JSA Promising Young Scientist

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The Jefferson Science Associates Promising Young Scientist program has two primary goals:

  • To support junior nuclear physicists in preparing for a highly competitive academic job market.
  • To promote the effective dissemination of exciting new developments in nuclear physics.

To achieve these goals, the JSA Promising Young Scientist program invites some of the best and brightest post-doctoral researchers affiliated with Jefferson Lab to meet with the faculty and present a colloquium at one of the participating host institutions. We assist the candidates in crafting an accessible colloquium talk and collect constructive criticism from the audience. Ultimately, this will provide the candidate with valuable experience when competing for permanent positions. Read the news story about selected candidates from last year JLab Spotlight

Overview

The colloquium plays a central role in ensuring that the developments of nuclear physics are shared with the larger research community and the general public. It is the primary means that we have to communicate our science with our non-nuclear colleagues. Effective colloquia can convey the excitement of new results, increase the odds of recruiting top-caliber students to the field and ensure that the public has a clear understanding of what is being accomplished with research funding. Unfortunately, many researchers fail to craft accessible colloquia, and quickly alienate general audiences by presenting talks more akin to high-level seminars for specialists.

The JSA Promising Young Scientist program assists junior nuclear physicists in crafting accessible colloquium-level talks. This will have the immediate benefit of increasing the candidate's chances of securing permanent employment, due to the central role the colloquium plays in most hiring processes, and the long term benefit of improving the nuclear community's ability to communicate our exciting physics to the general public.

Select candidates are chosen on the strength of their application to be invited to a sponsor institution, where they meet for one on one interviews with faculty and administration. Visits culminate in the presentation of a colloquium-level talk to a general audience including non-specialists, graduate students and undergraduates. The speaker is required to craft a talk which will be accessible to this broad audience and is provided guidance in this task. Depending on the candidate's career goal and target employment institution, the candidate may also deliver either a more detailed seminar for specialists or a teaching demonstration on a topic of their choice.

Audience members are provided with an anonymous questionnaire with which to provide positive criticism of the colloquium. At the conclusion of the visit, the candidate is provided with an aggregated summary of the audience response along with written comments from the individual meetings. This feedback will provide guidance on which aspects of their presentations and interviews went well, and which elements should be improved. Ultimately, this process will provide the candidate with an advantage when competing for permanent positions, and help the candidate to develop effective communication of nuclear physics to general audiences.

Application

Eligibility

This program is open to all Jefferson Lab-affiliated postdoctoral researchers. This includes postdoctoral researchers in theoretical and experimental physics, as well as fields other than physics such as engineering or materials science.

How to apply

To apply for consideration, please send materials to rakithab@latech.edu by 5pm on Friday May 31, 2019. Application review will begin at that time.

  • A cover letter discussing why you should be considered for support from the JSA Promising Young Scientist program. This should include the number of years you have worked as postdoctoral research, whether you are primarily interested in applying to a teaching or research institution, and whether you have a preference for a particular host institution in this program.
  • A curriculum vitae (including a list of publications)
  • A research statement (max: 2 pages)
  • A teaching statement (max: 1 pages)
  • The title and abstract of the proposed colloquium

Applications will be selected on basis of the quality of the submitted material.

Additional resources

To avoid some common mistakes in your application materials and in your colloquium talk, see the JSA Promising Young Scientist Resources.

Participating host institutions

  • Christopher Newport University (Ed Brash)
  • College of William & Mary (Wouter Deconinck)
  • Idaho State University (Dustin McNulty)
  • University of Manitoba (Juliette Mammei)
  • Louisiana Tech University (Rakitha Beminiwattha)
  • Mississippi State University (Dipangkar Dutta)
  • University of New Hampshire (Karl Slifer)
  • Virginia Union University (Narbe Kalantarians)

Acknowledgements

This project is supported by the JSA Initiatives Fund Program, a commitment from the JSA owners, SURA and PAE Applied Technologies. Initiatives Funds support programs, initiatives, and activities that further the scientific outreach, promote the science, education, and technology of the Jefferson Lab and benefit the Lab’s extended user community in ways that complement the Lab’s basic and applied research missions.