Career Development

The mission of the Career Development Committee is to facilitate career advancement for the ABRF membership, whether one is looking for a new job, or striving to advance in a current role. This mission is based on the understanding that research core professionals are unique and operate at the interface of the administrative, financial and scientific sectors of a research organization. As such, skills beyond scientific expertise are critical for career advancement. CDC achieves its mission through various initiatives, of which the ABRF mentoring program is the cornerstone that aims to provide ABRF members with career advice and network opportunities.  

Questions or interest in joining an ABRF committee? Contact us

Highlights of Recent CDC Initiatives

Monthly Peer Mentoring Conversations

Join your ABRF colleagues to discuss shared questions, common challenges, or issues that you’re facing in your career or professional journey.  The monthly ABRF Peer Mentoring conversations are scheduled for:

Third Tuesdays of the Month
2:00 – 3:00 pm ET
Register here.

Held monthly, these peer-to-peer mentoring discussions will be an opportunity to learn from one another and to identify new ideas or approaches to situations you may face within your roles.

Similar to an informal mentoring program, these small-group conversations are an opportunity to leverage the diverse experiences and abilities within the ABRF Community.


Supporting Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)

CDC has long believed that inclusion of diverse perspectives leads to better ideas, stronger organizations, and sustainable futures. The Committee frequently discusses how to increase participation of under-represented minorities in our career track, and in ABRF. Previous attempts to address this centered around recruiting student applicants to the FASEB MARC travel award to attend ABRF meetings. CDC is developing new DEI approaches that would be more immediately beneficial to both under-represented minorities and to ABRF.

Developing a New Article to Document and Provide Analytics to the ABRF Mentoring Program

Over the last five years, the CDC has learned through this process a great deal about what makes a mentoring program successful. The history of this effort may be of interest to the general ABRF community. Furthermore, a critical analysis of our successes and failures may be useful to other professional societies who want to create mentoring programs. Therefore, the committee has been working on a manuscript describing the development of the ABRF Mentoring Program to share this valuable information.

CDC Events 

Speed Mentoring at ABRF 2022

The Career Development Committee hosted “Speed Mentoring” for the third time at the ABRF 2022 meeting. This session was well-received at the 2020 (in-person) and 2021 (virtual) annual meetings. It enables short (10 minute) meetings between a mentee and several mentors, with the goal of helping the mentee get immediate feedback on a specific issue, or make a connection that could form the start of a longer mentoring relationship. Both in-person and virtual formats were available for 2022 meeting attendees.

Photos from Past CDC Events

2020 CDC Retreat and ABRF Annual Meeting in Palm Springs      

ABRF booth at the annual ABRCMS meeting to attract minority students to ABRF annual meeting

                   CDC members Sherry Thornton and Claudius Mundoma work together to bring awareness to minority students of careers in shared resource facilities at the annual ABRCMS meeting

2020 ABRF Speed Mentoring, with CDC member, Deb McMillan (right), talking to a mentee following the event

Ongoing Initiatives

Core-Specific Job Families

Creation of core-specific job families is an important step to develop a robust career path for ABRF members. Many U.S. Institutions have created job families specifically for directors, managers and staff working in core facilities. The rationale for specific job families is that these positions require advanced training and expertise in research technologies, effective communication skills, and business and finance acumen. Core positions are typically not soft-money positions making them an attractive and robust career path. These job families have names like core scientist, core technician, core staff scientist, core research assistant, or core facility research professional. The following institutions have provided information with core-specific job families. If you would like to add your institution to the list, please contact CDC.

    - Jackson Laboratories (86K)
    - Moffitt Cancer Center (12K)
    - Northwestern University (24K)
    - UCSF Gladstone Institute (33K)
    - University of Iowa (1,668K)
    - University of Kansas Medical Center (457K)
    - University of North Carolina Chapel Hill (161K)
    - University of Pennsylvania (172K)
    - Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Career Development Resources

Core Management Courses (courses are listed for the benefits of ABRF members, not endorsed by CDC)

Leadership and Management in Core Facilities

June 13-16, 2022 (8th Annual Course)
In-person, delivered by Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management

Registration details to be posted here when available.

This executive education program is designed specifically for directors, managers and business administrators overseeing core facilities. The program was developed to enhance participants' ability to think strategically and address the unique challenges of operating a small business within a non-profit environment. Topics to be covered include defining your value proposition, pricing strategies, managerial accounting, marketing, team building & leadership, growth & sustainability, and innovation. In addition, participants work in teams to develop "applied learning projects" that enable them to implement something new into their core facility that they learned about in the course. Course registration is limited to the first 30 applicants, and registration is online.

This usually 4-day course will be delivered by the same esteemed faculty from the Kellogg School who have made the course an exceptional experience for scientists and research administrators in previous years. In 2022 the course will be delivered in person again.

Current Committee Members

Regenia Campbell - East Tennessee State University
Anitha Chennat - University of Michigan
Kym Delventhal - HHMI Janelia (Executive Board liaison)
Luellen Fletcher - University of Pennsylvania
Kevin Gerrish - National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (Co-Chair)
Laura Lewis-Tuffin - Mayo Clinic
Christine O’Connell - Moffitt Cancer Center
Heather (Brewer) Olson – Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Shekhar Patil - Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (Co-Chair)
Sherry Thornton - Cincinnati Children’s Hospital
Xinkun ‘Sequen’ Wang – Northwestern University

Prior Committee Members 

Jim Farmar (Member)
Nancy Fisher (EB Liaison)
Gabriela Grigorean (Member)
Philip Hockberger (Member)
Lisa MacDowell (Member)
Deb McMillen (Member)
Sheenah Mische (Member)
Claudius Mundoma (Executive Board liaison)
Jack Simpson (Ad hoc)
Paula Turpen (Member & Executive Board liaison)