IgA is an organization run for and by students of the Immunology Graduate Group at the University of Pennsylvania.
In order to recruit a diverse, inclusive, and talented yearly incoming class, IgA initiated the IGG Diversity Committee involving both faculty and students. We also promoted student engagement at a number of conferences including representation for Penn and IGG at the ABRCMS 2018 conference. In addition, during the 2019 recruitment weekend, IgA brought together recruits and representatives from PGWISE, SACNAS, EEJust, LTBGS, and other groups in order to highlight diversity and student groups at Penn. Our involvement in these outreach programs resulted in a significant increase in applications, admissions, and matriculations from underrepresented groups in the 2019 recruitment cycle, including a number of students first contacted at the above conferences.
We aspire to provide a nurturing student community for students during their tenure at Penn. To that end, we recently partnered with Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) to launch a mental health workshop series covering relevant graduate school topics including imposter syndrome and mindfulness. Additionally, we host regular social events in order to strengthen student ties and support networks. IgA also promotes new student initiatives as a way to give students the opportunity to foster their own leadership skills. Finally, IgA supports outreach both within the immunology community and in the world at large.
Deciding the next step to pursue after earning a PhD is a critical choice in a person’s career. We believe that no matter which path a student chooses, they deserve to be given as many resources as possible to make that informed choice. To that end, IgA has taken an active role in both identifying and promoting existing career development opportunities on campus. We have also launched our own career panel series designed specifically for IGG students. This semester our panels included discussions on what to look for in a post-doc and exploring careers in public health and biotech.