As one of few SIGs united not by a research topic but by a shared training status, the Student SIG has spent the year working to identify and then enact initiatives to support the training and mentorship of our members. The first step in this process was identification of student needs, accomplished by reviewing the 2016-2017 Student SIG’s post-conference survey. As a result of this review process, we identified several student priorities (learning about nontraditional career options, networking with relevant program leaders), and barriers to participation in SBM’s Annual Meeting & Scientific Sessions (primarily geographical and/or financial).
The year’s planning and events followed from this identification of needs. For example, our Student SIG board began by reviewing our existing sponsored awards, moving to increase support for first-time student attendees to the conference in order to broaden access to educational and networking opportunities. In addition, in collaboration with the Physical Activity SIG, Obesity and Eating Disorders SIG, Cancer SIG, and Education, Training and Career Development Council, we piloted a series of mentorship-related webinars, beginning with our February 8th Graduate School Basics: Managing Time, Money, Projects, and Professional Relationships. We hope that these initiatives will remove barriers to participation in two ways: by increasing the number of students able to attend the Annual Meeting and by providing additional programming for those who remain unable to do so. Recordings of these webinars can be found on SBM’s website here.
Finally, for those students who do plan to travel to New Orleans for the 2018 Annual Meeting, we will be offering and co-sponsoring many exciting mentorship-related events for students. These events begin with a clinical psychology internship meet and greet on Thursday morning (10:45-11:45am, Salon 4), which will allow potential interns and post-docs to network with representatives from clinical sites who place an emphasis on behavioral health. In addition, post-doctoral students thinking ahead may enjoy an afternoon panel on transitioning from post-doc to early career positions (12:45-1:45pm, Salon 10). On Friday, the SBM ’18 student attendee has a myriad of options, beginning with a breakfast workshop for perfecting your “elevator speech,” (7:00-7:50am, Ballroom B) and also including afternoon sessions such as panels on grad school basics (12:45-1:45pm, Salon 21/24) and careers in cardiovascular behavioral medicine (12:45-1:45pm, Salon 12), as well as a speed-dating style event for learning about non-traditional careers (10:45-11:45am, Marlborough).
In summary, the Student SIG board continues to strive to improve SBM’s student programming. In that vein, all SBM members, particularly members of the Student SIG, should free to email our board members with feedback and suggestions for future programming. Furthermore, we encourage any students who attend the annual meeting to complete the post-conference survey in order to ensure next year’s student programming will continue to be tailored to student needs and preferences. Cheers to 2018, and we look forward to meeting many of you in New Orleans!