It was an honour and a privilege to be the first elected Early Career Representative (ECR) to HSS council. I held this position from January 1, 2020 until December 31, 2022. My primary responsibility as ECR was to speak on behalf of the graduate student and early career community in the council meetings of the History of Science Society (HSS) in order to represent our interests and ensure that our voices were heard.
In the role I leveraged my enthusiasm, my leadership experience, and my contacts within HSS to foster the development of a more inclusive, cooperative, and collaborative academic community and worked to use our presence in council to effect positive change in our profession.
The Early Career Representative (ECR) has three primary responsibilities:
1) to present the thoughts and concerns of the graduate and early career community to the HSS Council;
2) to speak and comment on matters brought to and discussed in council from the point of view of this community;
3) to convey pertinent information directly to this community on behalf of the council.
Background: At the 2019 annual meeting of HSS in Utrecht, the Graduate and Early Career Caucus (GECC) brought a motion to council proposing the creation of a new elected position: the Early Career Representative (ECR). The ECR is explicitly and expressly tasked with speaking on behalf of the graduate and early career community in Council meetings.
GECC moved to create this position for two reasons. First, there had been no formal mechanism in place to facilitate the exchange of information between the members of the Graduate and Early Career Community, our Caucus (GECC), and the rest of HSS as an organization. All communications had previously been ad hoc and due entirely to individual initiatives, which were difficult to sustain over extended periods of time. Second, though HSS had made and continued to make an effort to recruit younger scholars for council, this initiative had not generally been successful. We at GECC wanted to ensure that there will always be someone speaking on our behalf in council and serving as a liaison for our community.
The motion approving the position was passed in July 2019 and the first election was held in November/December of the same year.