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2018 Professional Development Grant Recipients

Award Announcement

Chemistry

The Career Development Chair of the Duke Graduate Chemistry Council aims to provide resources for PhD students regarding careers outside of industry and academia that are considered nontraditional. Through our monthly Coffee with PhDs series, we provide an intimate networking event with a local PhD graduate in a wide range of careers (e.g. government, consulting, science writing, etc.) This gives a small group of graduate students a chance to ask questions one-on-one, as well as learn about personal experiences that make PhD graduates successful in their field. We also host an annual Non-Traditional Careers Event, where a panel of 5-6 PhD graduates from a wide range of fields discuss their experiences and share their tips and tricks in making the transition from graduate school to their respective careers. The panel is followed by a networking session where graduate students are given the chance to network with 2-3 PhD graduates from fields of their preference. Over the past three years, these two sets of events have proven to be useful not only for the students in the Department of Chemistry, but to the Graduate School community at Duke as well.

Classical Studies

The graduate students of the department of Classical Studies are seeking a professional development grant in order to hold a colloquium on the mentorship of diverse students, undergraduate and graduate, in Classical Studies and in the humanities writ large. We believe, as the Graduate school does, that mentoring support ensures that students will be well trained, successfully complete their degrees, and obtain promising job opportunities. We believe, too, that graduates, especially ones who serve as instructors, are key to undergraduate success inasmuch as graduate instructors serve as mentors themselves and as pathways to faculty mentors. Mentorship, however, is one of the elements of academic life that is rarely a formal part of PhD training. Because it blends formal and informal relationships, mentorship is, in our view, a domain where social norms and practices, necessarily inflected by race, ethnicity, gender, national, and socioeconomic background, can foster or frustrate the development of mentee-mentor relationships.

Neurobiology

This proposal describes programming that will survey of a broad range of careers that reflect the diverse interests and skills of students in the Neurobiology Graduate Program. Our aim is to provide opportunities for students to engage professionals with training in neuroscience/neurobiology who have successfully followed a variety of career paths, including academic research. We seek funding to host individuals representative of non-academic sectors and provide a forum for our students to discuss navigating the academic job market with Neurobiology faculty at various stages in their careers.

Nursing

Development and effective use of a professional online profile is becoming an increasingly critical skill for PhD and postdoctoral students in order to (1) accelerate building an interdisciplinary social network, (2) participate in conversations to exchange scientific ideas, and (3) advance their career, whether as faculty members or in broader career options. The number of professional organizations, scientific conferences, universities, and leading researchers in any given scientific field developing an online presence via Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn has exploded in the past decade. Traditional means of disseminating knowledge through top-tiered, peer-reviewed publications remains the gold standard skill PhD and postdoctoral students must master, but the ability to effectively use social media and technology as a scientist is becoming an increasingly vital skill to communicate with the public and policymakers. Therefore, the purpose of this proposal is to provide professional development opportunities for PhD and post-doctoral students at Duke University (Duke) and the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill (UNC-CH) Schools of Nursing through MEDIA: Media Engagement Development In Academics. Students participating in MEDIA will curate their online presence, and develop skills to harness the power of social media and technology to communicate their science for an international audience.

Political Science

The Women in Political Science (WIPS) Group is an organization of female graduate students in the Political Science Department. Our goal is to reach out to the entire female academic community at Duke and to promote a discussion of the common challenges we face and to provide the tools needed to have a successful career. Some of the informational events we have hosted or plan to host include: exploring academic and non-academic career options, negotiation and communication skills, and approaches for achieving a healthy work-life balance. Our Duke-hosted events are open to students and postdocs in applied social science fields throughout the Triangle.

Psychology & Neuroscience

The primary aims of the Women's Support Network (WSN) are 1) to facilitate a supportive network that grows feelings of belonging and self-efficacy through exposure to peer and expert role models and direct mentorship and 2) to promote the work of senior women in the field as well as the diverse career paths that they may take. Composed of faculty, post-doctoral researchers, and students, the WSN will provide members of the Psychology and Neuroscience community with networking opportunities and broader knowledge of diverse STEM career paths while showcasing women pioneers. It will further host panel and meet-and-greet events dedicated specifically to answering questions from junior women researchers about how to navigate inherent bias as their careers develop.

University Program in Environmental Policy (UPEP)

The ONE-STEP we propose is a series of career development activities aiming to explore career paths for interdisciplinary programs by facilitating knowledge sharing among peers, recently graduated alumni and faculty members. Unlike traditional programs with accumulative knowledge, experiences and institutional framework on career development, interdisciplinary programs established more recently face a special set of challenges that need support from the Graduate School. Though ONE-STEP prioritizes the needs of UPEP students, the activities will be open to the public, as experiences we wish to share are relevant for other interdisciplinary programs and for students from traditional departments that wish to pursue interdisciplinary career options. We will also summarize the ideas generated in these events and make them available online. In addition to promoting knowledge and experience sharing, this series of events will generate information necessary to update our program handbook to cover career-related topics and serve as foundation to design targeted career development training in the future.