What can you be with a science degree?: thanks and farewell Liz Silva

Liz Silva (@lizatucsf) joined RealScientists for a week towards the end of February. Having trained as a geneticist, Liz came to her current role managing a career exploration program at UCSF via a position as senior editor of the open access journal PLOS ONE. Liz sparked an enormous amount of discussion relating to PhD study, and traditional and non-traditional academic careers.

Liz had many sage words and pieces of practical advice to offer those thinking about career options outside academia.

Liz emphasises career exploration, and finding out about yourself in order to find out about what career might suit you.

Thanks to Liz, the career expectations and experiences of all kinds of scientists flooded in, revealing the vast array of jobs and pathways that can result from training in the sciences. Liz kindly completed our post-curation survey and her responses are below.

In general terms, how did you find your week as a curator?

It was a lot of fun, but a bit more tiring than I anticipated. Nearly all the interactions were productive and interesting. I learned from many people who engaged in conversation and learned a lot.

It can be a shock talking to so many. Did you find the sudden rush of interactions (good and bad) daunting?

The interactions were mostly really positive. Since my area of discussion was really for those considering grad school, in grad school or finished grad school, I suspect the size of my audience was smaller than others on RS.

What were the highlights? Were there any lowlights?

Simultaneous highlight and lowlight – those who shared personal experiences as an underrepresented minority and/or someone struggling with ongoing mental health issues in academia, and just how marginalizing this can be.

Is there anything you wanted to get out of / do on the RS account that you didn’t manage to fit in?


Did you have a plan? If so, did you stick to it?

I had a loose plan. I had assembled a series of topics and pre-crafted some tweets to help save time, but didn’t have a strict plan for these.

Do you have any tips or advice for future RS curators?

Be sure you choose a week that isn’t particularly busy for you in other ways. Tweeting took a lot of time.


Thanks once again Liz from all of us here at RealScientists HQ. If you missed anything from her week, the tweets are all collated at the following link.


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