clinical medical physics, medical physics, professionalism

AAPM 2014 Annual Meeting: Networking Opportunities

The AAPM 2014 Annual Meeting is quickly approaching! The thought on the minds of many students and trainees is, simply put: “How can I meet potential employers?” This post will guide you through the networking opportunities and skill-building workshops offered by this year’s meeting, in the hopes that you can use this information to find the employer of your dreams.

1. Before You Get There: Prepare!

But, make sure you prepare prior to traveling to the meeting:

Make your resume available on the AAPM Career Services website.

Print 10+ copies of your resume to bring with you. These hard copies can be posted to the resume wall at the Career Services kiosk.

– Craft your Elevator Pitch: who you are, what/who you work with, and what you can do for the interested party.

Sample Elevator Pitch (Resident Jane Smith to a Varian representative):

“Great to meet you! I’m Jane Smith and I’m a therapy physics resident at Medical Center USA. I started working with Varian machines in my graduate work and have continued working with Varian during my residency. I’ve become aware of the strengths and limitations of Varian’s latest technology and I’m interested in using my experience and therapy physics skills to help continue to improve Varian equipment.”

2. When You Get There: Go Get ‘Em, Tiger!

This year’s meeting program offers exciting scientific talks and much more, including sessions specifically designed for networking and professional skill building. These opportunities can be organized into three major categories:

(a) Council Symposia, Association Meetings, and Town Hall

(b) Interview Skill-Building Workshops

(c) Exhibition Hall and Vendor Presentations

(a) Council Symposia, Association Meetings, and Town Hall

The AAPM has four Councils: Science, Education, Professional, and Administrative. The council meetings are open to the general AAPM membership. This year, there are also 3 major Association Meetings and many Committee and Working Group Meetings which are also open to general AAPM members. If you’re really interested in a particular subcommittee/working group – go ahead and email the chair to ask if you can participate in that meeting. If you’re interested in becoming more involved in AAPM and meeting the members that drive our organization, these meetings are a must!

Saturday, July 19

8:00 AM – 10:00 PM – Committee and Working Group Meetings begin (continue through out the week)

Sunday, July 20

9:30 – 11:00 AM: AAPM Medical Physics Student Meeting

9:30 – 11:00 AM: Education Council Symposium

11:00 AM – 12:30 PM: Professional Council Symposium

Tuesday, July 22

4:30 – 6:00 PM: New Member Symposium

Wednesday, July 23

6:15 – 7:00 PM: AAPM Annual Business and Town Hall Meeting

(b) Interview Skill-Building Workshops

There are two interview workshops offered by the Professional Council and the Students and Trainees Subcommittee. These workshops are a great opportunity to work on  your communication and presence during interviews while interacting with established AAPM members and faculty in medical physics. Why not try out that great elevator pitch on your interviewer while you’re at it?

Monday, July 21

7:30 – 8:25 AM: Interview Like Your Job Depended On It!

4:30 – 6:00 PM: AAPM STSC Mock Interviews (pre-registration required)

(c) Exhibition Hall and Vendor Presentations

Interfacing with vendors is a great way to learn about industry and employment opportunities (not to mention, Landauer and Vassar Brothers offer residencies). Even if you’re not sold on an industry career, it’s very likely that you will continue to collaborate with vendors throughout your career. Many vendors will also host User Group Meetings, which may include lunch or dinner (search your favorite vendor’s site for details). The user group meetings are usually designed for physicists who currently use the vendor’s equipment or are interested in buying it, but the small setting (along with free food) is certainly conducive to networking.

This year’s meeting has also blocked out specific time for visiting with vendors and has established the “Partners in Solutions” sessions for both imaging and therapy, during which vendors present practical information that can be translated directly into the clinic. You’ll have the opportunity to meet vendor representatives in a smaller setting where you’re encouraged to ask questions.

Monday, July 21:

11:15 AM – 12:15 PM – Partners in Solutions, Imaging: CT Dose Optimization Technologies I

2:45 – 3:45 PM – Partners in Solutions,Therapy: Tools for TG-142 Linac Imaging QA I

Tuesday, July 22:

11:15 AM – 12:15 PM – Partners in Solutions, Imaging: CT Dose Optimization Technologies II

Wednesday, July 23:

11:15 AM – 12:15 PM – Partners in Solutions, Therapy: Tools for TG-142 Linac Imaging QA II

 3. Conclusion: Be Social!

AAPM’s Students and Trainees Subcommittee hosts the annual Student Night Out, where student members can meet and have some fun. There are several other events in this year’ s Social Program, including a 5K in memory of Dr. Charles Lescrenier and a general Night Out at the Texas State Museum.

The AAPM Annual Meeting is a great opportunity to make connections and maybe even be asked for an informal interview. And don’t be too shy to accept after-hours social invitations; go out and get to know other members! It’s the perfect time to be social while learning about new initiatives and great research in medical physics.

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