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Graduate School Awards A Record 12 Professional Development Grants for 2022

List of grant recipients

The Graduate School has awarded 12 Professional Development Grants for the 2022 calendar year—a record number of recipients for the grant, which was established in 2014.

The grants provide up to $2,000 to help graduate students and their departments create discipline-specific professional development programming and resources for exploring both academic and broad career options. Such programming complements the offerings from The Graduate School, which focus on topics that are applicable across disciplines.

“The strength of this year’s proposals demonstrated a powerful commitment to students’ professional development by departments and programs,” said Melissa Bostrom, Assistant Dean for Graduate Student Professional Development and administrator of the grant. “Their innovative approaches reflect a recognition that the past two years have wrought important changes on both the competencies expected of our students and on the professional opportunities available to them after graduation.”

Given the quality of this year’s proposals and the strong interest from departments and programs in initiating their own programming, The Graduate School will increase the amount of annual funds available for the 2023 Professional Development Grants by 25 percent.

The 2022 grant recipients and their proposed programming:

Duke Institute for Brain Sciences: Supporting four two-hour sessions in the DIBS Inclusion & Power Dynamics workshop series, focusing on the fundamental principles of a good mentoring relationship geared toward graduate students and postdoctoral fellows.

Graduate Liberal Studies: Sponsoring a two-day event featuring recent GLS alumni in conversation with current students around the topic “What Can You Do with a Master’s in Liberal Studies?” 

Integrated Toxicology & Environmental Health Program: Hosting a three-part series—“Leveraging Your Strengths, Learning From Alumni”—for graduate student trainees in ITEHP and the Duke University Superfund Research Program.

Program in Literature: Holding a Professionalization Colloquium Series in Literature to discuss perspectives on both the academic and the nonacademic job markets for students with a doctorate degree in Literature.

Medieval and Renaissance Studies: Funding a workshop in academic publishing that will provide students with some proficiency in editorial procedures and a basic level of experience that could help them apply for a job with an academic publisher as an alternative to a faculty position.

Music: Supporting a six-part series titled “Maintaining a Vibrant Creative and Academic Career,” which will connect graduate students with a diverse pool of professional artists and scholars both in and outside the academy to develop tools that will help maintain their creative and academic careers post-graduation.

Neurobiology: Hosting a career seminar series that provides the opportunity for neuroscience graduate students and postdoctoral scholars to engage with professionals with training in neuroscience or neurobiology who have successfully followed diverse career paths.

Political Science: Funding events hosted by Women in Political Science, an organization of female graduate students in the department, covering topics such as academic and non-academic career options, negotiation and communication skills, and approaches for achieving a healthy work-life balance.

Population Health Sciences: Initiating a shadowing program where all 40 master’s and Ph.D. students in the department will participate in a local experience with Duke alumni during the fall of 2022, which should be helpful for graduate students as they engage in career exploration.

Psychology & Neuroscience: Hosting four virtual workshops during 2022 featuring experts addressing the following goals: focusing on anti-racism as a core value of the program, elevating multicultural awareness as a core competency of professional development, and building skills to strengthen our abilities to dismantle racism in clinical and research work.

Romance Studies: Providing graduate students in the humanities greater opportunities for pre-dissertation professional development through a four-part speaker series that addresses common difficulties for beginning Ph.D. students, such as practicalities of the pre-dissertation process, taxes and budgeting, and accessing appropriate resources for mental health care.

Sociology: Funding expert-led Bystander training focused on explicit bias, with the goal of equipping members of the department with the tools to better identify, react, and address racist attitudes and behaviors in order to help foster an environment that is committed to and invites diversity.

Details on each proposal