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"It was life-changing for me." Three Yale faculty share how ISFS supported them in their career paths

April 27, 2023
by Jasree Peralta

The Intersections Science Fellows Symposium (ISFS) is a multi-institutional symposium organized to showcase the outstanding research contributions of postdocs in the biological sciences, including those from backgrounds historically underrepresented in academia, and to support the scientific and professional development of the next generation of academic faculty. ISFS is structurally organized as a postdoc-driven, faculty-supported and -advised multi-institutional initiative.

With 56 fellows over two cohorts, 64% identified as minoritized individuals, and 60% identified as women. 43 went on to become faculty, four in industry and private sector positions, and nine are currently on the job market, signifying an over 75% faculty placement.

In this article, three ISFS fellows share how ISFS supported them in achieving their Yale faculty positions.

Trevor Sorrells, PhD
Assistant Professor in the Department of Genetics, Yale University

ISFS was instrumental in achieving my Yale faculty position. The symposium connected me with several search committees with which I received interviews including my eventual home in the Yale Genetics Department.

It also provided helpful advice for many steps of the job search and a support group that was encouraging during a very stressful process.

ISFS is useful for people who are actively seeking out faculty positions and also for those who plan to apply in subsequent years. The program is a great way to connect with people outside your institution and area of expertise.

Cristina Rodríguez, PhD
Assistant Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Yale University

Participating at the ISFS symposium allowed me to showcase my research to a very large audience (including the Yale community!), build my confidence, and broaden my network.

The ISFS also provided a supportive network of peers and mentors that helped me navigate the interview and negotiating process as well as the first months of being a faculty. Achieving my faculty position at Yale was in no small way a result of the incredible support I received by the ISFS community during this process.

I would recommend to anyone on the fence to join ISFS. Being an ISFS fellow was life changing to me. I was not convinced about applying for faculty positions, and thus I was doubting applying to the ISFS symposium. I could not be any happier I ended up applying and participating at such a wonderful symposium. The process of looking for faculty positions, applying, and interviewing can be a highly stressful and lonely journey. Having a supportive community of peers and mentors around while navigating this process is fundamental.

Stephania Libreros, PhD
Assistant Professor in the Department of Pathology and Vascular Biology and Therapeutics Program, Yale University

The ISFS has been an essential support system during my national search for a faculty appointment. The ISFS provided the necessary resources during every stage of the faculty search process by providing the following:

Faculty Mentorship: As a fellow, I was paired with two faculty members, Dr. Wendy V Gilbert, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry at Yale School of Medicine and Dr. David Dominguez-Sola MD Ph.D. Associate Professor of Pathology, Molecular and Cell-Based Medicine at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Both faculty mentors were instrumental during the preparation for faculty interviews by providing constructive feedback on my presentation and chalk talk and advice during the negotiation process. I continue to be in contact and received mentorship from of these mentors.

Peer mentorship and peer support group: The faculty search can be one of the most stressful and overwhelming times during our academic career. ISFS provided the time and space for fellows to connect and create a community of support. I’m incredibly fortunate to have connected and received support from ISFS fellows: Trevor Sorrells Ph.D., Michael Piacentino Ph.D., and Christina M Termini Ph.D. The ISFS also provided a sense of belonging to every fellow and participant by highlighting diversity, equality, and inclusion across the biomedical research enterprise.

Career Development Workshops: Every month, the ISFS hosted a series of workshops dedicated to every aspect of the faculty search, including how to prepare for a chalk talk, negotiate your lab startup, grant funding opportunities for junior faculty, and managing lab budgets. These workshops provided me with tools and knowledge at every step of the search process. Importantly, it also gave me the confidence to continue and to face challenges during the decision process.

The ISFS provides an exceptional career development opportunity to connect with a welcoming, diverse community of scientists nationwide and to obtain mentorship from faculty familiar with faculty search progress. It also provides an excellent platform to highlight your scientific accomplishment, future research program, diversity and equality initiatives. The ISFS facilitates interactions between fellows and chairs of search committees, hosts faculty-guided workshops, and fosters peer-mentoring support. These are all essential elements in career development and play a fundamental role in securing a faculty appointment. ISFS gives you the necessary tools to prepare for the faculty job of your dreams! Going on the faculty job market, it’s quite a journey, and the ISFS community has been instrumental in mine! I encourage everyone to apply!


ISFS accepts applications from post-doctoral scientists (or equivalent non-tenure track title) who:

Are preparing to enter the U.S. academic faculty job-market this year or the next
Are currently in a U.S. lab (no citizenship requirement)
Have published (peer-reviewed) or near-published (e.g., preprint) work in the basic or translational biological or biomedical fields

Have contributed significant advances to scientific discovery
Be a current post-doctoral scientist (or equivalent non-tenure track title) who is preparing to apply to a faculty position in the U.S. within the next 1- 2 years.

Postdocs from historically minoritized and/or disadvantaged backgrounds in academia are especially encouraged to apply.


Intersections Science Fellows Symposium

Intersecting science and diversity to support future leaders in the life sciences


Submitted by Jasree Peralta on April 25, 2023