(493a) Remaining True to Yourself

Coppens, M. O., University College London
The sudden transition from being a Postdoctoral Researcher, working under a principal investigator, to becoming an Assistant Professor leading an own group, can be a daunting balancing act, somewhat akin to starting a business, but with the unique human dimension associated to working in education.

There is a wonderful sense of purpose, with vastly increased independence and the opportunity to mentor, but the journey, navigating the complex and ever-evolving space of academia, is also full of challenges: from realizing a personal vision and leadership to the daily operational elements; from preparing and teaching new courses to setting up a lab; from raising funds for research, to tutoring and advising students. And, as the ultimate challenge: Remaining true to yourself and maintaining a healthy balance in life.

I will share some thoughts, based on my international and US-based experiences, from Assistant Professor to Head of Department, via professorships in the Netherlands, the USA and the UK.