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Sonia Hall, PhD
January 10, 2017

Sonia Hall assumes newly created leadership role at Genetics Society of America


  • Medical School
GSBS Center for Biomedical Career Development postdoc stepping up focus on early career scientists.

Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences postdoctoral associate Sonia Hall, PhD, has been named to the newly created position of program director for early career scientist engagement by the Genetics Society of America.

“Integrating professional development opportunities into society activities allows members to have access to quality and career-enhancing experiences,” Dr. Hall said. “I’m building an early career scientist steering committee that will be led by graduate student and postdoc members to enhance their professional development in today’s challenging environment for aspiring biomedical scientists in training.”

The committee will focus on building relationships with professionals and companies in the larger scientific community; engaging in early career advocacy efforts; and communicating the impact of fundamental discoveries that originated in the model organism community.

“Creating opportunities for early career scientists to become actively engaged within the society will demonstrate the value added to their own careers when they share their creativity and energy to work on a community project,” Hall said. She will also raise awareness of the benefits of early action toward career development during graduate training, and communicating the importance of foundational biological discoveries for advancing biomedical research and medicine.

Hall brings extensive experience in educating and mentoring other young scientists. After receiving her doctorate in molecular, cellular and developmental biology at the University of Kansas, Hall came to UMMS as a postdoctoral research associate in the lab of Eric Baehrecke, PhD, professor of molecular, cell & cancer biology. She is currently completing a postdoctoral fellowship in the GSBS Center for Biomedical Career Development, where she has been assisting in data analysis and curriculum development for the graduate school’s Broadening Experience in Scientific Training (BEST) grant from the National Institutes of Health.

Hall has been active in the Genetics Society of America since 2010, serving as a member of its trainee organizing committee for two years and, most recently, as trainee representative on the society’s board of directors. During her tenure she has organized innovative programs for society members, including scientific boot camps and panels about scientific careers beyond the lab bench.

Founded in 1931 as the professional scientific society for genetics researchers and educators, the Genetics Society of America has more than 5,500 members worldwide who work to deepen understanding of the living world by advancing the field of genetics. The society also has a commitment to education and fostering the next generation of scholars in the field. 

“The trainee membership of GSA is the future of our field,” said Hall. “We need to be actively engaged with this group of individuals.”

Hall discussed her new role in an interview in Genes to Genomes, a blog of the American Society of Genetics. Read the full interview here.