By Eilea Knotts
A coffee corner is a great space for sharing personal stories, food, and drink to help us get to know one another and to build trust. It is a place to pick up bits and pieces of information that may informally provide the foundation to get things done later in our lives. These “corners” provide the perfect space to focus on the ideas and concepts that are rarely concentrated on but are important for creating a full and rich human experience.
With the ASLO Career Corner Virtual Issue, we are creating a virtual space where you can stop by, take a break from your grueling research world, and explore ASLO articles written to improve your knowledge and skills. Learning these skillsets, in turn, can strengthen and facilitate your career. The articles in this virtual issue span a variety of topics, from maintaining your mental health and negotiating your first salary to reviewing papers and building your professional network. In each piece, knowledgeable and sincere authors share experiences and expertise about critical steps in your professional progression. This online‐only issue can be viewed here.
Beyond the general skills of time management and preparing a professional development plan, this Virtual Issue provides articles that are useful to scientists at every stage in their career. Two of the articles focus on mental health in academia and the need to address work-life balances. For example, “Mental Health and Academia: Q&A with Dr. Andrea Bonior,” highlights the challenges of imposter syndrome, toxic labs, and post-tenure slumps, and provides suggestions on how to overcome these struggles. Beyond mental health, the article, “The Only Black Person in the Room,” passionately narrates the thoughts of an ASLO student board member and her experience representing her race and helping to push a major shift in ASLO’s diversity and inclusion.
This Virtual Issue goes on to feature articles focused on subjects that increase our “scientific tools” for professional growth. These are skills that span writing, researching, and overall organization and planning. The benefits gained through continued education and growth are indispensable when it comes to furthering your understanding of yourself and your career. For example, the article, “How to take a proactive approach on your next salary negotiation,” can be critical for your next job interview. And resources in, “How to Be a Better Scientist: Time Management,” provide a means to manage the demands on your time.
The Virtual Issue then focuses specifically on scientific communication and publishing. “Scientists and the Art of Critique: Why We Should Train Scientists like Artists,” describes how we should be learning to critique and accept critiques from fellow scientists when you present your work, especially in written form. Highlighted sources and guidance that improve your writing are found in articles such as, “How to Be a Better Scientist,” and “Simple rules for concise scientific writing.” And several of the articles in this Virtual Issue address how to navigate the publication process including, “Demystifying the Manuscript Rejection Letter,” “Six Simple Steps to Share Your Data When Publishing Research Articles,” and “Illuminating a Black Box of the Peer Review System: Demographics, Experiences, and Career Benefits of Associate Editors.”
With scientific writing and presenting comes networking. Our professional development Virtual Issue also profiles ASLO’s programs specifically designed to help cultivate engagement in the aquatic science community and to develop informed, motivated, experienced, and connected ASLO student and early-career researchers. “Support of Early‐Career Researchers Supports the Future of ASLO,” briefly describes the Ecological Dissertations in the Aquatic Sciences (Eco‐DAS) program while “Broadening Horizons: Graduate Students Participating in International Collaborations through the Limnology and Oceanography Research Exchange (LOREX) Program,” highlights training LOREX participants received at the Aquatic Sciences Meeting for international collaborations. While these programs were written with an objective tone, “Before, During, and After the Association for the Science of Limnology and Oceanography Multicultural Program,” and “How Editorial Fellowships at Society Journals Can Provide Opportunities for Early Career Researchers in Publishing: A Case Study of the Raelyn Cole Editorial Fellowship,” use first-person narration to express the benefits that were gained through exposure to the ASLOMP and Raelyn Cole Editorial Fellowship programs by its own members.
This Virtual Issue contains a variety of articles that use both passive and active voice to relay information on how to be a better scientist, how to be a better writer, and how to be a more active and engaged member of the aquatic science community. Use this career corner to further connect with the authors and their stories. You never know how this shared knowledge may impact your life.