LinkedIn for Early Career Scientists: Advice from Promega’s Interns

Laptop computer displaying logo of LinkedIn, an American business and employment-oriented service that operates via websites and mobile apps

In today’s world of social networking, LinkedIn has emerged as the clear winner for professionals in all industries. With its powerful networking capabilities and innovative career development features, LinkedIn has revolutionized how individuals connect, collaborate and advance their careers.

In this blog you will hear from some of Promega’s interns as they share valuable advice for early career scientists looking to expand their network, establish meaningful connections and propel their career forward.

Meet the Interns

Simone Shen
Position at Promega: Research Scientist Intern
University: University of Wisconsin-Madison
Area of Study: Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology
Academic Year: 4th year PhD student

Rachel Carrier
Position at Promega: Product Marketing Intern, Genomic Solutions
University: University of Wisconsin-Madison
Area of Study: Operations & Technology Management and Life Sciences Communication
Academic Year: Undergraduate Senior

Kendra Hanslik
Position at Promega: Cell Health & Functional Analysis Marketing Intern
University: University of Wisconsin-Madison
Area of Study: Neuroscience
Academic Year: 5th year PhD Student

Jorge Antonio
Position at Promega: Research Scientist Intern, R&D Assay Design
University: University of Wisconsin-Madison
Area of Study: Reproductive Physiology
Academic Year: PhD Candidate

How do you see other Scientists/Professionals using LinkedIn?

Simone: “LinkedIn is kind of like professional Facebook for scientists. As an example, instead of posting pictures about their beloved pets or reposting funny viral videos, people are posting pictures of themselves in front of their poster at a scientific conference or reposting career or professional development opportunities on LinkedIn.”

Rachel: “I see my network of emerging young professionals using LinkedIn to showcase their accomplishments, spread ideas and voice opinions. It’s a great platform to stay connected with people and see what they’re up to in their career development journey. I’ve loved staying up to date on my peers’ accomplishments and goals, while also learning about other fields outside my typical interests through the content they share.

Many industry leaders I follow post about new developments in the science and technology field, process improvements, and product launches, which helps to keep my knowledge current and well-rounded outside of academia and the news. Those who are more established in their career sometimes take on a role of spreading helpful tips and industry knowledge which helps inspire and inform those earlier in their career.”

Kendra: “Scientists and other professionals use LinkedIn in a variety of ways. It is a great place to keep in touch with previous colleagues and to follow their career progress. After all, you never know when you will need to recruit for a position or be interested in getting your foot in the door with a company they’re working for down the road. LinkedIn also provides a space for you to share your scientific research and to elaborate on your professional experience, which is helpful for employers who may not be asking for a CV and want to know more. I have seen scientists share job postings on LinkedIn too, so it is a place to consider for job searching.”

Jorge: “Networking is everything, and LinkedIn is a platform that helps individuals connect with colleagues, researchers, industry professionals and potential collaborators. I think it is a very easy way to connect with colleagues and explore potential collaborations. The platform also offers some interesting discussions in science specialized fields.”

Why Should an Early Career Scientist use LinkedIn?

Simone: “We often hear people say that it is important to “network,” but for early career scientists, where can we even start? LinkedIn can be a great place to start. [LinkedIn] can be especially beneficial for early career scientists to start building their network since it can be a lot less daunting to shoot someone a message on LinkedIn versus knocking on someone’s office door. Besides that, LinkedIn is also an easy way to search for job openings and professional development opportunities.”

Rachel: “It’s a great platform for staying engaged in career development outside of your organization and forming meaningful connections. I’ve found that by building and staying connected with my LinkedIn network, I’m able to develop meaningful relationships that help guide me in the direction I want to go in my career. From developing mentor/mentee relationships with people whose work I’m inspired by to staying connected with past employers, LinkedIn is an extremely useful tool for anyone early in their career looking to explore and learn.

LinkedIn also has a learning platform where you can take short courses and earn certificates from industry leaders in a variety of disciplines. This is another great benefit if you’re looking to dip your toe in the water of other skills outside of your field or strengthen ones you already have.”

Kendra: “As a budding scientist, it is crucial to make connections as these may turn into collaborations later in your career or provide you with a professional development opportunity in the future. With science becoming increasingly collaborative, LinkedIn is necessary for expanding your professional network and broadening your future career opportunities.”

Jorge: “LinkedIn is free and easy to use. Academic institutions, research centers, and other companies use LinkedIn to advertise job openings and recruit talent. Scientists can explore career opportunities, receive notifications about relevant positions, and showcase their skills and expertise to attract potential employers. Scientists can also follow trends in their field of interest.”

How are you using LinkedIn to build your network and/or showcase your scientific work? 

Simone: “When I go to conferences, I would include a QR code for my LinkedIn profile on my poster, so if people who stop by my poster are interested in my work, they could connect with me. LinkedIn is a great way to stay in contact with people. You never know when one of your connections could help you land an interview for a position at a company.”

Rachel: “I’ve stayed diligent connecting with those I meet throughout my academic and interning journey over the years as a way to build my network for gaining advice, mentorships, and keeping up to date on what companies are up to.”

Kendra: “I primarily use LinkedIn to connect with professionals I may want to contact in the future. I add connections that I meet around campus and at professional development events. To me, LinkedIn is kind of like a phone book. They are contacts you can come back to when you may be looking for a new position or a career change. As a graduate student, I found it helpful for setting up informational interviews to get a better grasp of what I want to pursue post-graduation.”

Jorge: “LinkedIn helps me to stay connected to individuals who live far away or whom I haven’t seen in a while. Posting about my research is a way I can show my academic progress and leadership skills.”

What advice would you give to an early career scientist trying to build their network and/or showcase their scientific work on LinkedIn?

Simone: “I would recommend keeping your LinkedIn profile up to date and don’t be afraid to send people an invitation to connect. Additionally, following companies’ LinkedIn pages can be another way to stay informed on potential career opportunities.”

Rachel: “I would advise early career professionals to take advantage of all the features LinkedIn has to offer. It’s easy to fire off a connection to someone and forget about it a few hours later, but starting a conversation and engaging with the people you connect with can help foster a much more meaningful connection. Especially for those of us who are very early in their career development, many people are eager to give advice or share their experiences.”

Kendra: “Building a network can be scary, especially for those who tend to be introverted. You tend to get into your head about the entire interaction. Well, the truth is that we’re all humans looking to connect and people really like to share their story. So, ask questions and listen, just be a normal human who cares and is curious to learn from others. Never hesitate to ask someone to grab a coffee so you can learn about their career path. The best advice to remember is that “the worst they can say is no.” You take yourself out of the equation immediately if you don’t ask.”

Jorge: “Be proactive and serious about professional connections on LinkedIn. Ask for connections with colleagues and mentors. Reach out to colleagues, classmates, professors and mentors from your academic and research circles.

LinkedIn is a great place to show your values and career goals. Make your LinkedIn profile honest, not perfect. Showcase your educational background, research experience, skills and achievements. Include keywords related to your field of expertise, but don’t forget to update these if your career changes direction.”

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the idea of creating a profile and building your network, take this final piece of advice from Kendra: “Take baby steps and don’t overthink it. If you are just starting to focus on building your LinkedIn profile, choose a goal then break it down into smaller tasks that you can conquer over time.” 

Before you know it, you’ll be on your way to an impressive profile, meaningful connections, and countless new opportunities.

Leveraging LinkedIn: A Guide for Early Career Scientists

female holding iPhone with LinkedIn screen. LinkedIn helps build portfolio and look for a new job

As an early career scientist, you may have already realized that the key to a successful career is not just an impressive resume or CV, but a strong professional network. In today’s interconnected digital age, there is no better platform to build this network than LinkedIn. With more than 930 million users worldwide, LinkedIn is a powerful tool for connecting with professionals in your industry, exploring job opportunities, and building your personal brand. 

In this blog, I’ll cover everything you need to know to establish a strong presence on LinkedIn and achieve your professional goals.

Creating a Strong Profile

Your profile can either make or break your success on LinkedIn. A well-crafted profile has the potential to create lasting impressions and open doors to new career and networking opportunities. Below are a few tips to help you create a profile that is sure to impress potential connections and employers:

Continue reading “Leveraging LinkedIn: A Guide for Early Career Scientists”

To Tweet or Not to Tweet: Microblogging for Science Communication

Microblogging is a form of blogging characterized by a shortened format and frequent posting schedule. Instead of personal websites, microblogs reside on social media platforms or apps, making them accessible to interact with and post on smartphones. Microblogs focus on interacting with audiences directly. With the ability to reply to or repost content, microblogging is more conversational and collaborative with audiences than long- form writing.  

Laptop with a newspaper inside of it. next to emoji people connected across the globe.

After its founding in 2006, Twitter (recently renamed “X” by its new owner) quickly became the face of microblogging platforms. Users publish content to the platform in posts of 280 characters that can include images, gifs, videos, and what the platform is most known for: hashtags. Hashtags enable users to search the platform by topic to connect with or follow other users who are writing about those topics. Users can also interact with each other by liking or retweeting tweets, which posts them to their own account. The open forum discussion style makes it possible for individuals to share their stories, offering first-hand accounts of breaking news and fueling political movements such as the Women’s March and Black Lives Matter. 

Continue reading “To Tweet or Not to Tweet: Microblogging for Science Communication”

2023 Promega iGEM Grant Winners: Tackling Global Problems with Synthetic Biology Solutions

On June 15, 2023, we announced the winners of the 2023 Promega iGEM grant. Sixty-five teams submitted applications prior to the deadline with projects ranging from creating a biosensor to detect water pollution to solving limitations for CAR-T therapy in solid tumors. The teams are asking tough questions and providing thoughtful answers as they work to tackle global problems with synthetic biology solutions. Unfortunately, we could only award nine grants. Below are summaries of the problems this year’s Promega grant winners are addressing.


An immature night heron against the green surface of Pinto Lake. 2023 Promega iGEM Grant Winner, UCSC iGEM seeks to mitigate these harmful aglal blooms.
A night heron hunts on Pinto Lake, California.

The UCSC iGEM team from the University of California–Santa Cruz is seeking a solution to mitigate the harmful algal blooms caused by Microcystis aeruginosa in Pinto Lake, which is located in the center of a disadvantaged community and is a water source for crop irrigation. By engineering an organism to produce microcystin degrading enzymes found in certain Sphingopyxis bacteria, the goal is to reduce microcystin toxin levels in the water. The project involves isolating the genes of interest, testing their efficacy in E. coli, evaluating enzyme production and product degradation, and ultimately transforming all three genes into a single organism. The approach of in-situ enzyme production offers a potential solution without introducing modified organisms into the environment, as the enzymes naturally degrade over time.


Endometriosis is a condition that affects roughly 190 million (10%) women of reproductive age worldwide. Currently, there is no treatment for endometriosis except surgery and hormonal therapy, and both approaches have limitations. The IISc-Bengaluru team at the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, India, received 2023 Promega iGEM grant support to investigate the inflammatory nature of endometriosis by targeting IL-8 (interleukin-8) a cytokine. Research by other groups has snow that targeting IL-8 can reduce endometriotic tissue. This team will be attempting to create an mRNA vaccine to introduce mRNA for antibody against IL-8 into affected tissue. The team is devising a new delivery mechanism using aptides to maximize the delivery of the vaccine to the affected tissues.

Continue reading “2023 Promega iGEM Grant Winners: Tackling Global Problems with Synthetic Biology Solutions”

Onward with Online Learning!

National Online Learning Day is celebrated annually on September 15, and although it was only created in 2016, it’s a growing “day”. This day highlights students of all ages who have the ability to learn anywhere, anytime, and thrive wherever their technology and imagination take them.

Technology in the past decade has completely transformed and built bridges in education. Even before the pandemic, online learning was growing and being adopted. As we entered the COVID-19 pandemic, educational institutions were forced to think digitally, and our viewpoint of online education shifted from “option” to “necessity”.

Whether you’re enrolled in a virtual course, working from home, or sitting in on a virtual conference, nearly all of us, at some compacity, take part in online learning—and it’s here to stay! The ability to learn online will continue to provide people with new resources and support for many years to come. Let’s dive into some advantages of online learning and discover helpful resources to thrive online.

Continue reading “Onward with Online Learning!”

The BTC Institute: Serving Youth Skills and Science for Summer

World Youth Skills Day provides a unique opportunity to emphasize the importance of equipping young people with experiences, skills, and opportunities in the workforce. This celebratory day falls on July 15th and was officially declared by the United Nations General Assembly in 2014.

At Promega, we are constantly adhering to invest in the future generations of science—and the BioPharmaceutical Technology Center Institute (BTC Institute) serves this mission best. The BTC Institute is a non-profit organization that provides educational, scientific, and cultural opportunities for people of all ages. Each summer, the organization hosts a wide range of experiences including camps, programs, and field trips to support individuals interested in science. In the spirit of World Youth Skills Day, let’s take a look at some experiences that are offered for young learners in summer 2022.

Continue reading “The BTC Institute: Serving Youth Skills and Science for Summer”

Promega Highlights Innovative Work with Brazil Young Researcher Award

In late May 2022, Promega invited the nine finalists for the Promega Brazil Young Researcher Award to present their work at a Student Research Symposium on the Promega Madison campus.

Scientists from around Brazil recently traveled to Madison, WI, USA as part of the Brazil Young Researcher Award

The Brazil Young Researcher Award program was created to acknowledge exceptional work by Brazilian students utilizing Promega products in their research. These student researchers were recognized for their achievements and were given the opportunity to present their innovative research to Promega scientists as part of a week-long immersive experience on the Promega campus.

Continue reading Promega Highlights Innovative Work with Brazil Young Researcher Award

Urs Albrecht Winning Photographer of the Promega AG Art + Science Competition

The Albrecht Group in the Department of Biology at the University of Fribourg, investigates circadian rhythms in biological systems. Recently Urs Albrecht submitted a photo of baby squid for the Swiss Art + Science Competition sponsored by Promega AG. We have covered squid communication in a separate blog. Here we talk to him about the photo and the inspiration behind it.

How did you become interested in squids as an experimental model?

headshot of Dr. Urs Albrecht
Dr. Urs Albrecht

My lab works mainly with mice. Other professors work with different organisms such as Drosophila, C. elegans, plants, and yeast at our university. One of them, Simon Sprecher, became interested in marine biology and started a course for students. I immediately thought that’s a great idea because it is something different, and few actually look deeply into the biology of marine organisms. The literature on squids is scarce and old, and they are challenging to keep in lab conditions. Yet, my colleague ordered Loligo vulgaris eggs from Villefranche Sur Mer in France and started establishing them to hatch and grow in Fribourg. He was successful. The next step was setting up experimentation. However, squids have brains, and to carry out experiments with them, we needed to apply for authorization from the Swiss Government. I helped out, but it was challenging because there were no standards and regulations, as nobody works on these animals in Switzerland. Now we are interested in studying the communication between squids. It is easy to observe how they change color, because they are transparent. The change in color is related to their stress level and mood.

What went into taking the image “One Out”?

I’ve been a hobby photographer since I am ten years old. So when I went to my colleague’s lab and looked at the baby squids, I said, “Ohh, they are beautiful.” They looked really stunning, and some of them started changing colors in front of me. I thought that was a fascinating behavior, and I wanted to capture that.

One Out by Urhs Albrect Baby Squid communicating with color

Baby squids are transparent and colorful. I had to think about how I could best picture them. I decided to have them in a Petri dish and put them on a stand with lighting coming from below on a black background. I made several images. On one of them, there was this situation where one of the squids was changing color. It was very different from all the others. It immediately came to my mind that something was happening. They were communicating.

Continue reading “Urs Albrecht Winning Photographer of the Promega AG Art + Science Competition”

Kornberg Innovation Seminars: Inspiring Creativity in Promega R&D

Kornberg Center was designed to accelerate scientific exploration.

“Are you going to the talk?”

The refrain regularly echoes through the halls of every academic lab building. During our education, we’re treated to a non-stop supply of speakers on every subject we can imagine. Prestigious speaker series gave us chances to hear from some of the world’s most prominent experts on subjects that would shape scientific pursuits for the next decade and beyond. When we leave academia, however, it can be difficult to find those same opportunities to learn. Sure, there are lab meetings and conferences, but when can you be treated to a renowned expert giving a talk just down the hall?

Promega Head of Biology Frank Fan aimed to address that problem when he developed a plan for the Kornberg Innovation Seminars (KIS), a recurring speaker series to be held in the new home for Promega R&D. Kornberg Center is an environment where Promega scientists are challenged to think outside-the-box and anticipate the challenges life science researchers will be facing tomorrow. Frank believed that opportunities to learn from a wide variety of guest experts would be critical for inspiring that type of thinking.

“Promega R&D focuses on understanding scientists’ needs and providing novel solutions,” Frank says. “The KIS program is about helping us achieve that vision.”

Continue reading “Kornberg Innovation Seminars: Inspiring Creativity in Promega R&D”

Empowered Women Empower Women: Closing the Confidence Gap in STEM

Welcome back to the third and final part of our Women in Science series, where we’ve been exploring the key factors that perpetuate the gender gap in STEM. In Part 1 of this series, Breaking the Bias: Addressing the STEM Gender Gap, we dug into the key factors of gender stereotypes and male-dominated culture. Part 2, This is What a Scientist Looks Like: The Importance of Female Role Models in STEM, was all about the issue of fewer visible female role models in STEM. Last but certainly not least, this installment will focus on tackling the issue of the confidence gap, including the factors that play into it and the myriad ways we see it unfolds.

Part of my exploration of this topic included having conversations with a handful of my incredible female colleagues at Promega about the challenges women in STEM face. These colleagues were (in no particular order): Becky Godat, Instrumentation Scientist; Jacqui Mendez-Johnson, Quality Assurance Scientist; Johanna Lee, Content Lead, Marketing Services; Jen Romanin, Sr. Director, IVD Operations and Global Support Services; Kris Pearson, Director, Manufacturing & Custom Operations; Leta Steffen, Supervisor, Scientific Applications; Monica Yue, Technical Services Scientist; and Poonam Gunjal, Manager, Regional Sales.

What is the Confidence Gap?

Continue reading “Empowered Women Empower Women: Closing the Confidence Gap in STEM”