Pathways Conference Overview

The Pathways program mentors early-career clinical scientists in developing strong foundations for independent research careers. The Conference is held at the ASHA National Office in Rockville, Maryland.

The conference typically includes the following session types:

  • Lectures: presentations on research career development topics with time for Q&A
  • Small groups: facilitated discussions with peers who have a similar level of experience relative to the topic
  • Mentoring periods: meetings with just the mentor and two protégés to work on developing and refining protégé materials such as a 5-year plan

Career Planning Topics

The First Step to a Successful Research Career: Developing Resilience

  • Define resilience (& what it’s not).
  • Describe why resilience is critical to success in an academic career.
  • Describe ways to manage your time more efficiently.
  • Explain the unique challenges faced at a non-research-intensive institution.
  • Describe ways to respond productively to common research career challenges.

Crafting a Programmatic Line of Research

  • Define programmatic research.
  • Describe the importance of establishing and growing a programmatic line of research.
  • Describe how to use your programmatic line to guide decision making, including the areas of publication, funding, and research collaborations. 
  • List tips for managing successful collaborations.
  • Identify potential challenges to building programmatic research and how to respond to them with resilience.
  • Formulate your own overarching research goal and list the skills and resources you will need to address it.

Developing a 5-Year Plan and Identifying Your Research Career Milestones

  • Define a 5-Year Plan.
  • Explain the purpose of a 5-Year plan.
  • Identify the elements of a 5-Year plan.
  • Summarize the benefits of a 5-Year plan.
  • Describe how to use your 5-year plan to guide decision-making and respond with resilience to challenges staying on track with your plan. 
  • Formulate your own 5-year plan.
  • Formulate the specific research goals you will work on this year with guidance from your Pathways mentor.

Your Next Career Step

For PhD Students and Postdocs

    • Contrast the pros and cons of doing a postdoc.
    • List tips for getting the most out of the postdoc experience.
    • List factors to consider in identifying institutions that are a good fit for you and that support diversity, equity, and inclusion.
    • Describe how to prepare for faculty interviews.
    • Explain how to respond with resilience to challenges in making your next career step at this stage.

For Faculty

    • Identify challenges and strategies for staying on track for earning tenure.
    • List factors to consider in setting up a lab that is diverse, equitable, and inclusive.
    • Summarize strategies for establishing independence and how to demonstrate it. 
    • List strategies for being a good citizen scientist.
    • Explain how to respond with resilience to challenges in making your next career step at this stage.

Grantsmanship Topics

Publishing and Preparing to Submit a Grant

  • List tips for getting your manuscripts written, published, and read.
  • Explain ways in which your publication record is important for getting funded.
  • Identify factors that determine whether you are ready to submit a grant.
  • List the grant pre-submission steps.
  • Describe the importance of starting with small-scale funding and identify some sources.
  • Explain how to respond with resilience to grant submission preparation challenges.

Understanding Grant Elements and Specific Aims

  • List the NIH grant sections and review criteria.
  • Identify grant writing strengths and common weaknesses.
  • Describe the purpose of the Specific Aims.
  • Identify elements of strong Specific Aims and common weaknesses.
  • Explain how to respond with respect and resilience to reviewer comments.
  • Evaluate and revise your own Specific Aims that you drafted prior to the conference.

Introduction to American Speech-Language-Hearing Foundation Grant Mechanisms

  • List the ASHFoundation early-career mechanisms.
  • Describe the benefit of ASHFoundation funding as seed money for subsequent federal funding.

Introduction to NIDCD Early-Career Grant Mechanisms

  • List the NIDCD early-career funding mechanisms.
  • Describe the roles and responsibilities of the NIDCD Staff (e.g., PO, SRO, GMS).
  • Locate online resources to assist in the NIDCD submission process.

ASHA Corporate Partners