Networking is more than just approaching someone whose career you admire and exchanging business cards. Establishing your network should start with your peers, or even trainees. They can serve as a support system as you navigate similar career stages, and they may even end up in an institution or company of interest to you in the future.
Rae Nishi, the chair of SfN’s Professional Development Committee, shares that overall the key to success is being nice and following up.
“The relationships that you form right now should be at the level of making friends with people, being nice, and being able to sustain those relationships.”
Watch this interactive panel from SfN’s annual meeting to learn more approaches to building professional relationships.
Rae Nishi, PhD
Rae Nishi is director of the neuroscience graduate program and a professor in the department of neurological science at the University of Vermont College of Medicine. She is also the director of the Neuroscience, Behavior, and Health Initiative at the University of Vermont. Nishi is interested in promoting outreach in neuroscience to K-12 students and the public. In 2011, she was elected a member of the Dana Alliance for the Brain Initiative, a program of the Dana Foundation.
Chiamaka Nwakeze is a joint graduate student at Columbia University and the NIH through the NIH MD/PhD Partnership Training program. Nwakeze's main research interests lie in the function and regulation of clustered protocadherins in the mammalian nervous system. She received her undergraduate degree in neurobiology from Harvard University and after graduate school will attend Harvard Medical School for her medical training.
Keven Laboy-Juárez, PhD
Keven Laboy is currently a postdoctoral fellow in the Ölveczky lab at Harvard University. He completed his PhD at the University of California, Berkeley and received his undergraduate degree in molecular cell biology and theoretical physics from the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras and now studies how neural circuits in the brain’s cortex process sensory information. His research has shown that neurons in somatosensory cortex (S1) provide extremely accurate representations of vibrotactile sequences and Braille-like patterns of tactile stimulation. In the future, he will use optical and genetic tools to establish how cortical circuits integrate motor and sensory information to support perception and flexible behavior.
Nicole Aponte Santiago
Nicole Aponte Santiago is a graduate student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her primary research interests lie on synaptic plasticity of the drosophila neuromuscular junction, focusing on how the 1b and 1s motorneurons that innervate the same muscle cooperate for the synaptic drive to the postsynaptic cell. Previously, she received her undergraduate degree in molecular biology from the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras.
Kelly LaRue Brackett, PhD
Kelly LaRue Brackett, PhD is a genomics education specialist at The Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Maine, where she designs and organizes courses and workshops in advanced topics for scientific researchers. She received her undergraduate degree in biochemistry and molecular biology from Dickinson College and her PhD in molecular biology from Princeton University. She studied the neurogenetic basis of fruit fly courtship song in the lab of Mala Murthy while also being deeply involved in science education and outreach.
Kevin S. Jones, PhD
Kevin Jones is an assistant professor in the department of pharmacology at the University of Michigan Medical School. His research interests include the neurophysiology and neuropharmacology of mental health disorders. His current work focuses on discovering new medicines for the treating of post-traumatic stress disorder, major depression, and schizophrenia. He is a member of SfN, and is the immediate past-president of the DC metro chapter of SfN. He currently serves as the chair of the Diversity in Neuroscience Sub-Committee of the SfN Professional Development Committee. Jones earned his PhD in neuropharmacology from Duke University.