An interactive panel discussion with:

  • Ted Hsu, PhD Physics, Liberal Member of Parliament (Canada), Science & Technology Critic
  • Rees Kassen, Associate Professor, University of Ottawa, Chair of the Partnership Group for Science and Engineering (PAGSE), Co-Chair for the Global Young Academy
  • Jeff Kinder, PhD Public Policy, Manager, Science & Technology Strategy, Natural Resources Canada
  • Pierre Meulien, PhD Molecular Biology, President and CEO, Genome Canada

2011 – Networking workshop

Helping Scientists Network

Donna Messer, from ConnectUs Canada, spoke about networking. Using herself as an example she showed us the power of maintaining and expanding your network as she quickly made connections with individuals in the audience.  She pushed us out of our comfort zone and encouraged interaction.  Business cards are key – even for scientists!

Organized by Kes Morton


2010 – communicating with the media

Talking frogs and silent scientists: A simple survival guide to speaking with the media

Thanks again to our guest speaker for 2010, Jim Handman, executive producer of CBC’s Quirks and Quarks. For those of you who didn’t take notes or were unable to attend, here are some key points from an informative and entertaining presentation:

  1. Always use layman’s terms. Imagine describing your work to someone who has no experience in your field at all, or even in science.
  2. Don’t take over the interview. Allow the interviewer to do their job, and answer the question asked.
  3. Show enthusiasm. If you are genuinely excited, your audience will be genuinely excited.
  4. Describe well, using word pictures. Relate your research to things people are already familiar with, but remember people are interested in the weird and odd, not the normal.
  5. It is perfectly acceptable to ask to check quotes before your story is published, but not the story.
  6. Be honest.

Organized by Kes Morton


2009 – getting a non-academic job

Our second annual student workshop, on nonacademic jobs, was a great success with approximately 100 members attending in Halifax. I would like to thank the local
organising committee for helping me plan this event. Our panel members generously gave
their time and wisdom, without which this workshop would not have been possible:

  • Don Bowen, Ph.D., Research Scientist, Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), Bedford Institute of Oceanography
  • Mélanie Dionne, Ph.D., Research Scientist, Ministère des ressources naturelles et de la faune du Québec (MRNF)
  • Chris Miller, Ph.D., National Manager of Wilderness Conservation and Climate Change for Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS)
  • Darren Sleep, Ph.D., Senior Forest Ecologist, Canadian Operations for the National Council for Air and Stream Improvement (NCASI)
  • Fred Whoriskey, Ph.D., Vice President Research & Environment for the Atlantic Salmon Federation (ASF)

Organized by Nathalie Brodeur


2008 – getting a job in academia

Our first annual lunch-workshop was a great success with 130 of our members
participating! Many thanks to Dr. Daniel Promislow (University of Georgia) for his
wonderful presentation on “Searching for and landing a job: How to get prepared for
academia” and Elizabeth Elle (Simon Fraser University), and Marc-André Lachance (University of Western Ontario) for participating on the discussion panel.

Organized by Nathalie Brodeur