You are here

Professional Development Series

Events in the Professional Development Series can help students evaluate and prepare for the range of career options open to master's- and PhD-prepared professionals. This series is designed to broaden graduate students’ career perspectives and develop competencies in communication, self-awareness, professional adaptability, leadership, and professionalism.

Programming is offered on a two-year cycle and change each semester; over the course of two years, the series includes opportunities to learn about career paths in each of the five major career sectors available to alumni of The Graduate School: academia, business, entrepreneurship, government, and nonprofit.

Fall 2019 Events

Academic Job search Series

Graduate students and postdocs interested in exploring career options in academia can participate in the Academic Job Search Series throughout the 2019-20 academic year. The series addresses tenure-track faculty positions during the fall semester and broad career options in academia during the spring semester. You can find topics relevant to all students as well as specialized panels for two broad disciplinary areas: the humanities and social sciences, and sciences and engineering. This series is offered every two years and is co-sponsored with the Duke Career Center and the Office of Postdoctoral Services.

Core Competencies

An Introduction to Your Professional Development at Duke: A Workshop for Master’s Students
Friday, August 30, 2019, 12:00 pm to 1:30 pm

Whether you’re a new master's student or about to finish your program, this workshop will help you familiarize yourself with the career and professional development resources, programs, and opportunities available at Duke and beyond. More information

Communication Styles: Mine, Yours, and How to Have an Effective Interaction
Tuesday, September 3, 2019, 9:30 am to 11:00 am

Ever wonder why you may have some difficulties communicating with certain people? Are there exchanges with others that frustrate you? It's probably not the person but rather the difference in the styles of communication. Participants will learn how to recognize the four different communication styles as well as how to best interact with those whose style differs from their own. More information

An Introduction to Your Professional Development at Duke: A Workshop for Ph.D. Students
Thursday, September 5, 2019, 12:00 pm to 1:15 pm

Whether you’re a new PhD student or about to finish your program, this workshop will help you familiarize yourself with the career and professional development resources, programs, and opportunities available at Duke and beyond, including the new Duke OPTIONS tool. More information

Making a Successful Impression (and How to Handle Mistakes If You Make Them)
Monday, September 9, 2019, 3:00 pm to 4:30 pm

Do you have an upcoming interview, conference presentation, challenging conversation, or other situation for which you'd like advice? This workshop with In The Public Eye President Joy Javits will help you build the skills you need to make a good impression. More information


Know Thyself: An Introduction to ImaginePhD
Thursday, September 12, 2019, 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm

Spend an hour getting to know yourself better with ImaginePhD, a free online tool that helps you assess your skills and interests as well as examine your values. ImaginePhD can help you surface gaps between your skills—the things you’re good at doing—and your interests—the activities that bring you satisfaction. Armed with that self-knowledge, you can make a plan to grow in the skills that matter to you. More information

How to Make the Most of VersatilePhD (Webinar)
Thursday, September 12, 2019, 8:00 pm

Learn how to navigate new features and the most popular resources on VersatilePhD, a online portal for PhD students, postdocs, and graduate alumni to explore careers beyond the tenure track. Learn about the VPhD Career Finder, the Options for Success career discovery course, and the Smart Jobs initiative in this webinar. Duke's subscription to VersatilePhD is sponsored by The Graduate School. More information

Graduate Etiquette Workshop and Luncheon
Friday, September 13, 2019, 11:15 am to 1:00 pm

Networking and interviewing activities frequently involve the challenge of balancing professional conversation with good table manners in handling food and drink. This workshop will build your skills and confidence in dining etiquette. Registration closes Thursday, September 5 at 11:59 pm. More information

Leveraging Your Strengths
Monday, September 16, 2019, 12:00 pm to 1:30 pm

Using the CliftonStrengths assessment, this workshop will help you explore a new way to talk about your skills. We will investigate strategies for communicating your strengths to others, the challenges that your strengths might pose for you, and ways you can use information about your strengths to thrive in a team setting. All participants will receive a free CliftonStrengths assessment to complete prior to the workshop; registration closes September 8 at 11:59 pm. More information

Speed Networking with Duke Alumni
Friday, September 20, 2019, 10:00 am to 11:15 am

Whether you're interested in meeting professionals in industry, startup, government, or academia, you'll find leaders in these sectors among the members of The Graduate School's Board of Visitors. This group advises the Dean of The Graduate School and helps to support and promote the mission of the school. Take advantage of this unique opportunity to meet these members in a speed-networking context. Registration closes Tuesday, September 17 at 11:59 pm. More information

Cultivating a Culture of Mentoring: A Workshop for Graduate Students
Monday, September 23, 2019, 3:00 pm to 4:30 pm

How can you establish supportive mentoring relationships? What is the role of good mentoring in your success as a graduate student? Join in the conversation in this interactive workshop. The goal of the session is to empower members of the graduate student community to become partners in the mentoring process, making it a deeply rooted part of the Duke experience. More information

Preparing Ph.D. Applications: A Workshop for Master’s Students
Friday, September 27, 2019, 12:00 pm to 1:30 pm

Master's students can pursue many options after graduation. If you’re considering applying to Ph.D. programs, join us for a workshop that will provide insight into the decision-making processes of doctoral admissions committees. Learn how to tailor your application to the institution and compete successfully in this workshop. More information

The Mentoring Relationship: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly
Wednesday, October 2, 2019, 9:30 am to 11:00 am

Do you ever question your role in your lab? Do you hesitate to address issues with your mentor? Do you wonder how to be successful during this step in your career? In this interactive session, learn how to navigate the mentoring relationship, including how to promote open communication, work more productively with your mentor, and get the most out of your training experience. More information

Mapping your Mentoring Network: Identifying and Developing the Mentorship You Need
Wednesday, October 16, 2019, 9:30 am to 11:00 am

In an ideal world, your boss/PI would also be your mentor. However, that doesn’t always happen – and even if it does, you may need more than one mentor to get to where you want to go. In this workshop, we will discuss how to find your mentor(s), how to ask them for guidance, and what to do to keep your relationship strong. More information

“Leave a Lasting Impression: Interviewing Tips and Tricks from a Recovering Recruiter“ with Stacy Schnieber, Vice President of People and Culture, Camargo Pharmaceutical Services
Tuesday, October 29, 2019, 9:30 am to 10:30 am

Preparing for an interview can be exhausting, even for the most seasoned professional.  It takes a lot more than practicing standard interview questions you may find from a quick Google search!  From researching the job and company, to making that first great impression, this session will give you insider information from a veteran HR professional. Come prepared to learn about connecting with the interviewer, answering interview questions and general etiquette.  You’ll leave armed with the confidence to ace that next interview! More information

Presentation Skills Peer Feedback and Coaching: A Two-Part Series
Friday, November 1, 2019 and Friday, November 15, 2019, 10:00 am to 1:00 pm

What makes a presenter effective? Is it content, delivery, or visuals—or the combination of them all? In this two-part series, you’ll have the opportunity to work on your areas for greatest improvement in your presentations.  Through readings, peer feedback, expert coaching, and viewing videorecordings of your own presentations, you’ll identify and work on targeted goals that can make the greatest impact in your success as a presenter. Applications for this limited-enrollment opportunity due Friday, October 4 at 11:59 pm. More information

Communicating Honestly (but Tactfully) with Mentors and Mentees
Wednesday, November 6, 2019, 9:30 am to 11:00 am

Many of us strive for perfection—or at least near perfection—and we want others to see us as exceptional. Perhaps for that reason, do you find it difficult to receive criticism from your mentor? Do you hesitate to be honest with your mentor? Do you struggle with how to provide feedback to the students or techs in the lab? Through discussion and role-plays, we’ll explore how to provide and receive feedback that will help us in our quest to be exceptional. More information

Moving From Mentee to Mentor
Wednesday, November 13, 2019, 9:30 am to 11:00 am

Congratulations! You are finishing your PhD or postdoctoral research and hoping to secure a faculty or industry position soon! You feel confident about your research, but you may have questions about building your lab personnel. How do you figure out whom to hire? How do you set up productive, working relationships with your mentees from the beginning? How can you give feedback? In this interactive session, discover how to successfully move from mentee to mentor. More information

Do You Know Your Rules? Improving Intercultural Interactions
Wednesday, December 11, 2019, 9:30 am to 11:00 am

Knowing your own internal rules and expectations can have a positive impact on interactions with your fellow postdocs and students, family, and most importantly, your mentor.  The rules that direct our behaviors are often cultural – learned in childhood.  Like fish unaware of the water they live in, we can be just as oblivious to the cultural norms that drive our behavior.  In this workshop, we’ll explore some of our own rules and what values we are maintaining by following the rules.  We will also discuss how to communicate our rules and expectations to others in a positive way, and how to understand how others’ rules may affect their behavior. More information

Ph.D. Career Paths

From French Literature to the Tech Industry: A Conversation with Maria Bezaitis, PhD’94
Friday, October 11, 2019, 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm

Dr. Maria Bezaitis received her Ph.D. in Romance Languages at Duke, launching a career that has traversed ethnography and design planning for product development, global research experience, and now the tech industry. She is currently Senior Principal Engineer at Intel, leading the Market Pathfinding team on the Next Generation Standards Group, and President of the Ethnographic Practice in Industry Conference.  During her visit to campus to be inducted into the Few-Glasson Alumni Society, Dr. Bezaitis will join students for an informal conversation about her career path over lunch. More information

STEM PhD Careers at RTI International: A Panel Discussion with Duke Alumni
Thursday, October 24, 2019, 11:30 am to 12:30 pm

What opportunities are available for STEM PhDs at RTI International? Join James Harrington, PhD ’10, Melanie Silinski, PhD ’03, and Ian Stewart, PhD ’16 for a panel discussion of their research careers at RTI International and their paths to their current positions. More information
A Humanities Faculty Career at a Small Liberal Arts College: Lunch with Laury Ward, PhD’11
Dr. Laury Ward, Associate Professor of Classics at Hillsdale College, will join interested students at an informal lunch gathering to discuss her career as a faculty member at a small liberal arts college. Join the lunch to hear about the differences between faculty careers at a research institution like Duke and a SLAC, to learn how she succeeded on the path to tenure and promotion, or to gain insight on how to navigate hiring at religiously influenced institutions. More information
Innovative Careers for PhDs: A Workshop
Thursday, November 7, 2019, 12:00 pm to 4:30 pm

The career landscape for PhDs has changed dramatically, with the majority of PhD holders now pursuing careers beyond the academy. What are these careers, and how do you position yourself to be competitive for one? In this workshop, you’ll explore careers in startups, private industry, and beyond, then learn how you can find opportunities—and practice marketing yourself to best highlight your skills and experience. More information

From Lemurs to Student Life: A Career in Academic Administration with Michele Rasmussen, PhD’99
Friday, November 8, 2019, 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm

Since completing her PhD at Duke in Biological Anthropology (now Evolutionary Anthropology), Dr. Michele Rasmussen has grown her career in academic administration to include higher orders of primates than her subjects at the Duke Lemur Center during graduate school. Now the Dean of Students in the University at the University of Chicago, she draws on prior experiences as Dean of the Undergraduate College at Bryn Mawr College and as an Academic Dean in Trinity College and Director of the Academic Advising Center here at Duke. More information

Past Events


Melissa Bostrom, PhD
Assistant Dean for Graduate Student Professional Development
Duke University Graduate School