Career Development Symposia

Get leadership experience and serve your fellow early career scientists by organizing a GSA Career Development Symposium!

Because access to career events varies by location and campus, a large number of students and postdocs lack opportunities to enhance their career training outside the lab. To increase the accessibility of these programs, GSA offers funding for student and postdoc members to organize local symposia that provide career and professional development opportunities for early career scientists. Examples could include career skills symposia, networking events, and scientific symposia with substantial opportunities for student and postdoc presenters.

The 2020 application cycle has been canceled due to the difficulty of planning or holding in-person events this year. If you have any questions, please contact engagement@genetics-gsa.org

Review Criteria

The GSA Mentoring & Professional Development (MaPD) Committee will consider the following criteria when selecting symposia to support:

  • The professional development benefit to early career geneticists
  • The need for and uniqueness of the event (including whether it’s a new event)
  • Evidence of attention to diversity, reach, and inclusivity, for example in developing the program, in event logistics, and in advertising to potential attendees.
  • Other support available, including institutional support

Learn more: Tips for a successful Career Development Symposia proposal

To assist in planning, we recommend this article and the Symposium Toolkit prepared by the National Postdoctoral Association (NPA membership required— don’t forget you can get joint GSA/NPA membership at a reduced rate!)

Award Conditions

  • For successful applications, GSA will provide up to $2,000 to support direct meeting costs, such as facility rental, audiovisual, printing, speaker travel, promotion, supplies, and refreshments. GSA funds may not be used for indirect or overhead costs, salaries, speaker honoraria, or alcoholic beverages.
  • Speakers and session chairs should represent the diversity of our discipline, both scientifically and demographically. As such, organizers should consider gender, racial/ethnic background, nationality, institution, and other factors when developing the program.
  • Events must display the GSA logo on the event website and/or at the event.
  • If requested by the Society, the organizers will provide an opportunity for a GSA representative to offer welcoming remarks and the chance to display informational material.
  • Organizers will solicit feedback on the symposium from participants via an online survey provided by GSA.
  • One month after the symposium, organizers will provide:
    • A final report that includes: program for the symposium, lessons learned, and roster of speakers and presenters
    • A complete list of attendees, including name, institutional affiliation, email address, career stage, and field(s) of interest
    • A written summary of the symposium appropriate for publication on the GSA blog
    • An itemized financial accounting of how funds provided by GSA were spent, including documentation and receipts

Application Process

Email your application as a single PDF to mapd@genetics-gsa.org. Applications should include:

  • Description of the proposed symposium (two-page maximum):
    • Brief summary of the symposium topics and goals
    • Proposed dates and location
    • Anticipated number and demographic distribution of attendees (e.g. geographic reach and the career stage of participants)
    • Plans to promote the symposium to reach the intended audience
    • Proposed symposium format
  • Proposed budget, including any other sources of support (if the meeting will charge a registration fee, please include the expected cost to participants)
  • Description of the available facilities to host the symposium
  • A letter of support confirming that the described facilities will be made available
  • While a letter of support from a faculty mentor is not required, including such a letter will strengthen the proposal.
  • CV or resume for all members of the organizing committee (NIH- or NSF-style formatting is preferred; two-page maximum for each committee member)

Please confirm all members of your organizing committee are GSA members BEFORE submitting the application. You can check your current membership status here.


Funding decisions will be announced within six weeks of the application deadline. Late or incomplete applications will not be considered. Sponsored symposia should take place within one year of application.

Questions about the program or application? Email mapd@genetics-gsa.org.

Jennifer Solis, Northwestern University

It was critical that GSA was so willing to put their faith in us. Many people didn’t initially have a lot of confidence that a group of postdocs could organize a new event of this scale.

Sarah Dykstra, Career Development Symposium funding recipient
Learn more

Read about past Career Development Symposia


2019 Career Development Symposia: RNA biology, DNA replication and repair, science immersion, Bay Area worms

We are proud to support four new symposia organized by student and postdoctoral members of the GSA! Check out the descriptions from the 2019 awardees of GSA Career Development Symposia funding. This program empowers early career members to organize local events that enhance the professional development of their peers, including career skills symposia, workshops, and networking events. TREnD2019: Toronto […]

Read more »

by Editorial Staff


New Career Development Symposia: science policy careers, evolution, DNA replication and repair

We are proud to support three new symposia organized by student and postdoctoral members of the GSA! Check out the descriptions from the 2018 awardees of GSA Career Development Symposia funding. This program empowers early career members to organize local events that enhance the professional development of their peers, including career skills symposia, workshops, and networking events. Is there […]

Read more »

by Editorial Staff


Tips for a successful Career Development Symposia proposal

During my many interactions with grad students and postdocs, I have learned that a large number of early career scientists train on campuses where important career development services are not widely available. While some schools may provide a diverse array of such services, at many other institutions the only opportunity to enhance early career training […]

Read more »

by Sonia Hall

Learn more about career development at GSA

Early Career Leadership and Professional Development Program

Students, postdocs, and other early career scientists (ECS) are the future of the GSA community. To strengthen their voice in the Society, GSA developed the Early Career Scientist leadership and professional development program. This program provides rich opportunities for early career scientists to develop skills, gain experience, network, and produce concrete deliverables that demonstrate their abilities.

Learn more »

GENETICS Peer Review Training Program

Peer-reviewers are vital to science, yet early career scientists in our field rarely receive formal training in how to be a good reviewer. GSA and GENETICS are addressing this gap with a program that gives early career members real-world peer review experience. Participants will receive online training, feedback, and will become reviewers for manuscripts submitted to GENETICS.

Learn more »