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Walking outside the box of daily life – Jina Ko’s review of the Cambridge GM

The second Global Meeting for the inaugural Schmidt Science Fellows was hosted by Harvard University, MIT, and the Broad Institute. For Fellow Dr Jina Ko, it was an opportunity to step outside of her everyday life in the lab.

Each of our Global Meetings so far have proved to be an amazing getaway, helping me briefly forget about my daily life in lab and expose myself to new people, different fields, and a broader community. When I checked the final schedule of the Cambridge Global Meeting, I was thrilled to see we would be meeting inspiring scientists from fields including astronomy, human intelligence, CRISPR, genomics, and virtual reality.

It was very inspiring to learn what scientists outside my field are excited about, what problems they are facing, and the approaches they are taking to identify solutions. After meeting many different scientists from such a broad range of disciplines, I realized that they have one thing in common. In addition to being very passionate about their particular area of research and its potential application, I could feel that they sincerely loved their work and it was driven by pure interest and curiosity.

This revelation helped me spend time thinking about what I really like and motivates me about my own work. What is the actual fundamental driving force for me that helps me move forward? We become experts in one field by working as a PhD student and a postdoctoral researcher but during this process we tend to focus on details and can lose sight of the big picture.

The Cambridge Global Meeting has helped me to walk outside the small box of my daily life and think more deeply and broadly about what I want to do, what I need to do, and what I can do as a scientist.

One of the most interesting realizations from the Global Meeting hit me when we were with the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science. The key theme of the workshop was to ‘know about your audience’. As scientists, we have many opportunities to present our work to the public. Whenever I have shared my work, I focused on what I wanted to deliver rather than thinking about what the audience wants to hear and learn from my talk.

Throughout the workshop, I realized how much more effective our talks can be if we think and learn about our audience when preparing and giving talks. I am very excited to prepare my future talks keeping this in mind and see what difference it can make as I interact with the audience.

The Cambridge Global Meeting was full of opportunities, interactions, and realizations. With what I learned from the Meeting, I feel I am ready to accelerate my postdoc journey!

Read and watch more about the 2018 Cambridge Global Meeting from the Schmidt Science Fellows.

Learn more about Dr Jina Ko.