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SLAM: Science Leadership and Management


SLAM Fall Seminars are returning this fall, kicking off on September 14th with Professer Peter Alaimo speaking on teaching at an undergraduate institution. We have an exciting lineup of speakers this fall, so be excited. Fall seminars take place on Mondays at 5:30pm in Stanley Hall 106.

For workshop reminders and information about other SLAM events, click here to sign up for our mailing list!

What is SLAM?

Grad school is a great place to gain scientific expertise – but that's hardly the only thing you’ll need in your future as a PhD. Are you ready to lead a group? Manage your coworkers? Mentor budding scientists? To address the many interpersonal issues that arise in a scientific workplace, grad students from Chemistry, Physics, and MCB founded SLAM: Science Leadership and Management.

This is a seminar series focused on understanding the many interpersonal interactions critical for success in a scientific lab, as well as some practical aspects of lab management.  The target audience for this course is upper-level science graduate students with broad interests and backgrounds, and the skills discussed will be applicable to a variety of career paths. Postdocs are also welcome to attend.

SLAM is sponsored by QB3 and VSPA, with additional support from the Department of Chemistry and the LBNL Chemical Sciences Division.

For more information, please contact SLAM leadership at berkeley.slam@gmail.com.

Mondays, 5:30 - 6:30 pm, 106 Stanley Hall
(Optional Q&A: 6:30 - 7:00 pm, 106 Stanley Hall)

September 14: Teaching & Mentoring Undergraduate Students (copy of presentation slides)

How does being a GSI scale up to becoming a professor at an undergraduate institution? Join this discussion with Professor PJ Alaimo from Seattle University, where we’ll talk about teaching at the undergraduate level, managing research groups of undergraduate students, and strategies for keeping students engaged and motivated.

September 21: Making Opportunities in the Scientific Workplace

Dr. Jane Frommer is a senior researcher at IBM Almaden Research Center and holds a PhD in chemistry from Caltech. Join us for a discussion of her leadership and research experiences in industry, as well as the ways to create professional opportunities in the scientific workplace.

October 5: Management in Industry

Jeff Jacobs holds a Ph.D. from UC Berkeley and is the Senior Vice President of Technical Operations for Ardelyx, a company that develops small molecule therapeutics targeting gastrointestinal tract diseases. He will be discussing his role in managing the scientific operations of a company, as well as the various positions he has had throughout his career that have led him to this point.

October 12: Academic Administration: A Conversation with the Graduate Dean

At this seminar discussion, hear about leadership and management directly from Fiona Doyle, our Graduate Dean. We’ll be talking about the transition to academic administration and the skills necessary for taking on such a career.

October 19: Conflict Management

This seminar will delve into specific examples of conflict situations and discuss strategies for effective resolution. Dr. Doug Kalish is a career consultant focused on helping students transition from academia to the business world. He holds a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from Harvard University.

October 26: Holding Effective Meetings

How many completely useless meetings have you sat through in your life? In this seminar, Dr. Sarah Fisk will discuss how to identify the purpose and goals of a meeting, time allocation, and other strategies for making meetings more effective. Dr. Fisk is an organization development consultant at Community at Work and holds a PhD in Clinical Psychology from The Wright Institute.

November 2: Lecturing at a Research University

Dr. Pete Marsden is a lecturer in the College of Chemistry UC Berkeley, and holds a PhD in Chemistry from UC Berkeley.  He will be discussing his career as a lecturer at a top-tier research university, including topics related to his teaching philosophy and curriculum, student interaction, and considerations regarding his career track.

November 9: Working at the Intersection of Science and Policy

Dr. Doug Friedman is the Senior Program Officer for the Board on Chemical Sciences and Technology at the National Academy of Sciences and holds a PhD in Chemistry from Northwestern University. He will be discussing the organization of diverse stakeholders to produce reports, studies, and workshops on the latest technical advances in the chemical sciences for use by policymakers.

November 16: Starting a Research Group

Dr. Nicholas Ingolia is an associate professor in the Molecular & Cell Biology Department at UC Berkeley, and started his research lab in 2014. He will be sharing about his experiences as a new faculty and the leadership skills and challenges entailed in starting a new research lab.

November 23: Recruiting and Developing Diversity

Dr. Shaila Kotadia is the Education and Outreach Manager at SynBERC and will discuss how to recruit diverse individuals and ensure they are developing to their full potential. She holds a PhD in Genetics and Development at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas.

November 30: Hiring and Recruiting Scientists

In this seminar, Dr. Zach Serber will discuss his experiences founding a new biotechnology company, as well as strategies for hiring scientists and creating effective teams. Dr. Serber is a co-founder and Chief Science Officer at Zymergen, and holds a PhD in Biophysics from UCSF.

December 14: Managing Different Personality Types

A conversation with Prof. Susan Marqusee, Professor of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Structural Biology and Director of QB3, about management strategies for different personality types. Prof. Marqusee has an M.D. and Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Stanford University.

Resources for "Positive Feedback Mechanisms" workshop


Sloan, W. (2007) Feedback That Works: How to Build and Deliver Your Message. Center for Creative Leadership.

Kirkland, K. & Manoogian, S. (1998). Ongoing Feedback: How to Get It, How to Use It. Center for Creative Leadership.

Cognitive and emotional dynamics in feedback

Cannon, M. & Witherspoon, R. (2005). Actionable feedback: Unlocking the power of learning and performance improvement. Academy of Management Executive, 19(2), 120-134.

Interpersonal challenges and difficult conversations

Cartwright, T. (2003). Managing Conflict with Peers. Center for Creative Leadership.

Sharpe, D. & Johnson, E. (2007). Managing Conflict with Your Boss. Center for Creative Leadership.

Gallagher, R. (2009). How to tell anyone anything: Breakthrough techniques for handling difficult conversations at work. New York: AMACON.

Dealing with difficult people HBS Results-driven Manager Series

Cultural norms and work

Grove, C. &  Hollowell, W. (2002). The seven balancing acts of professional behavior in the United States. Focus Europa.http://www.grovewell.com/pub-usa-professional.html

Conflict and teams

Smith, D. (2008).  Divide or conquer: How great teams turn conflict into strength. New York: Penguin Press.

SLAM Organizers
Organizers (From Left to Right): Bob Bergman, Matt Kapelewski, Eva Nichols, Shion Lim, Sophie Arlow, Irene Cai, Rebecca Durr, Anna Harley-Trochimczyk


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