Oct 29 2015

Diversity Advancement Committee Colloquium- October 29th @ 11:30am featuring Dr. Kenny Gibbs

October 29, 2015

11:30 AM - 12:30 PM



Diversity Advancement Committee Colloquium

Thursday, October 29th
11:30am to 12:30pm
Student Center East, Illinois Room C

"Career Development of Biomedical Scientists--Implications for Workforce Development & Faculty Diversity" presented by Dr. Kenny Gibbs, Jr., Ph.D.

Recent biomedical workforce policy efforts have centered on the challenges of enhancing career preparation for trainees and increasing workforce diversity. While these issues have been addressed separately, little work considers them concurrently.  This study, framed by Social Cognitive Career Theory (SCCT), addresses two questions: (a) what is the process of career interest formation for recent Ph.D. graduates, and (b) how does this process differ across lines of gender and race-ethnicity.  We report results from a mixed-methods study, including a survey of 1500 American biomedical Ph.D. graduates (n=276 from underrepresented minority (URM) backgrounds), and interviews with 70 respondents pursuing diverse career pathways. Survey data showed that relative to Ph.D. entry, on average, scientists from all backgrounds reported (i) increased knowledge about career options (ii) significantly decreased interest in faculty careers at research universities, and (iii) significantly increased interest in non-research careers. There were differences in the overall levels of career pathway interest (at Ph.D. entry, completion, and postdoc), and the magnitude of change in interest in these careers. Multiple logistic regression showed that when controlling for career pathway interest at Ph.D. entry, first-author publication rate, faculty support, research self-efficacy, and graduate training experiences, women and URM men remained 36-54% less likely than White/Asian men to express high interest in faculty careers at research-intensive universities, and URM women were 93% more likely than all other groups to report high interest in non-research careers. Qualitative data revealed how vicarious learning experiences during graduate school, systemic dynamics within the biomedical enterprise, and unique personal motivations for pursuing scientific research play determinative roles in the career pathways Ph.D. graduates pursued.   Findings point to the need for enhanced career development programs earlier in the training process, and interventions that are sensitive to the distinctive patterns of interest development across social identity groups.

Kenneth (Kenny) Gibbs, Jr., Ph.D., is a Cancer Prevention Fellow at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in the Science of Research & Technology Branch (SRTB) where he conducts policy-relevant research aimed at strengthening the research enterprise. His work focuses on: (1) Biomedical Graduate and Postdoctoral Training, Workforce Development & Workforce Diversity, and (2) Developing methodologies for evaluation & dissemination of best practices in “team science.” 

Prior to the NCI, Dr. Gibbs completed a AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellowship at the National Science Foundation (NSF) in the Directorate for Education and Human Resources (EHR) where he developed evidence-based recommendations for engagement programs for the federal government’s strategic STEM education plan. Dr. Gibbs completed his Ph.D. in the Immunology program at Stanford University, and received his B.S. in biochemistry & molecular biology summa cum laude from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County where he was a Meyerhoff, MARC, and HHMI scholar. Dr. Gibbs serves on the Board of Directors for the National Postdoctoral Association, and has written about career development and scientific diversity issues for Science Careers, and Scientific American.




Date posted

Aug 14, 2018

Date updated

Aug 14, 2018