Kenneth Flanagan: Prothena Biosciences


Topic: Improving Career Paths
Comments by Kenneth Flanagan
Prothena Biosciences

Proposed Actions

The skills that postdocs have are not limited to pipetting. By the time that a scientist has completed a postdoc, he or she has likely prepared presentations and delivered lectures in front of some pretty tough crowds. The goal of these talks is often to impart complicated information as simply as possible. These skills are likely translatable into generating a lesson plan, and teaching high school students. Obviously, postdocs have the option of completely revamping their careers and becoming high school teachers. However, it seems unnecessary to treat these highly trained scientists as though they are fresh out of a bachelor’s degree, and have them start over.

I would propose that an accelerated pathway to obtain licensure to get scientists into the classroom be generated for such promising teachers. If there were a program to rapidly qualify these postdocs, and provide a stipend while they are being retrained, I believe that many would take that sort of scientific off ramp while providing much needed real world scientific experience into high school classrooms.