Award announcement: Graduate School Awards 8 Professional Development Grants for 2023

Computational Biology and Bioinformatics: “Internships in Computational Biology and Bioinformatics: Why, Where, When, and How?”

The Computational Biology and Bioinformatics (CBB) Program will host a three-part series for graduate trainees in the program on the topic “Internships: How Can You and Why Should You?” CBB has a high fraction of Ph.D. trainees who choose non-academic positions after graduation, second highest among all biomedical programs. The graduate school provides a lot of resources for professional development for traditional career paths, with increasing support for alternative careers, but understanding how internships work is still a mystery to most graduate trainees. Computational Biology and Bioinformatics is a highly interdisciplinary program, with faculty from over 18 departments; this means that there is no singular internship experience. This series will help trainees recognize whether an internship fits into their professional development experience, how to search for internships that suit their strengths and preferences, how and when to apply for internships, and how to have a successful internship experience.

Duke Institute for Brain Sciences: “Project Management and Inclusive Mentorship Training for 2023 Duke University Neuroscience Experience (DUNE) Mentors”

The Duke University Neuroscience Experience is a DIBS student-led program, entering its third year, that aims to improve recruitment and retention of individuals from historically marginalized groups in STEM. The focus of the program is to connect Duke graduate students, postdocs and technicians with local high school students, to complete summer research internships. A vital component of this program is the training of these mentors, in both research project planning and management, as well as inclusive mentorship. In the first two years of the program, we conducted mentor training sessions lasting between 1-1.5 hours. In 2023, DUNE hopes to expand these sessions, as well as provide refreshments to supplement these training sessions. Participation in these training experiences provides formal training to our participating graduate students and other trainees in mentorship, conflict management, communication, organization, time management, and leadership.

Duke Institute for Brain Sciences: “Entering Mentoring: A Professional Development Series on the Fundamentals of Effective Mentorship”

Entering Mentoring is a 4-week professional development series on the fundamentals of effective mentorship, specifically tailored towards graduate students and post-doctoral fellows. Across four two-hour sessions, participants will learn and practice common mentoring techniques, including choosing projects for mentees, setting and communicating expectations, checking for understanding, providing feedback, resolving conflict, mentoring inclusively, and promoting professionalism and growth. Workshops include guided class-wide discussions of topics as well as practical exercises and mock-scenarios of difficult conversations that can arise during a mentee-mentor relationship. Entering Mentoring is a part of the DIBS Inclusion & Power Dynamics workshop series, which focuses on issues of diversity and inclusion along with academic climate and culture.

Electrical and Computer Engineering: “Emotional Intelligence Leadership for Scientists & Engineers”

It is emotional competency (EQ), not IQ, that is directly correlated with project success. An article from Harvard Business Review suggests that empathy should be the central focus of an Organization; yet, to our knowledge, Duke does not offer a professional development program that is focused on empathy in the workplace. The Emotional Intelligence Leadership for Scientists & Engineers (EILSE) is a program that was designed to meet that need. EILSE provides an opportunity for Graduate Students, Postdocs, and Faculty alike, to have the opportunity to become a part of a growing EQ-focused community. Once each month, this program will offer a series of faculty-led seminars as well as "for-students-by-students"" workshops where participants generally learn applicable knowledge, develop relevant skills, and share EQ resources such as peer-reviewed papers, books, videos, courses, and podcasts. Invited guest speakers will present while attendees enjoy free coffee and bagels. The program is available to all Duke Graduate School Ph.D. and master's students and will be advertised to all disciplines including non-STEM fields as represented by the Humanities and Social Sciences.

Master of Fine Arts in Dance: Embodied Interdisciplinary Praxis: “Financial Wellbeing and Literacy for Artists Workshops”

Requested funds support the development of financial literacy and economic sustainability for graduate students enrolled in Duke’s MFA Program in Dance: Embodied Interdisciplinary Praxis (MFAEIP Program). Guest facilitator and Creative Capital awardee Amy Elaine Smith will join graduate dance students for a series of virtual workshops on Financial Literacy and Well-Being for Artists. Smith’s teaching offers an overview of current economic conditions, arts organizational practices (bookkeeping, budgeting, tax preparation, financial management), and she will offer critical strategies to improve artists’ economic self-advocacy and money, debt, and credit management. A choreographer herself, Smith will also discuss meaningful ways to grow artists creative capacities for collaboration, resource sharing, and flourishing in dance and the performing arts.

Master of Fine Arts in Experimental Documentary Arts: “A Somatic and Sonic Cinema Salon”

A Somatic and Sonic Cinema Salon brings together filmmakers, programmers and film writers to investigate one specific cinematic formal question: What is the historical impulse to link the body to moving image? Over the course of the multi-day salon invited guests screen and examine their films and installations alongside the screening and discussion of MFA EDA student artworks, all in the quest of exploring the salon's formal question. All salon participants screen, discuss and write essays on the work presented at the salon as well as receive written material about their work.  Each evening of the salon includes a lounge in which cinema and sound art informally play as the backdrop for relaxed conversation inducing an environment of artistic and professional exchange. MFA EDA students create an online publication of the film essays written over the course of the salon, online viewing of excerpts from the films screened at the salon and recordings of discussions. The salon may also include a limited series podcast playing the Q&A, discussions and talks that occurred during the salon.

Neurobiology: “Neurobiology Career Series”

The graduate students of the Duke Neurobiology Department will continue to host a monthly career seminar series featuring professionals with Ph.D. training in neuroscience/neurobiology who have successfully followed a variety of diverse career paths. The primary goal of this series is to increase awareness among graduate students and postdoctoral scholars of careers available to neuroscientists beyond the academic pipeline. In 2023, the series will feature professionals from a variety of fields including data science, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, science writing, teaching, and others. This series will provide a forum for students to learn about available career paths, hear the specific steps they should be taking to prepare themselves for the job search, and make valuable connections that will help them as they transition to the next stages in their careers.

Nicholas School of the Environment Ph.D. Programs: “Ethical and Logistic Considerations for International Research Collaborations in a Changing World”

In a series of workshops, participants will explore advisory principles for consideration for conducting international research projects with a focus on field-based research, highlighting practices for sustaining and enabling international research collaborations at the highest ethical level possible. The workshops will explore language barriers, cultural differences, data management, authorship and ethics while working in an international setting. Participants will gain an understanding about cultural competency and awareness in international settings. They will also get an opportunity to hear about lived experiences of international collaborators and discuss the topics covered in the workshops in the context of their own work.