From ASIP Trainee to ASIP Core Member
Dr. Tara Sander became a trainee member of the ASIP in 2002 and was elected Chair of the Committee for Career Development, Women and Minorities (CCDWM) in 2009. In that span of eight years, she made her presence known and truly established herself as a core component of our Society. She was a member of the CCDWM from 2002-2005 and Co-Chair from 2005-2009. As the current Elected Chair of CCDWM she also serves on the ASIP Council and ASIP Finance Committee. She is also an active member of the Membership Committee and has served on both the Long Range Planning (2006-2007) and Program (2007-2010) Committees.
The impact Dr. Sander has made on the ASIP is difficult to quantify; however, it is undeniable that her contributions have made our Society better. We asked Dr. Sander how she became such a vital part of our Society and for advice for those of us just beginning to make our marks in science and in our professional societies.
How did you first become a member of one of ASIP’s Committees? Networking and mentorship! I was attending the ASIP business meeting and awards reception at EB02 in New Orleans. During the reception, my postdoc advisor, Tucker Collins, introduced me to the chair of the Committee for Career Development, Women and Minorities (CCDWM), Nancy Thompson. Nancy invited me to attend their CCDWM meeting the next day and then asked me to be a member of the committee. The rest is history!
What advice do you have for trainees that want to get involved? I strongly encourage trainees to submit abstracts for presentation and attend conferences that pertain to their field of interest. At the conference, network with leaders in the society (members of council, chairs of committees, co-chairs of programs) and talk to them about your interest in getting involved. It may be uncomfortable at times, but don’t be afraid to network with people you don’t know and participate in things you initially don’t understand.
How would you recommend a trainee member get involved initially? I would highly recommend that trainees apply for trainee awards and embrace leadership opportunities within the society, such as serving as a trainee member on a committee, volunteering for the trainee newsletter, or participating in a special interest group (SIG). All of these initiatives will gain visibility in ASIP and open doors to other opportunities.
What benefits have come from your experiences on these Committees? The benefits have been remarkable. I have learned valuable leadership, networking, and professional skills. I have also found excellent mentors, identified collaborators, met outstanding colleagues and friends, and received life-changing career advice.
More specifically, has your network proven valuable for job and career advice/opportunities? Absolutely! ASIP members offer a wealth of knowledge and experience and my network within the society has proven most valuable when making a career transition. My first faculty position can be attributed in part to an email sent to ASIP member Kirk Pritchard, inquiring about available positions in his department. My second career transition started with a conversation with fellow program committee member, Dani Zander, where she encouraged me to look into the field of molecular diagnostics. ASIP executive officer, Mark Sobel, then provided me with career advice and names of other ASIP members in the field who provided critical guidance toward making my transition a success.