Advice from a Postdoc: Take Advantage of Mentoring Opportunities with the PlantingScience Online Program

One aspect of my research training and career development that I am very passionate about is the opportunity to mentor students. As such, I am always looking for opportunities to get involved with students at earlier stages in their education. So when I discovered, an online mentoring resource which was advertised on the American … Read more

Four ways you can help the plant science community

We are currently recruiting volunteers to help with several career-related activities. 1. In-Person Career Chats at Plant Biology 2015 This year we will also be hosting informal career conversations in the Career Center — Q&A style.  There will be five sessions throughout the meeting, each centered on a different career path that could include any of the following … Read more

Where will a career in plant science take you? Participate in the survey.

From “what do you want to be when you grow up?” to “academia, industry, or something else?” we’ve been asking and answering questions about our careers throughout our entire life. The question “what’s next?” can provoke all sorts of responses and it’s something PhDs and postdocs often aren’t encouraged to explore when the answer isn’t … Read more

From SURF to Turf

Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship launches a research career spanning from aquatic algae to organic agriculture Fledgling Research As an undergraduate majoring in Biology at the University of Maryland, I was excited to explore the research opportunities that my school had to offer. My grandfather had taught as a plant physiology professor at Loyola University Maryland, … Read more


作者:玛丽·威廉姆斯 (Mary Williams)和 顾方为 (Fangwei Gu) This article is also posted in English (link). [玛丽]        对于那些想要开拓眼界,并提高自己英语水平的植物学家来说,美国依然是他们的一个主要目的地。但通过移民系统前往美国的道路却注定不会轻松。顾方为是美国密歇根大学的一名博士生,他愿意向我们分享被美国大学录取的经验。本篇日志将以中英文双语的形式发布 (link)。 [方为] 有多少在美国实验室中工作的植物学家出生在美国之外?如果你翻阅美国植物生物学家协会2014年年会的名册,你会发现许多来自中国,印度,日本,韩国,德国等国家的研究生和博士后。   我是他们中的一员。诚然与20多年前相比,来自海外的科学家有更多的机会前往美国,但我们依然需要花上几年的努力来抓住这样的机会。我从2007年开始准备出国留学,并在2009年获得了博士的录取通知书。对于那些母语并非英语的学生来说,他们必须参加托福 (TOEFL )考试。此外,为了满足申请的条件,他们还需要提供 GRE 的成绩单。在我申请的时候,中国大陆每年只有两次参加GRE考试的机会。这个数字在2014年已经提高到了30次,但为了确保考位,学生们依旧需要提早注册。   在等待托福和GRE考试成绩时,我开始在网上寻找想要申请的研究生项目。我想要从事植物发育方向的研究,所以我翻出了美国新闻网的《大学排名》(,依次打开这些大学的生物系页面,并用“植物发育”作为关键词进行搜索。我列出了那些我想要加入的课题组的名字,并向相关教授询问,他们是否有招收研究生的意愿与资金。最终我定下了我想要申请的7所大学(一般候选大学名单会在10-20不等)。   当我有了选校名单和考试成绩后,我就开始了正式的申请。部分的申请工作是在网上进行的。我需要上传我的简历,我的个人陈述(回答为什么选择这所学校之类的问题),我的三名推荐人的联系方式,以及托福和GRE的成绩。之后我需要将我的本科成绩单,学位证书的复印件以及其他必须的材料一起寄往这些大学。   但这些只是个开头。这一切努力的目的仅仅在于让你在众多申请者中脱颖而出,并获得一个面试的机会。在美国本土的学生能够亲自访问学校并参加面试,但对我们这些国际学生来说,面试则一般用电话或者Skype进行。我很幸运地能够在北京与两名教授进行面对面的面试。他们在中国一共面试了将近50名学生,只有我和其他的5名学生最终被录取。   被录取的学生将在面试的几周或者几个月后收到录取通知和I-20(给学生的移民材料)。对许多国际学生来说,为了进入美国,他们需要有F1类型的签证。获得签证的过程比申请学校要来得简单,但依旧非常麻烦。你能从SEVIS的网站上(Student and Exchange Visitor Information System)得到更多相关的信息。F1签证的申请者需要在线填写一份DS-160表,并联系当地的美国大使馆或领事馆来预约面签。在面签的过程中,面试官会询问申请者一系列关于专业与未来学习计划的问题。由于F1是非移民签证的一种,如果申请者流露出任何毕业后想要留在美国的意图,那么他/她的申请就有可能被拒绝。通过面试后,签证签发的时间可长可短,我当时等了5周。   博士后赴美的过程与研究生有着些许不同。他们直接受雇于实验室的负责人,而并非被院系录取。因此他们并不需要准备院系的申请材料,也无需参加托福和GRE考试。为了得到博士后的职位,申请者往往需要直接与潜在的导师联系,并附上自己的简历和研究计划。导师会通过电话或Skype与候选人们进行面试,而这也是测试申请者英语能力的场合。通过面试的申请者会收到聘书。为了进入并合法地留在美国工作,博士后需要J1(,或参阅或H1B类(签证。大家可以从全美博士后协会的网站上(得到更多关于这两种签证的信息。   如果你经历了以上的这些步骤,那么恭喜了,欢迎来到美国!   其他的事实: 一名学生每年的学费和生活费大约在5万美元左右。如果一名学生没有从大学处得到资助,那么他/她需要提供财产证明(一般是银行对帐单)来证实他/她能够承担这些费用。但我们也要知道,2012年中国家庭的平均年收入是2100美元(。   托福考试,GRE考试和签证申请的费用都在100-150美元不等。   国际学生的申请费(平均在70美金)往往比美国本土学生的申请费要贵,而申请的截止日期也更早。   [玛丽] 顾方为 目前在埃里克·尼尔森(Erik … Read more

Plant Biology 2014—Meet the Funders: USDA‐NIFA, USDA‐ARS, DOE and NSF workshop

Last but not least, as a very active member of the iConnect team, I went to the workshop regarding the funding opportunities available from three of the most important federal agencies in the United States: USDA (United States Department of Agriculture), DOE (Department of Energy) and NSF (National Science Foundation). It was very popular, as … Read more

Next Generation Sequencing: Opportunities and Resources

As part of the iConnect team, I had the good fortune to go to several workshops during the conference Plant Biology 2014 organized by the American Society of Plant Biologists.   ASPB offers a diverse set of venues to acquire new skills and improve our careers by encouraging networking and initiation of collaborations. This year, … Read more

#plantbiology14 Wrap Up

I didn’t get much of a chance to sit down and write a post for the last two days of the conference. The schedule called for a party at the end of day 4 and a half-day day 5 that I’ll talk about here as well as my own take-aways from the conference.  Day 4 … Read more

The “Flipped” Classroom Teaching Strategy

A key benefit of being a member of ASPB, at least for me, is that we have access to several activities to enhance career skills. One of my favorites is the Education Committee workshop. I’ve had the privilege to attend several by now. As a result, my teaching tools box has improved a lot and … Read more

#plantbiology14 Day Three

Today was a day for personal connections and actually getting an opportunity to see some science talks. The day began with the second in  series of sessions on the challenges of feeding 9 Billion people, with a focus on not just feeding, but nourishing them successfully. David Jenkins, Alan De Brauw, and Ricardo Uauy all … Read more

The Mentoring Relationship—A Two-Way Street

The Minority Affairs Committee luncheon began with an informal lunchtime discussion between faculty and students. As suggested by attendees of a previous year’s luncheon, the setup involved assigning several faculty to each table and allowing students and post-docs to fill the remaining seats. The room was abuzz with discussion for the first portion of the … Read more

#plantbiology14 Day One

I am writing this at quarter past midnight on day one of the #plantbiology14 American Society of Plant Biologists annual meeting and am trying to blog each day about my experiences/ perspective. Just know that this was written quickly because I need sleep for day 2!  I arrived what I thought was early this morning … Read more

Plant Biology 2014 Major Symposium I: Abiotic Stress Response

The first day of the ASPB meeting, 2014 included the major symposium on abiotic stress control in plants, presenting insights on the broad range of abiotic stress that impacts plants from extreme atmospheric conditions and availability of micronutrients; with discussions on recent experimental approaches in laboratory and fields to overcome those hurdles. Dr. Michael F. … Read more

10 Tips for Grad Students to Make the Most of a Scientific Conference

Conferences are a great place to get feedback on your research from leaders in your field as well as other graduate students. They’re also great for networking and building a group of contacts that you can use for advice in the future.  David Shiffman (PhD candidate at the University of Miami), shares tips and tricks for students … Read more

World Champions Need Plant Biology

No grass? No Wimbledon, World Cup, worldwide golf or baseball According to, “sports and athletic field grasses must have dense, thick sod, be able to withstand impact and have the ability to repair quickly…Each seed mixture is used for the desired traits that are dominant to its variety and whether it grows well with … Read more

Using social media to increase the visibility of your poster

Succinct messages have power.  Share your poster via Twitter, interact over your results, & your research impact will grow #PlantBiology14 See what we did there?  In just 140 characters (equivalent of one whole tweet) you learned a key theme, professional goal, and a practical action item (the hashtag) for connecting at Plant Biology 2014 and … Read more

Research-led teaching opportunities for early career researchers

Recently, I was invited to attend a workshop at the University of Exeter, organized by George Littlejohn*, Tom Howard and Lizzy Dridge, a post-doctoral Research Fellow in Professor Nick Talbot’s group, Independent Research Fellow and Associate Lecturer respectively. The aims of the workshop were to help Early-Career Researchers (ECRs: e.g., graduate students and post-docs) make best … Read more