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Professional Development Grant Recipients: 2016 Funding Year

Award announcement

Chemistry

The Duke Graduate Chemistry Council (GCC) will expand the reach of its Non-traditional Careers for Stem Ph.D.s program, piloted during 2014–2015. The proposed events will expose STEM graduate students to nonacademic career paths and provide multiple networking opportunities. The program comprises a focal event (Non-traditional Careers for STEM Ph.D.s) and an event series (Coffee Breaks with Ph.D.s). 

Non-traditional Careers for STEM Ph.D.s will include talks and networking sessions from six speakers in nontraditional career fields such as science writing, educational outreach, and science policy. Coffee Breaks with Ph.D.s is a monthly event series consisting of small-group discussions between professionals in nonacademic careers and chemistry graduate students.

Evolutionary Anthropology

The evolutionary anthropology program aims to meet students’ professional development needs by tapping into Physical Biology of Organisms, a recently founded consortium of faculty and students from multiple disciplines at five institutions. The consortium will develop a series of four professional development workshops run by faculty, a retreat with an outside speaker and workshops, and a robust alumni network to meet the professional development goals of students. 

Topics for the workshops will be based on student requests.  The workshops will be held at Duke but will be open to all students involved in the consortium, which includes Duke, North Carolina State University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina Central University, and Virginia Tech.

Literature

Alt-Activism, a Duke graduate student initiative, is working to expand the notion of academic career “alternatives” beyond the binary of professoriate/private sector. Rather than imagining alt-ac as a form of advanced vocational training, the initiative aims to turn scholarly research and interests toward renewed civic, community, and social justice engagement.

Alt-Activism will bring four area activists to campus for a series of interactive workshops designed to educate members of the Duke community about local social justice issues and to give them the tools, skills, and contacts to contribute to these projects in their academic and professional lives. The workshops are designed to foster dialogue about social justice issues (especially those pertaining to education, policing, and prisons); promote a commitment to social justice; offer students a venue for learning effective organizing tools and methods; and strengthen relations between Durham and Duke.

Marine Science and Conservation

The Marine Science and Conservation program will hold a series of workshops geared toward helping graduate students and faculty create and maintain personal and laboratory websites. The proposed workshops would address basic elements of professional web design, such as audience identification and aesthetics, and delve into more complex issues such as search engine optimization, platform choices, and web-hosting options.

The focus will be on providing students and faculty with the tools needed to be accessible to employers and collaborators and make positive digital impressions. The workshops will be led remotely by web-design consultants and held at the Duke Marine Lab in Beaufort, North Carolina.

Nursing

The Duke University School of Nursing Ph.D. program will partner the UNC-Chapel Hill nursing Ph.D. program to implement a series of activities to support peer mentorship of developing nursing scientists, including doctoral students and postdoctoral fellows at both institutions.

The two nursing Ph.D. programs will pilot and evaluate roundtable discussions, an alumni-led session, and other activities, with the intent of creating a joint peer mentorship program in 2016–2017 and continuing development of anearly-career nurse scientist network.

Statistical Science

The statistical science master’s program proposes an alumni dinner event where several alumni in both research and industry positions around the country will be invited to talk about their organizations and their professional lives. The objective of the dinner is to learn about the depth and variety of industry and research applications within statistics, while providing  a networking opportunity for students. The event will be open to first- and second-year master’s students.

University Program in Genetics and Genomics

The University Program in Genetics and Genomics will host a series of workshop focused on specific aspects of career development pertinent to students earning a Ph.D. in genetics and genomics. The workshops will give students the opportunity to actively participate and engage in networking, science communication, and mentoring.

Topics covered at the meetings will include, but will not be limited to,

  • conducting informational sessions and interviews,
  • careers for students in genetics and genomics with an emphasis on positions held by UPGG alumni,
  • the grant-writing application process, directed by UPGG students who have earned NIH/NSF fellowships,
  • a preliminary exam preparation session,
  • the job application process for academic and non-academic positions, and
  • developing professional skills within and outside the lab.

Women’s Studies

The women's studies program will host a series of three workshops designed to prepare graduate students and postdocs to apply for jobs in interdisciplinary fields. The first workshop will deal with academic jobs and help participants translate their disciplinary work for an interdisciplinary audience. The second workshop will focus on careers in administration and help participants present their qualifications and skills in a broader interdisciplinary work environment. The third workshop will give participants the opportunity to get feedback on their own application materials.