SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY EDUCATION: Setting the course for successful careers

Jan. 5, 2009
A group of Ukrainian students, with assistance of the OSA, created a course, "A Practical Course for Young Scientists," to help young scientists plan their careers.

Spotlight on inspiring the next generation of scientists and business leaders

GRACE KLONOSKI

Not all the information young scientists need to launch their careers is taught in the laboratory or in technical classes. Advice on creating a CV, presentation skills, interviewing techniques, and applying for research funding is critically needed, but generally not included in degree programs.

Recently a group of students in Ukraine took the initiative and, with the assistance of an Activity Grant from the Optical Society of America (OSA), created "A Practical Course for Young Scientists." The students, members of the OSA Ivan Franko Lviv National UniversityStudent Chapter developed and presented a series of seven lectures taught by the Faculty of Electronics at the University.

"The course was designed to help young scientists in their future professional careers," said Rostyslav Bilyy, the chapter vice president. "It covers essential topics that are usually omitted during lectures and currently are not described in any course."

The course topics included:
• How and Where to Search for Scientific Data;
• How to Write an Article;
• How to Write a CV and Resume;
• How to Improve Scientific Presentations;
• What is your Scientific Idea and How Valuable Is it?
• How and When to Patent Your Invention; and
• How to Apply for Scientific Grants and be Successful.

The lectures began with the basics and covered the topics in depth. Course materials for "How to Write a CV and Resume," for example, explained that "a resume is a one-to-two-page brief summary of education and experience used to demonstrate qualifications for a position and type of position," while "a curriculum vitae (CV) is a three or more page detailed biographical statement emphasizing qualifications and professional activities in detail." Students were provided with examples and instructions, as well as with resources for additional information and follow up.

The course was advertised widely at the university via posters, bulletin boards, and in print and electronic announcements. It was open to all interested students. [Link to photos]

Bilyy reports that the course was a great success and also served as an effective advertisement for the newly-formed Student Chapter. He noted that the biggest challenge was finding a time slot that did not conflict with exams, vacations or scheduled classes. He hopes to expand the course and repeat it in a year or two with the aim of training a new generation of students.

Activity Grants are awarded to OSA Local Sections and Student Chapters in support of programs that increase membership, foster international activities, provide professional development opportunities, and, in general, support and publicize the optics community. In 2008, OSA funded 111 programs in 23 countries.

GRACE KLONOSKI is the senior director, Foundation, Membership & Education Services, for the Optical Society of America, 2010 Massachusetts Ave, NW, Washington, DC 20036; email: [email protected]; www.osa.org.

About OSA
Uniting more than 70,000 professionals from 134 countries, the Optical Society (OSA) brings together the global optics community through its programs and initiatives. Since 1916 OSA has worked to advance the common interests of the field, providing educational resources to the scientists, engineers and business leaders who work in the field by promoting the science of light and the advanced technologies made possible by optics and photonics. OSA publications, events, technical groups and programs foster optics knowledge and scientific collaboration among all those with an interest in optics and photonics. For more information, visit www.osa.org.

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