This last article in the series focuses on formal and informal network opportunities available at the SOT Annual Meeting. Perhaps you will now find the networking process less intimidating by breaking it down into a few simple steps. If you have questions about networking or SOT, the Graduate School Leadership Committee (GSLC) is always available to help.
Other Networking Opportunities at SOT
Chat with an Expert: Chat with an Expert (CWAE) is an event hosted by the GSLC ever year at the SOT Annual Meeting. In this event, a volunteer expert from industry, academia, or government meets with a small group of trainees (no more than four) or with an individual trainee for an informal discussion. This discussion may be held over coffee or snacks during an agreed time during the Annual Meeting. The volunteers are all genuinely interested in helping trainees by sharing their own experiences in the toxicology discipline, the career paths they have taken, and answering any questions you might have about their field.
Look for an email from the GSLC announcing that registration is open for participating in the CWAE program—typically about two months prior to the Annual Meeting. During registration, you will be asked to select and rank expert codes based on your own interest in their field of work and whether you would be able to meet at the pre-selected meeting times. As the Annual Meeting approaches, you will be sent the contact information of the expert selected for you based on your expert preference ranking and availability to meet with the expert. From there, you can further discuss a meeting time and location with your expert. One of the most popular locations to meet up with your expert is at the “Chat with an Expert” poster.
The “Chat with an Expert” poster is another way to sign up to participate during the graduate mixer at the Annual Meeting. The poster provides a list of experts, their field, times they are available to meet with trainees, and trainee slots. Any trainee can sign up on the poster to meet with the listed expert. You can participate in this even if you did not register for the CWAE event prior to the meeting. It’s a great way to participate in CWAE if you were hesitant to sign up prior to the Annual Meeting because of uncertainty about your meeting schedule.
Mentoring Breakfast: This event is designed for SOT members at any career stage—from trainees to senior professionals—who are seeking a mentor. In this event, participants meet in small groups with trained facilitators whose goal is to determine each individual’s wants and needs in a mentor. They then use their own network of contacts to connect participants with an appropriate mentor after the Annual Meeting has concluded. Registration for this event is limited and is on a first-come, first served basis. Early-bird registration for the Annual Meeting including the Mentoring Breakfast event is now open and ends on January 11, 2019.
Reception/Mentoring Events: There are a plethora of Regional Chapters, Special Interest Groups, and Specialty Sections that host mentoring events and receptions at the SOT Annual Meeting. Most of them do not require membership to attend and they provide an informal, networking-driven atmosphere to find informative professionals. Some more specific networking focused events may need prior registration to participate. Information regarding these events can be found in the SOT Mobile Event App and online Program as well as in the GSLC graduate student E-letter sent out prior to the meeting.
Exhibits: In the SOT ToxExpo, booths are set up by contract research organizations (CROs), pharmaceutical companies, government agencies, consulting firms, assay manufacturers, etc. These booths are typically staffed by scientist employees who are willing to discuss their professional experience, what their company does, and potential job opportunities at their firms. Some companies may hold private receptions during the Annual Meeting, which is a good opportunity to meet other employees and get to know what they do a bit better.