Welcome to Episode 12 of the Raw Talk Podcast. Last episode you learned about the importance of mentorship during grad school because we don’t all necessarily want to go into academia. But figuring out what we enjoy doing (and can actually get paid to do) is easier said than done. Moreover, what kinds of skills are we going to need to get there? We deferred to an expert—Dr. Darlene Homonko, a jack-of-all-trades who finally settled on one.
Dr. Homonko is now the Director of the Office of Technology Transfer and Industrial Liaison at the Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute (Mount Sinai Hospital), but she didn’t always know she wanted to be involved in bringing new technology into healthcare. She shares her journey—and you’d be surprised to hear all the places it took her—and how determination and discipline became some of the greatest skills she learned from grad school.
“You can make things happen if you believe strongly enough in them, if you put your effort to them, and you don’t quit.”
Dr. Homonko is very involved in educating students on translational skills (not to be mistaken for translational research… we have several episodes dedicated to that too!). On this episode, she discusses the difference between hard and soft skills, what it takes to move from one field to another completely different one, and the key role of good communication in relating to others. She also touches on the importance of “Informational Interviews”, and gives tips to approach going into one—hint: they’re not about scoring a job! Finally, Dr. Homonko also gives advice on some of the steps students should take to determining what their next steps might be after grad school. Boy, were we happy to hear it’s okay not to have it all figured out!
We also had a chance to chat with Liam O’Leary. You may recognize him from his weekly emails informing students of upcoming Graduate Professional Skills courses. Liam is the Graduate Programming Coordinator for the School of Graduate Studies at the University of Toronto. On this episode, discusses why the SGS created the GPS program, his role in running and coordinating GPS courses, and why completion of the program encourages “breadth and depth” in the skills graduate students acquire.