ASLM2014 Young Professionals Course Series

ASLM2014_YP_GroupCroppedASLM2014 included a series of courses aimed at building analysis and communication capacity of young African laboratory professionals. Hundreds of young professionals participated in the courses, which took place during designated seminar times built into the conference schedule.

The course series was sponsored by the African Journal of Laboratory Medicine, the official peer reviewed journal of ASLM, under the Journal’s mandate to build African capacity to conduct and communicate laboratory-related scientific research. The courses were coordinated and taught by William Ampofo (Ghana), Rosemary Audu (Nigeria), and Elizabeth Luman (USA).

The series included six courses developed specifically for the conference:

Abstract Writing:

A powerful abstract is key to getting your manuscript published or being invited to present at an important conference. This two-day course taught the do’s and don’ts of abstract writing, focusing on how to clearly and succinctly communicate important messages. The hands-on session gave participants the opportunity to work in groups to write abstracts.

Sharing Success: Writing News Articles and Award Nominations:

Congratulations – you have done great work! Now it’s time to let the world know. This workshop taught participants how to publicise their success stories by writing newsletter articles and award nominations. Participants were mentored on how to transform their scientific work into a success stories that would appeal to a non-scientific audience.

Above: Participants discussing draft news articles

Above: Participants discussing draft news articles

Developing Killer Presentations:

Participants learned how to engage their audience to give effective and memorable presentations. This workshop covered crafting effective messages, designing engaging and relevant slides, creating useful templates, honing PowerPoint technique, and improving delivery skills.

Free Educational Opportunities Online:

Online education is growing exponentially, and many organisations are offering learning material free of charge. Young professionals learned how to tap into the limitless online resources available today, and to explore options such as the American Society for Microbiology, TED talks, Kahn academy, and university-level courses that are available free of charge.

Statistical Secrets Revealed:

Analysis and Presentation of Data: How can I best present my data? What does this p-value really mean? How big of a sample do I need? This course focused on some common misconceptions and errors in interpretation of data. Simple explanations of some common statistical concepts were provided, and ideas for how to better display various types of data in tables and graphs were discussed.

Young Professionals Forum with Leaders:

Young professionals joined some of the top leaders in Laboratory Medicine today, such as the Chief Executive Officer of ASLM, the chair of the ASLM2014 conference, Chair of Diagnostics Research at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and the Senior Science Editor of the African Journal of Laboratory Medicine. These high-level leaders met with small groups of 15-20 participants to share their experiences and discuss career paths and opportunities. The small group setting ensured individual attention and plenty of time for questions in an informal atmosphere.