From past Burroughs Wellcome Fund Board Chair Dr. Nancy Andrews:
"In science, as in many fields, building your network is very important. You do that by going to meetings, or becoming involved in a professional society. You do it by just getting to know other people at the institutions you pass through during your training and as you start your career.
Looking back at my career, the people I met in graduate school, in medical school, at the various committees and organizations and institutions have made a difference. They have enriched my science in various ways. They were there when I needed to learn a new technique or helped me find someone in a field I knew little about. I could call a number of people from a rich spectrum of connections that I developed over the years.
In some ways, this is something you’ll do passively over time, but it makes a huge difference. I still think back to people I knew even as an undergraduate and still find that they help me in a field outside my own or help me recruit someone who is in their field. Science is a lot better to have that breadth. Constantly challenge the way you look at science, go outside your own field, and develop lifelong connections.
You may already be doing it, but do it more."