You would think writing a short blog post on my ECS experiences would be an easy task, that is until I realised, I had to condense these experiences into 500 words (which by the way, is an impossible task). It is hard to remember a time in my academic career that has not been influenced in some way by SfAM or the ECS committee. From my first ECS conference as an attendee, to more recent ECS research symposiums as an organiser, it has been a rewarding experience to watch it develop and grow.
In 2014 after attending many SfAM events where I felt like a valued member of the “SfAMily”, I applied to join the ECS committee, aiming to help others just like I had been helped. From designing employability workshops, to conferences that empowered ECS members to talk about their research in a safe environment, I was able to give back to the community which had once helped me. During this time, I was fortunate to be given opportunities that enabled me to grow as a person, learn new skills and more about myself as I was pushed out of my comfort zone (as many fellow introverts know, public speaking is kind of a terrifying ordeal). One of these opportunities was to chair the ECS committee and build on.
During a period of increased growth, engagement at events increased dramatically as they became bigger and more ambitious year on year. This continued success is the culmination of past and present committee members and SfAM staff, and their ability to develop the opportunities made available to all ECS members. A big thanks goes to all committee members before me for making my job just that little bit easier, and I know those that follow after will take this committee to new heights.
I have many fond memories of my time on the committee, however one of the most rewarding has been engaging with the wide diversity of people that make up the ECS membership. This aspect of the role undoubtedly helped shape my career aspirations (which have since been realised) of becoming a lecturer in higher education so that I could help train and educate the next generation of scientists. Oh, and I also got to interview Sir David Attenborough…
It has been enjoyable to reflect on all of my ECS experiences for this blog post (even if I couldn’t share them all with you). I spent 5 years on the committee and in this time, I was fortunate enough to work alongside some inspirational people, develop lifelong skills, and learn from some of the best scientists. I can only thank the members, fellow committee members, and the society for what was a career changing experience that has shaped the person I am today.
Dr Aled Roberts
Lecturer at Swansea University Medical School
Former ECS Committee Chair