Uncomfortable in networking situations? New videos from OCPD intern, Jaysón Davidson, can help!

Jaysón Davidson standing in front of network sculpture made from electrical conduit and lightbulbsJaysón Davidson, a PhD candidate in Pharmaceutical Sciences and Pharmacogenomics, and a member of the Career and Professional Development Leadership Program at the Office of Career and Professional Development (OCPD), has created a series of short videos designed to empower UCSF students and postdoctoral scholars to network with confidence.

Davidson describes how his work around networking arose by saying “…students expressed their concern with networking at conferences, science workshops, and on campus. I wanted to find a way to help ease the uncomfortability that students have with networking.”

This video series builds on earlier work by Davidson, including an in-person networking event which provided hands-on networking training for students and postdocs before bringing them together with a group of alumni interested in networking. This event was co-sponsored by Black Excellence in STEM (BE-STEM), Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS UCSF Chapter), and Graduate and Postdoctoral Queer Alliance (GPQA).

Naledi Saul, MPM, director of The Office of Career and Professional Development, who worked directly with Davidson on the in-person networking event, summed up his work at OCPD by saying “Jaysón’s project exemplifies one of our office’s core values: using our platform to elevate students’ and postdocs’ own voices in career and professional development initiatives. He identified a need for networking resources that treat discomfort as a normal byproduct of navigating conversations with people who may be very different from you. I enjoyed collaborating with Jaysón to develop practical tips for students and postdocs facing such scenarios, and Jaysón has done a beautiful job of bringing those tips to life in these videos.”

Davidson’s networking related projects are a part of the Career and Professional Development Leadership Program, a wider initiative at OCPD designed to engage current UCSF students and postdoctoral scholars in the creation of career and professional development programs and resources while providing real-world work experience. Linda Louie, PhD, assistant director, helped design this program and launch the initial cohort of Career and Professional Development Leadership Program participants. In describing the program Louie says: “We believe that it’s essential to co-create our programs and services with the students and postdocs we aim to serve, which is why we developed our Career and Professional Development Leadership Program in 2022.”

In describing Davidson’s networking related projects Louie said “Jaysón is a perfect example: as an award-winning communicator and campus leader, he is an ideal peer mentor for any UCSF student or postdoc looking to develop their networking skills. He’s mastered those skills himself, and these videos come from his experience of what the challenges are, and how to overcome them.”

As 2023 draws to a close the OCPD team is looking ahead to more exciting projects from the Career and Professional Development Leadership Program. As Louie puts it, “We’re just getting started with our internship program, and are so excited to offer more student- and postdoc-led resources in the future.”

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