Well-being in aquatic sciences: An early career initiative

Well-being in aquatic sciences: An early career initiative

This article originally appeared in Volume 31, Issue 1, February 2023 of the Limnology and Oceanography Bulletin (20 January 2023, https://doi.org/10.1002/lob.10543).  View the copyright permissions for lob.19543.

ASLO’s Early Career Committee (ECC) will launch in March 2023 a quarterly webinar series: “Voices for well-being in aquatic sciences”. The ECC is composed of 12 early-career researchers (ECRs) in aquatic sciences and recognizes the struggles many ECRs face in their scientific careers. The goal of this webinar series is to increase awareness and offer support through open conversations about the importance of self-care, and provide information on self-help tools and techniques that can be implemented in day-to-day life to improve and maintain positive health and well-being across all career stages in academia. This series will address common challenges such as advisor-early career researcher dynamics, imposter syndrome, productivity guilt, funding/financial instability, as well as those that manifest in situations specific to aquatic sciences, such as field campaigns (e.g., research cruises, remote expeditions, and underwater research) that promote close quarters and 24/7 interactions.

Through these interactive webinars we aim to encourage discussion around health and self-care in the aquatic science community across different cultures, career paths, and career stages. The webinars will include moderation by a well-being professional and discussions amongst panels and peers on different tools that can help handle the well-being challenges of academia. Since maintaining well-being is a continuous practice, we will outline and discuss techniques that can be used to improve well-being, so ECRs can effectively interact with others within both their professional and personal environments. In parallel, we will address means by which people in leading positions (e.g., directors, advisors) can recognize ECRs with well-being struggles. We encourage participants of the series to share their experiences and the practices they have implemented, to inspire and motivate fellow attendees to improve their well-being. We will provide ways to share such experiences anonymously.

This initiative will be launched with a special facilitated workshop on “The Imposter Syndrome” on Friday, March 31, 2023 from 2:00 – 3:30 pm EST. The workshop is free to attend, but interested participants must register here: https://www.aslo.org/early-career-workshop-march-2023/

We have highlighted some of the most pervasive factors influencing the well-being of ECRs in the article by Gushulak et al., 2023 in Limnology and Oceanography Bulletin. The article highlights the challenges ECRs face in regard to financial, professional, and personal stability while enduring the pressures (internal and external) that academia presents. The webinar series: “Voices for well-being in aquatic sciences” was inspired by this article and we invite feedback and suggestions for specific topics you would like to see addressed in the upcoming webinar series. Additionally, share with us if you are aware of well-being professionals and/or other resources that could help us customize these webinars to the needs of our community. Please contact us at [email protected] or fill out this anonymous survey to give feedback and suggestions.



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