Date of this Version
CSWP & COM Gazette, 31(2), 10-11.
In late March it was my privilege and pleasure to attend the American Physical Society Professional Skills Development Workshops for Women Physicists. The workshop was sponsored by the National Science Foundation, and scholarships were available to offset the cost of attendance. Throughout the workshop we were challenged to improve our skills in negotiation, communication, and leadership, but more importantly, we forged relationships that will benefit each other for years to come. Attendees of the workshop came from a variety of professional backgrounds ranging from grant-funded freelancers to post-doctoral researchers or associates at major laboratories, and educators from community colleges and universities, and in my case, a tenure-track physics librarian with a heavy science background. This diversity of viewpoints was one of the greatest strengths of the workshops. None of the participants knew each other before the workshops began. By bringing together individuals who were not intimately familiar with each other, participants were able to be more open when sharing their strengths, weaknesses, advice, and problems without fear of retribution. In addition, when problems were shared, it was often the individuals who were on a different career path who were able to examine the facts and provide unique and effective solutions.