Students, trainees, and professionals met on Feb. 24 for the Graduate Student Association’s (GSA) Speed Networking event at Little Woodrow’s.
“The speed networking event was held to bring together a diverse population united by their career paths in health science and to give them the opportunity to interact with those at different stages in their career, in different specialties, from different specialties, from different schools,” said Elizabeth Fucich, president of GSA. “There are no other school-wide events for trainees at all levels to really meet and discuss their work.”
The event was set up with “speed rounds” allowing each person to talk about their background, school, work for a maximum of five minutes before moving onto the next person.
“It was a great opportunity for graduate students to practice their elevator speech so that they learn to quickly summarize their work and interests when first meeting someone,” Fucich said. “Events like this are useful in providing students face time with everyone in attendance, many of
whom they would normally not have the chance to meet.”
Iriscilla Ayala, a graduate student in the Cellular and Structural Biology program, said that the enjoyed the format of the event.
“Usually it’s hard to connect with people to ask hey, who are you in a quick way,” Ayala said. “The fact that it was a speed networking event made it easy to get to the nitty gritty of who are you, what are you learning, and what are your plans.”
She also explained that she liked that the event was off campus.
“It was nice having it at the bar instead of on campus because it was a relaxing atmosphere to get to know people. It had the illusion of being off the clock because it was a different environment. If it was on campus, I would have felt that I would have to go back to the lab because it’s around the corner,” Ayala said.
Kristen Malloy, a first year graduate student in the Medical Physics program, said that the event was good for her to people from the various schools and departments on campus.
“I come from a very small program at UT Health Science Center, so I don’t get very many opportunities to meet other students and postdocs. My main hope for the event was to connect with and get to know other people here, both socially professionally,” Malloy said. “It was also great to find out about what kinds of research people in other departments were involved in.”
Malloy also explained that networking events are especially important for graduate students.
“As graduate students, we will eventually be moving on to other places as we continue our careers. I’m sure that many of my fellow graduate students will go on to post-doc positions or become leaders in the biomedical industry,” Malloy said. “These are people that I want to keep in my
network so that we can stay in touch and help each other as we progress in our respective careers.”