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Training Tomorrow's Science Leaders

We're helping early-career scientists develop their leadership skills.

Published March 16, 2017

Prepare to Lead - Science Alliance Leadership Training (SALT)
Training Tomorrow's Science Leaders

Leadership skills are considered to be essential for success in the STEM fields, but most scientists-in-training do not learn valuable soft skills tools like conflict resolution or interpersonal communication. The Science Alliance Leadership Training (SALT) Program aims to provide early-career scientists with the tools for both personal and institutional success and innovation.

The SALT program seeks to fill a crucial gap for PhD students and is the first leadership program designed exclusively for them. Participants learn how to improve their leadership, communications, conflict resolution, and team dynamics. SALT's goal is to create a cadre of diverse, entrepreneurial leaders in STEM, while providing a unique networking opportunity across disciplines and institutions. However, the program is only open to Science Alliance members from our 30 participating institutions who are PhD students in the STEM fields.

The first iteration of the SALT program was held in August 2016 and brought together 25 students pursuing their doctorates in the STEM fields together for one week of leadership training. As one participant explained, “I wasn't sure what I was expecting from this leadership workshop, but I ended up making strong connections and friendships, identifying my strengths and weaknesses, as well as seriously considering what it is that I want to be "when I grow up" as a scientist and citizen of the world.”

Learn more about how SALT prepares you to lead from this video.


Yaihara Fortis-Santiago, PhD

Director, Science Alliance


SALT's curriculum is highly personalized and takes an “untraditional” approach to leadership development by focusing on interpersonal communication and community building. Participants are required to self-assess and recognize their own strengths and weaknesses before they can lead. They take part in team exercises, role play, and complete a leadership development plan. As one participant said, “You will leave the program seeing your professional and personal worlds in a new light. The career development program creates an environment for your ambitions to be heard, validated, and built upon. Leadership is about knowing and caring about others. This program enables you to learn about yourself and others in a whole new way. Bring your "whole-self" to SALT!”

For many of 2016 SALT participants the program was a transformational experience that changed how they thought about their career opportunities. “The Academy believes that when you put together brilliant minds you get an exchange of ideas that will lead to something brilliant and unexpected,” said Yaihara Fortis-Santiago, PhD, Director of the Science Alliance program. “The potential of this collection of brilliant minds is unmatched. I look forward to seeing where these students will go in their careers.”

For some leadership development tips from the SALT program watch this video.

Leadership Tips from Science Alliance Leadership Training (SALT)

From September 14-17, 2017 the New York Academy of Sciences will host the Science Alliance Leadership Training (SALT) program in Atlanta, GA. Applications are due by June 25, 2017. If you are interested in applying, please follow the instructions from the link to the application.