Skip Over Navigation Links

Career Curriculum Development

Listed below are the details of the projects funded under PA-16-133, PA-15-136


Building Alternative Career Skills with "Science Communication in the Digital Age"
Principal Investigator: Daniel Eberl, Ph.D., University of Iowa
This project will develop a 15-week course, Science Communication in the Digital Age, in order to teach a diverse set of career skills necessary for both academic and non-academic careers. The course will include topics such as effective speaking to audiences including the public, policymakers and industry professionals; communicating to culturally diverse audiences and promoting diversity in science; and audio-visual production, website design and creating online courses. This course will include cross-disciplinary instructors from the departments of rhetoric, journalism and mass communication; it will also include guest speakers and culminate with a career fair to provide information on different career trajectories in biomedical science.
Accomplishments: Developed a new course on 'Science Communication in the Digital Age' to teach graduate students how to communicate their science to a variety of audiences and through a variety of media (especially video). In 2 offerings to date (Spring 2016 and Spring 2017), ~30 students developed communication projects, received training from institutional and national experts, and participated in evaluation efforts to assess the course’s effectiveness. Many students went on to compete successfully in the university’s 3 Minute Thesis competition (3MT). Curricula have already been shared with other institutions interested in initiating similar training. The instructor also contributes elements of this training to graduate program workshops, and other career development events. He also established a new journal “Synthesis: A Digital Journal of Student Science Communication”. Link to external Web site A portion of the award was used to organize and support an annual, all-day graduate career fair/workshop, the first one of which was held April 23, 2016, entitled “Careers outside the Academy: Science Communication”. The following year, the name was revised to “Open Doors” to reflect content and resources for both academic and alternative career paths.

Career Counseling and Networking Program for Biomedical Trainees
Principal Investigator: Julie Blendy Ph.D., University of Pennsylavania
This project will implement a set of career development activities for University of Pennsylvania graduate students to further develop their non-academic skills and prepare them for a variety of careers after graduate school. Activities will include structured interactions with a career counselor; early introduction to the range of careers available to graduates; and workshops on writing, leadership, oral communication and networking with individuals in different biomedical career pathways (science communication, for-profit research, non-profit and government enterprises, academic positions).
Accomplishments: This supplement was used to develop workshops and an all inclusive website to instruct trainees on 1)developing the necessary skills that are needed in any career, such as communication, working in teams and leadership skills and 2) to investigate specific career paths. Alumni returned to Penn for a lunchtime "Learn to Lead" semiar series and were interviewed for Career video's that are available on the website. The establishement of this website is important as it now serves as a focal point for recruiting new students as well as helps current students navigate the diverse options of career choices available. (https://bgscareerdevelopment.com) Link to external Web site

Career Planning Training for Diverse Careers
Principal Investigator: Susan Strome, Ph.D., University of California, Santa Cruz
This project will develop a Career Planning course for mid-level graduate students to provide information and advice about careers in industry, academia and an array of other career options. They will also develop a database of contacts and information about companies and institutions in the Bay Area and about alumni of their graduate program who have pursued different careers. The evaluation includes the use of SurveyMonkey to seek anonymous feedback from graduate student participants on the value and helpfulness of each session and of the course overall, and on how the course can be improved.
Accomplishments: The first offering of Biology 290, Career Planning, for mid-stage graduate students was taught by Needhi Bhalla and Susan Strome in Winter 2017. This 10-week course included an academic careers panel discussion, a non-academic careers panel discussion, sessions with guests from diverse career paths, a visit to a biotech start-up, training in giving effective short “elevator" talks, and working on IDPs. The course was evaluated using an anonymous survey tool. The students were very enthusiastic about having a Career Planning course available to them. The most appreciated sessions were the 2 panel discussions, visiting a start-up company, and learning how to give "elevator" talks. The least appreciated sessions were 2 invited guests discussing transitioning to industry and careers in public policy. In addition, the program developed and distributed to all graduate students (and postdocs) a database of contacts and information about Bay Area biotech and start-up companies and a database of UCSC alumni who are willing to be contacted for career advice.

Fundamentals of Entrepreneurship
Principal Investigator: David Golan, Ph.D., Harvard Medical School
This project is to develop a new course, Fundamentals of Entrepreneurship, which will complement and enhance the offerings of both the Therapeutics Graduate Program and the overall graduate education program at Harvard Medical School. The course activities include a semester-long course on entrepreneurship with four modules: management, working in teams, leadership and communication. The curriculum will be largely case-based, and students will work in small groups. The impact of the course will be assessed by students using an online course-evaluation website and the evaluations will be reviewed to determine the adjustments to be made to the course.
Accomplishments: To develop a new course on the Fundamentals of Entrepreneurship. The course teaches transferable skills in the areas of leadership, management, working in teams, and communication. The course syllabus is being developed and the current plans is to launch this course in October 2017.

Fundamentals of Professional Communication & Project Management
Principal Investigator: Melanie Cobb Ph.D., University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
This project will develop a training course, Fundamentals of Professional Communication and Project Management, for students to further develop project management and communication skills as part of their predoctoral training experience. The course will include interactive workshops with biomedical professionals to discuss application of project management skills, self-assessment inventories to gain understanding of areas for needed skill development, and completion of an individual project requiring the applications of skills and knowledge gained in areas covered by the course.
Accomplishments: Developed curriculum and course materials for 62 T32 trainees on Project Management (PM), fall 2015 topic, 7 weeks, and Communication (C), spring 2016 topic, 7 weeks. Speakers from a range of science careers discussed using PM and C in their professional roles via interactive workshops. Trainees gained understanding of workplace context for PM and C concepts, while also discovering potential science careers. Additionally, all gradaute student participants took career self-assessments (MBTI and Gallup StrengthsFinder), with one workshop dedicated to assessment results. All workshops recorded and available online to course participants as well as other graduate students and postdocs at UTSW. Individual career counseling meetings were held with students wishing to discuss any of the materials or interested in further developing career development ideas.

Health Science Entrepreneurship Boot Camp
Principal Investigator: Philip R. Mayeux, Ph.D., University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
This project is to introduce a new training opportunity, Health Science Entrepreneurship (HSE) Boot Camp The HSE Boot Camp is a 4.5-day intensive course designed to introduce students to the process of strategizing for potential commercialization of biomedical research. Experienced entrepreneurs will immerse trainees in a series of tutorials on business language and strategies to navigate academic barriers to achieving innovation followed by panel discussions and a workshop in which teams of trainees will formulate a roadmap for commercializing a discovery to present to colleagues. The evaluation plan includes documentation of faculty and trainee experiences during the course and longer-term outcomes related to trainees’ experiences in entrepreneurship.
Accomplishments: The supplement was used to develop a one-week Health Science Entrepreneurship Boot Camp to introduce students to the principles of business and entrepreneurship. The first bootcamp was held in August 2016 and was attended by 14 grad students and 2 postdocs. The course provided practical exposure to principles of business and entrepreneurship and introduced students to the process of building a roadmap for commercialization of a health science discovery. Seven months after completing the HSE Boot Camp, one student and her team, Rejuvenics Technologies, won the Arkansas Donald W. Reynolds Governor's Cup business plan competition.

Nanocourse in Basic Elements of Business Strategy for Scientists
Principal Investigator: Catherine G. Dulac, Ph.D., Harvard University
This project proposes to develop a nano-course designed to help scientists become better scientists by drawing from fields such as organizational behavior, management, marketing, and journalism. The course modules include comparing business vs. science strategy, organizational management, and leadership skills, developing science communication skills and enhancing understanding of research management and practice in the industry. The success of the course will be evaluated by collecting detailed evaluation from students for each of the modules they complete and the student evaluation will be taken into consideration to improve the training modules.
Accomplishments: In collaboration with faculty members of the MCO program and Harvard Business School (HBS), we designed an interactive nanocourse called “Management Matters for Scientists” to cover the following: basic elements of business strategy (Module 1), improving leadership, teamwork, and team management (Module 2), developing effective science communication skills (Module 3), and gaining a deeper understanding of research management and practice in industry through field trips (Module 4). The four modules took place between Fall 2016 and Spring 2017. We measured the effectiveness of each of the training modules through a detailed evaluation via an online survey instrument. Overall, students found Module 1 very useful and expressed satisfaction with the in-class case study, effectiveness of the instructor, and duration of the module (3-hrs). The leadership simulation in Module 2 provided important insights into building and managing effective team dynamics which students found extremely useful. Module 3 was held in two separate sessions. The long duration and instructor dynamics presented a challenge to some of the students in session 1 (science writing). However, many of the components (duration, in-class assignments, instructor) in session 2 which covered science presentation skills was well received by students. Module 4 involved trips and panelists from nearby biotech companies which were well attended. To ensure sustainability and accommodate students’ busy research schedules, we are currently redesigning the nanocourse to be administered in one or two-days (instead of modules spread across the year) by focusing only on the key aspects that students found useful (e.g., businesss strategy, group leadership simulation, oral science communication) in the first offering of the nanocourse.

Opportunities for Professional Training in Occupations for Scientists (OPTIONS)
Principal Investigator: Rajini Rao, Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University
The project is to add a training module titled” Opportunities for Professional Training in Occupations for Scientists (OPTIONS)” to the Cellular and Molecular Medicine training program at Johns Hopkins University. The OPTIONS will include training in career options, career skills and career experience. All elements of the OPTIONS curriculum will be evaluated using a combination of surveys and focus groups. The applicant will work with the JHU School of Medicine (JHSOM) Office of Evaluation and Assessment (OAE) to develop evaluation tools and strategy, aligning the strategy with the overall training program evaluation strategy. In addition, OAE will partner with the JHSOM Office of Information technology and OPTIONS to develop a mobile application system to track career curriculum credits and participation.
Accomplishments: The administrative supplement has funded the OPTIONS (Opportunities for Professional Training in Occupations for Scientists) program which is already underway, as follows. With the help of our Professional Development and Career Office we advertised, interviewed, and recruited for the position of Academic postdoctoral fellow to help design, implement and roll out the program. We hired Catherine Hueston, a recent Ph.D. graduate from the Neuroscience program at Duke with impressive credentials. Catherine started this January and has already met with an Advisory group of graduate students from CMM and other programs that was put together for this purpose (they also participated in the interviews and recruiting of the postdoc). The incoming 2017 class will receive training in three stages. In the Career Exploration stage (years 1 and 2) they will attend a minimum of 4x 1hour “Casual Conversation” events. These are scheduled monthly and involve talks from Johns Hopkins alumni and others who present and answer questions about their careers. In Career Skills stage (years 3 and 4), they will attend a minimum of 2 day-long professional development retreats (2x8 h). An example is the writing workshop run by Alan Alda Center for Communications. In the Career Experience stage (years 5 and beyond), trainees will have the opportunity to apply for experiential learning opportunity, such as an internship or externship. These are competitive applications and require mentor approval. The OPTIONS program is available to all current trainees, but will be required for the class matriculating in 2017 and ahead. 

Professional Preparedness in Biotechnology and Bioengineering
Principal Investigator: Martin L. Yarmush, Ph.D., Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
This project is to develop a 3-credit course, Professional Preparedness in Bioengineering. The course topics include: life and biomedical sciences ecosystem, managing communications, organizations and partnerships, project planning and management, customer focus, financial management, operations management, risk management, quality and safety, regulatory processes and student presentations. The evaluation plan includes collecting an anonymous, brief on-line survey from students early in the course (within 3-4 weeks), and providing the results to instructors to allow them make alterations early in the semester. Students will also be asked to complete a course evaluation at the end of the semester that includes a number of standard questions and course-specific items selected by each instructor.
Accomplishmnets: A new 3-credit course entitled “Professional Preparedness for Biotechnology Practitioners” is under development and will be offered in the first session of the summer semester (May 31-June 24, 2017) with Registration in February 2017.  It will be advertised on the summer session website and to all Biotech Fellows and all engineering and life science students, including those enrolled in NIH, NSF, and DoEd programs focused on biotechnology and life sciences. Continuing to gather input from industrial partners (Stryker, Siemens, Celgene, Janssen, and Merck, and others) to identify the skill gap and desired areas of professional preparedness. Continuing to build individual program modules while utilizing existing resources to support cost-effecient program. To date, 11 students have pre-registered.

Responsible Conduct of Research and Career Planning
Principal Investigator: Lawrence H. Snyder, Ph.D., Washington University
This project proposes two new, related curricular courses to broaden training and career development for a variety of career outcomes. The first pilot course is on Ethics, Bioscience, and Society and the curriculum include four arenas of responsible conduct of research (academic research, industry, nonprofits and the public sector and entrepreneurship). The second course is on Career Planning and Professionalism to guide students through career planning and professional skills development. The impact of the courses will be evaluated by assessing the essays written by students individually and in team at the beginning and end of the class based on same prompt.
Accomplishmnets: Career Planning and Professionalism is currently underway with 2 of 5 class meetings completed. This pilot course has enrolled 12 students: 4 students from the Neurosciences Ph.D. program and 8 students from other DBBS Ph.D. programs. Students are writing weekly short essays on career and professional development topics that contribute to course assessment data. Ethics, Bioscience, and Society is currently under development by Dr. Thoroughman. He is working with career-related student groups to create a curriculum that reflects real-world responsible conduct of research topics from a range of bioscience economic sectors.

Short Courses, Workshops and a Career Development Symposium
Principal Investigator: Alice Barkan, Ph.D., University of Oregon
This project is to develop and implement new training program elements that will benefit all predoctoral students affiliated with the University of Oregon’s T32-funded programs in genetics, molecular biology and developmental biology. Activities include technical skills short courses on biological imaging, flow cytometry and modern molecular cloning and genome editing. In addition, there are plans to offer professional development workshops and to host a career development symposium. The impact of the new training program elements will be assessed by surveys, in-person interviews, informal discussions and focus groups.
Accomplishments: The administrative supplement funded several technical skills short courses and professional development workshops. A workshop on science writing, was held in September and attended by all trainees. ‘Before’ and ‘after’ writing samples and a course evaluation were used to assess the program. Technical skills courses on FACS/Cell Sorting, Biological Imaging, and Genome Editing were offered Winter and Spring terms, and a Career Skills Symposium was held in May. In addition, an online portal to connect predoctoral students with internship opportunities outside of academia was established. Most of these activities were enthusiastically received by students, and this pioneering round provided templates to build upon in the future.

Skills Development for Diverse Scientific Careers: A New Predoctoral Course in Cellular and Molecular Biology
Principal Investigator: Susan J. Baserga, M.D., Ph.D., Yale University
This project will develop a new course Link to external Web site to prepare students to develop skills for diverse scientific careers. The course activities will include biotechnology entrepreneurship; how to run clinical trials, both in academia and in pharma; the business and scientific sides of biotech; strategies for optimal professional productivity; how to convert a CV into a resume; and how to find a postdoctoral fellowship or research residency. Each training activity will be evaluated individually with a Yale Qualtrics web-based survey. Paper surveys will be collected if the online survey has a low return rate.
Accomplishments: We have developed a new course for our Ph.D. and MD/Ph.D. students that addresses topics that were not covered before in any curriculum at Yale. We have run the “Skill Development for Diverse Scientific Careers Course, B&BS 550b” over 10 weeks in the spring semester of 2017, meeting once/week from 5-6:30 PM. We advertised the course via the Biological and Biomedical Sciences (BBS) newsletter, through the MD/Ph.D. program, by each graduate department, and on posted fliers. Course materials were distributed via a web-based system for each session. The sessions combined didactic presentations (45 min) with faculty led discussion and networking opportunities. Speakers were chosen from our own successful graduates, when possible, to expose our current students to role models as well. So as not to increase the course-taking burden on our students, the course was optional, and students were able to attend individual sessions. Course credit (Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory) was awarded to every student who attended 80% of the sessions. Attendees came from a wide variety of biological science departments, training grants and from all Ph.D. years. The syllabus and most of the slide decks for the presentations can be found on the Yale Predoctoral Program in Cellular and Molecular Biology website at Career Development Opportunities. Link to external Web site Next year we plan on adding new sessions on careers in public policy and in publishing/editing. The Administrative Supplement was an important catalyst for putting this new course in place on an ongoing basis.

​​
This page last reviewed on September 12, 2017