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.
  • Explain the unique challenges faced at a non-research-intensive institution.
  • Describe ways to respond productively to disappointing feedback.

Crafting a Programmatic Line of Research

  • Define programmatic research.
  • Describe the importance of establishing a programmatic line of research.
  • 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.
  • Understand how to use a 5-Year plan to guide decision-making.
  • 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

    • Identify pros and cons of doing a postdoc/List tips for getting the most out of the postdoc experience
    • Identify factors to consider when selecting which faculty positions to apply to, including the level of diversity, equity, and inclusion of the institution
    • Describe how to prepare for faculty interviews 

For Faculty

    • Identify challenges and strategies for staying on track for earning tenure
    • List tips for creating a lab that is diverse, equitable, and inclusive
    • Describe ways to respond with resilience to collaboration challenges

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 to grant submission preparation challenges with resilience

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
  • 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