Elizabeth Kong, PhD

Hall of Human Life, Manager
Museum of Science, Boston

ASHG: What non-scientific skills (ex. communication, artistry, athleticism, etc.) are important for your job? Were any of these skills unexpected assets for you?

Dr. Kong: Communication, resourcefulness and being creative are critical skills in my position.

ASHG: If you could go back to when you were a trainee, what is one piece of advice you would give yourself for your current career?

Dr. Kong: Volunteer! For anyone interested in science communication to a broad audience, volunteering provides the opportunity to build skills that are applicable in any training. The skill to inspire critical thinking and empower the public to ask questions based on evidence and observation and engage with the public with various levels of science backgrounds is key. How to converse and connect not just with one age group, but whole families at the same time and create an authentic learning experience, is a skill in volunteering that would have been a huge asset. Also, volunteering allows for flexibility that works well with graduate school.

ASHG: Can you describe your transition from trainee to working professional? How did you land your first “real” job?

Dr. Kong: The key to how I landed my first “real” job was connecting with previous graduates from my program. They tend to be the ones who can provide an unfiltered view of their profession and help direct graduates to other opportunities. Stay in touch not just with your classmates, but with other departments, you never know the direction you may eventually take.

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