The cancer center turns to the Scholar Council for ideas about improvements in educational and training programs for cancer researchers early in their careers. Members of the council reflect a broad array of investigators, including medical and graduate students, postdoctoral scholars, and early-career faculty members.
“The program is unique in that it gives trainees and junior/early-stage investigators a platform to directly influence the training environment here at UC Davis,” said council member Alan Lombard, an assistant professor of urologic surgery. “We have the voices and ability to create change, which will benefit the community for generations.”
One of the Scholar Council’s current projects is a grant resource to ease the application process for future generations of early investigators. It includes a library of previously submitted and successful grant and fellowship applications as models to follow.
Another goal of the Scholar Council is to establish a Near Peer Mentorship Program to help new investigators define professional goals and grow connections as well as promote a culture of interdepartmental collaboration.
“As Scholar Council members progress in their careers, the experience they gain through peer mentorship will help guide them to develop their own teaching abilities so they can serve as future mentors and help others in their fields,” said council sponsor Fred Meyers, associate director of the Office of Education, Training and Career Development with UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center, and principal investigator for the Mentored Clinical Research Training Program in the UC Davis Clinical and Translational Science Center.
In addition to peer support, the Scholar Council is working on a web portal that will make it easier for early-stage investigators to find faculty mentors and projects in their field of interest.
Annual Spotlight on Early Career Investigators
The 16th annual Spotlight on Early Career Investigators: A Cancer Research Mini-Symposium highlighted cancer-related research being conducted by students, postdoctoral scholars, research residents, fellows in research and UC Davis staff members.
The Spotlight gives early-stage investigators a chance to meet experienced investigators, learn about potential research opportunities early in their career, and gain valuable career insights through presentations and networking.
“Events like these provide our junior colleagues and scholars with much-needed opportunities to hone their presentation and networking skills,” UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center Director Primo “Lucky” Lara Jr. said.