Maria Cecil at ASIS&T doctoral colloquium

Recently, PhD student Maria Cecil attended the doctoral colloquium at the ASIS&T annual meeting. Here she briefly describes her preparation and the event itself.


My mentor Dr Gary Burnett provided feedback on my application, and we met online to discuss our research interests. In common with other attendees, I submitted a 4-minute video presentation and some questions for the panel.

At the colloquium

The expert panel included Dr Howard Rosenbaum (Indiana University), Dr Pnina Fichman (Indiana University), my ASIS&T mentor Dr Gary Burnett (Florida State University) and Dr Kate Burnett.

After some minor technical hitches, we watched the first round of student videos. There was a large range of research topics, from a diverse mix of international students, including using social media for health information, online privacy, and information sharing practices. 

We then went into the Q and A. Most students had submitted similar questions on publishing, career planning and building a research community. Here are some examples:

Advice for publishing in non-academic settings

Think about where your piece belongs and where people might appreciate it the most, or where it might have the greatest wider impact. Also consider the criteria for your school. Don’t be afraid to collaborate when appropriate. Once you have established your academic career, you can start to think about reaching a wider audience through engaging with both the public and practitioners.

Getting into alternative career pathways?

Base on your priorities rather than your research area. What do you like about your job as a PhD student? What don’t you? As a PhD student, you will develop transferable skills such as time management, project management, fundraising (grant applications etc), think about how these may be applied to non-academic roles. Utilise the networks you will have developed to contact people in similar roles to the one you are considering. Keep your LinkedIn profile up to date. Flexibility is a virtue!

How to build a research community?

Attend conferences such as this one. Find and join special interest groups for your research domain. Don’t be afraid to approach people who have written a paper you are interested in. If you cite someone in your work, you can email them what you have written as a means of introducing yourself to them. Consider writing book reviews as a way to get in touch with others.

We then continued with the videos (including mine), which were interspersed with more questions for the panel. After a quick break for refreshments, we finished with an interactive open discussion where students were able to ask any additional questions and the panel shared their general expertise and advice.

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