Why We Need More Internship Opportunities for Postdoc Researchers, with Dr. Shoba Subramanian – Ep #12

For too long, research and postdoc studies have been limited to an exclusively academic environment. It’s time for a change in the form of increased internship opportunities. Raising this important call in postdoc studies is Dr. Shoba Subramanian. 

Dr. Subramanian is the Director of Curriculum and Educational Initiatives at the University of Michigan Medical School. In her current role, she uses her scientific background for curriculum innovation and leads the career and professional development team in the office of graduate and postdoctoral studies. Shoba holds a PhD from Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) and completed her postdoctoral training at UCSF and also Carnegie Mellon during which time she had a productive research career in Molecular Biology, Genetics, Cell, and Microbiology. She holds a Master’s Degree in Molecular Biology and Bachelor’s degree in Microbiology from the University of Madras and the University of Mumbai.

Before joining Michigan, Shoba held multiple faculty and leadership roles at CMU, such as the Assistant Department Head for Graduate Affairs, Assistant Teaching Professor, Assistant Director of MS in Computational Biology at CMU and also the Undergraduate program at CMU-Qatar. She has advised and taught hundreds of BS, MS, and PhD trainees and guided them to successful internships and full-time positions. She has a strong record of teaching and education. She has developed and taught multiple courses and workshops and she is the recipient of two faculty fellowship awards for innovation in education.

What You’ll Hear On This Episode of When Science Speaks

  • [1:05] Mark introduces his guest, Dr. Shoba Subramanian.
  • [3:00] Dr. Subramanian talks about what she expects from her students.
  • [8:00] How students can hone their networking abilities.
  • [12:45] Dr. Subramanian opens up about the challenge of moving to the US.
  • [18:45] Why we need more hands-on educational opportunities outside of the classroom.
  • [25:20] How educators can support and actively engage postdoc researchers.
  • [31:15] Closing thoughts from Mark.

Connect with Dr. Shoba Subramanian

Resources & People Mentioned

Building students up.

When you were in school did you ever connect with an educator in a way that made you feel that they were rooting for your success? Support and encouragement from educators can go a long way in building students up as they advance in their academic careers. Thankfully, educators like Dr. Subramanian are stepping up to engage and equip the next generation of our nation’s workforce.

Shoba has a wonderful perspective when it comes to the growth and development of her students. She sees her role, not as a passive bystander but as an active and engaged participant. It is almost as if the success of her students equates to her sense of accomplishment as an educator and professional. Imagine if the academic community had more passionate faculty members like Dr. Subramanian who believe in their students and find ways to encourage and equip them every step of the way.

Increased internship opportunities will lead to innovation.

Beyond an educator or mentor that helped pave the way for them, many successful STEM professionals can also point to that first real-world career opportunity they received. Unfortunately, these opportunities are hard to come by and for some students can take quite a long time to secure. What if there was a way to get postdoc researchers the internship opportunities they need that showcases the innovation they bring to the table?

Hard at work on this critical endeavor is Dr. Shoba Subramanian. As a faculty leader, Shoba has directly advised over 200 students and wants to see more opportunities open up. There are many researchers who are chomping at the bit for someone to give them a shot so they can get the real-world experience they need to succeed. While some disciplines have a great track when it comes to internships, many are still lacking. Dr. Subramanian is not alone in her efforts to highlight the need for increased internship opportunities; the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine released two reports over the summer of 2018; on this same topic.

To hear Dr. Subramanian expand on this crucial issue, make sure to catch her full conversation with Mark on this engaging episode of When Science Speaks.

Connect With Mark and When Science Speaks

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