Career outcomes data, whether for Duke or nationally, show that while academia is a strong area of employment for graduates of the UCEM disciplines, many STEM Ph.D.s also pursue careers beyond academia. Professional development for students, then, must help them explore a wide range of career options and develop skills that are broadly transferable to careers in or beyond academia. Engagement in professional development activities can also encourage progress toward degree completion*, create a sense of cohesion and teamwork among the Sloan cohort, and connect Scholars with people and resources.

The Graduate School already provides a robust offering of professional development programs, and the Duke UCEM will weave professional development into various aspects of the Sloan Scholars’ time at Duke. Specifically, we:

  • Devote a part of the Boot Camp and Early Start to professional development.
  • Hold one UCEM lunch workshop each semester focusing on developing key transferable skills.
  • Provide financial support for Scholars to attend relevant national symposia and conferences.
  • Leverage faculty advisers and faculty champions to help Scholars cultivate networks of support in the broader scientific community through conferences and meetings.
  • Use the Duke OPTIONS tool to help Scholars plan and engage in professional development throughout graduate school. The tool’s usage data will also help assess whether professional development resources are meeting UCEM goals.

* – Fuhrmann, C.N., Halme, D.G., O’Sullivan, P.S., and Lindstaedt, B. 2011. “Improving Graduate Education to Support a Branching Career Pipeline: Recommendations Based on a Survey of Doctoral Students in the Basic Biomedical Sciences.” CBE Life Sciences Education, 10, 239-249.