SEEDS Distinguished Lecturer Marilyn Farqhuar

Marilyn Farqhuar

Marilyn Farqhuar

A series of events on March 232010focused on Marilyn Farqhuar, member of National Academies of Sciences and of Arts and Science. Among other honors, she has won the Wilson Medal of the American Society of Cell Biologists, the Homer Smith Medal of the American Society of Nephrology, the Distinguished Scientist Medal of the EMSA, the Rous-Whipple Award of the American Society for Investigative Pathology, the Carl Gottschalk Prize from University of North Carolina, the A.N. Richards Award for Excellence in Research from the International Society of Nephrology and FASEB Award for Excellence in Science. She gave both research and mentoring talks and also led a mentoring event for senior women. 
Co-sponsored by Mary Bartlett Bunge Distinguished Women in Cell Biology.

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Mentoring lunch with postdocs and graduate students

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Before the mentoring talk 

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Research seminar

Evening mentoring event with senior faculty

  • Below read participant answers to the following questions. 
  • What was the most significant thing you learned today? 
  • Was this event useful to you, and if so, how?
  • Was this event what you expected? Please elaborate. 
  • Did this event help you to establish useful contacts? Please elaborate. 
  • How might this event be improved in the future? 

What was the most significant thing you learned today?

  • That though I know it is important to be a good citizen in my local and national scientific community I don’t have to do everything at once.
  • If good or interesting opportunities come along, it is ok to put it off if you have other commitments. Scientist participation in such activities will always be needed.
  • I got some very helpful tips on balancing my various responsibilities (both work and home).
  • Different ways to approach mentoring and time constraints
  • I attained my PhD in 1995, and while I have heard stories of the difficulties faced by women scientists in the 70’s and 80’s, I have never been part of a discussion with a large group of women who experienced these challenges first-hand. It was eye-opening and transformative, it made me very proud to be a women scientist, but also sad to hear what these women had experienced.
  • The most important thing I learned is how important it is for women to get together at events such as this to do important networking and to hear from senior women scientists who have had highly successful careers. Their words of wisdom are so important for others who are developing or even have established careers successful themselves. Many important questions were raised and discussed.
  • An important thought to keep in mind is that we do not have to do it all, at the same time. But we can pace our activities to try to achieve a satisfying balance.
  • We had a very informative and inspiring discussion about the challenges we are facing, such as how to balance our own responsibilities (research & teaching) and community services (university & society), and how to keep up with fast changing technology world of computer, internet information and imaging.
  • Successful people and struggling people really have the same problems. The former just seem more creative about solving the problems!
  • The control of tissue migration verses invasion in relation to controlling cancer.
  • Do not think you have to do everything at once-think about what you can do well, enjoy doing and do it. 

Was this event useful to you? Please elaborate.

  • I really enjoyed networking with senior women faculty.
  • It was terrific to share our experiences and to discuss how aging affects our careers and share how we can deal with these changes. Also, how to manage increased responsibilities since we bring so much experience to the table as senior women and we are called on to do so much.
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • I gained a greater appreciation for older women scientist who came of age before the 90’s.
  • I always gain more insight when I hear multifaceted answers and discussion about the important questions that nag at us and how to handle them.
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Yes, Good to learn how others handle priorities for work, demands on time. Afternoon meeting provided a chance to bring a junior researcher/student into the discussions about mentoring and its importance, the need to plan ahead to some extent. 

Was the event what you expected? Please elaborate.

  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Yes, it was a casual and very pleasant opportunity to get to know other senior women faculty. Yes, this was the fifth such mentoring/networking event that we have had, and I always learn something new. Also I continue to meet women around the university, including the medical school, who I have not yet met.
  • Yes
  • Yes, actually it was better.
  • I often am not as keen to attend these events because I fear the whining! But several attendees set a really positive tone.
  • Yes 

Did this event help you to establish useful contacts? Please elaborate.

  • Yes
  • No, since I knew everyone except Dr. Farqhuar, I can’t say that I established contacts but I probably strengthened them.
  • Yes
  • Yes, I had a discussion with a fellow faculty who has identified analytical approaches that would be useful to my own work
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Yes, Good to see people in a social setting. And, I did meet a few new (for me) people as well.
  • Yes, I met several senior women in other departments/fields. 

How might this event be improved in the future?

  • Have the caterer provide some simple hors d’ouvres and less food choices at dinner
  • Make sure there is enough time for the group discussion. Many people had to leave before we were done. But overall it was a very successful evening.
  • This was such a nice event. I suppose we could have started the Q&A session a bit earlier since the group started dispersing and it would have been nice to have a longer time to discuss.
  • A structured, defined way to moving the guests around so that they meet a variety of individuals-perhaps like the “getting to meet you” games one often participates in at cocktail parties.
  • I think it is effective as is.
  • I think this event is very useful and inspiring. We hope there are more in the near future.