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Service and Strategy: The Value of Conference Committees and Public Engagement for Early Tenure-Track Faculty

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Course Description 
Opportunities to strengthen our professional track-record often arise during the early career stage, but it can be difficult to determine which opportunities will yield a high pay-off. For instance, the "three-pronged" evaluation criteria for tenure-track faculty requires accomplishments in research, teaching, and professional service. How to distribute one's activities is a critical decision because time and bandwidth are limited for early-stage faculty, in particular professionally vulnerable individuals such as underrepresented and marginalized faculty (women, racial/ethnic minorities, LGBTQIA, etc.). This talk will address a specific type of professional service activity, conference committee service, that has the potential to amplify one's professional service footprint and can open avenues for career advancement. Several early-career conference committee opportunities (since 2012) culminated into an opportunity for the speaker to launch their own conference, AfroBiotech (2019), which has helped to make science more equitable for other URM researchers.

This course is presented by SWE's Women in Academia Committee.

Learning Outcomes
By the end of this course, you should be able to:
  • Identify service opportunities that align with career goals
  • Recognize how to attain leadership positions in professional service
  • Recognize the value of networking before/during/after professional service

62 minutes

Karmella Haynes is an Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Emory University. She earned her Ph.D. studying epigenetics and chromatin in Drosophila at Washington University, St. Louis. Postdoctoral fellowships at Davidson College and Harvard Medical School introduced her to synthetic biology. Her research aims to apply the intrinsic properties of chromatin, the DNA-protein structure that packages eukaryotic genes, to engineer proteins that control cell development. As an assistant professor at ASU (2011 – 2018), she received an NIH Young Faculty Award (K01) and an Arizona Biomedical Early Stage Investigator Award (AZ ESI), and in 2018 she was Chair of the first national SEED conference to be held in Arizona. Dr. Haynes joined the faculty at Emory in 2018, received an NIH R21 grant (2019), and launched the NSF-funded AfroBiotech conference. She has served on the committees of several national conferences and serves as Judge Emeritus for an international undergraduate bioengineering competition (iGEM). Her work has been featured on PRI’s Science Friday, in Forbes, and she was a guest on PBS/ NOVA.