WPI is committed to providing our students with the best possible graduate education. We know that scientists, engineers, teachers, and researchers face an increasingly competitive world and to best prepare our trainees for their future careers, we offer a number of free professional development programs throughout the year that are open to graduate students and postdoctoral fellows from all disciplines. We run intensive multi-session workshop series on pertinent topics, such as communication skills, career management, pedagogy, leadership, and responsible conduct of research as well boot-camps on thesis/dissertation writing, fellowship writing, and job searches.

Throughout the academic year we also organize STARS – WPI Student Training and Readiness Sessions, which offers graduate students the opportunity to learn about a variety of career and professional development topics each month. Beyond the various workshop series, we annually run the Graduate Research and Innovation Exchange (GRIE), a two-part research symposium in which graduate students competitively present posters of their research for awards, and the Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition, in which PhD students competitively present their dissertation research to a broad audience in three minutes using a single static slide .

In addition to these professional development programs, career development programs and services are offered to WPI graduate students through the Career Development Center (CDC), which works closely with the Office of Graduate Studies. All of our career and professional development programs assist students with each step along the way in their training and development by providing resources both academic and nonacademic that will help chart the path through graduate school and beyond.

Programs

Student Training and Readiness Series (STARS)
A multi-session series run monthly throughout the academic year to provide overviews on a variety of pertinent career and professional development topics. The topics covered in the STARS sessions varies from year to year and is based on annual assessments of graduate student career and professional development interests. A reception is held each year for graduate students that attend a minimum number of STARS sessions as well as for graduate students that completed one or more of the other professional development series run by Graduate Studies. The 2018-19 STARS series will feature sessions on working a career fair, finding and securing internships, organizational and studying strategies, team dynamics, graduate and postdoctoral fellowships, an employer panel, resumes and cover letters, and engineering inclusive environments. The STARS series has sessions that are relevant for all graduate students and many sessions that are also relevant for postdocs.

An online course run by Nature editors on how to write a research manuscript geared towards leading research journals. The course can be taken at your own pace and is broken into modules by topic areas. The course is being offered to the WPI community for free through an institutional membership that was purchased by WPI for fall 2018 through summer 2019. The course is relevant for all students, staff, faculty, and research administrators. Registration must be completed prior to starting the course and must be done through institutional IP address, a computer on campus or a computer connected to WPI through remote access/VPN. 
  

IDP Program 
A short workshop series run each fall to provide guidance on how to effectively manage one’s career, with a focus on individual development plans (IDPs), as well as how to advance in one’s career, with a focus on honing effective networking skills and obtaining the right mentoring. The IDP series is designed for 2nd year PhD students, though the series is relevant for other PhD students and postdocs as well. 

Research Communications Series I and II
A two part series run each fall to provide instruction on fundamental research communication skills (part I of the series) and how to best present data and research to broad audiences (part II of the series). Part I of the series is most relevant for masters students and early stage PhD students, while part II of the series is most relevant for PhD students and postdocs. Registration for each part of the series is required.  

A short series run each fall to provide guidance, information, and resources on a variety of topics related to health and wellness for graduate students. This program is relevant for all graduate students and postdocs. 
 

Graduate Fellowship Workshops
Workshops are run in the Fall and Spring providing guidance on applying for the NSF GRFP and NIH NRSA F31 graduate fellowships, respectively. The NSF GRFP is a fellowship opportunity for graduate students in their first two years of graduate training and the NIH NRSA F31 is a fellowship opportunity for biomedical PhD students in the dissertation research phase of their PhD training. Both opportunities are only open to US Citizens, Naturalized Citizens, or Permanent Residents. Participants in the workshops should plan to apply for these fellowships.  

Postdoc Search Boot Camp
A short series run each fall to provide guidance on best approaches to identify and secure a postdoc opportunity. This program is intended for mid- to late-PhD students as well as postdocs. 

Start-up Boot Camp
A competitive entry full day Boot Camp run each fall offering guidance, training, and resources on launching start-ups. Program is for graduate students and postdocs that are interested in launching a start-up. 

Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) Course (ID525)
A zero credit graduate course run each winter to provide instruction on best practices in research and experimental design, data management, and record keeping, as well as provides an overview of authorship rights, mentoring, collaboration and conflicts of interest, research subjects ethics and policies, intellectual property and ownership of data, and research misconduct, among other topics. The course satisfies NIH RCR requirements.

Leadership Series
A multi-session series run every other spring to bolster leadership skill development through interactive workshops on personality type and self-awareness, emotional intelligence and interpersonal skills, team dynamics and multicultural competencies, conflict management and negotiation, organizational leadership, strategic planning, as well as project and time management. Graduate students have the option of joining a peer leadership group following the series to continue developing leadership skills.

Pedagogy Course (ID527)
A zero credit graduate course run each summer to bolster teaching proficiency through in depth and interactive sessions on the science behind student learning, scientific teaching, assessments and rubrics, active learning, project based learning, technology in the classroom, and course design. Participants will learn through both lecture and practicum format of the course, and will work in small groups to develop a short teachable unit incorporating the techniques learned throughout the course, which they will ultimately present at the conclusion of the series.

PhD Career Chat Series
A short series run each summer and fall to broaden PhD students’ awareness and familiarity with the range of career options for STEM PhDs. Talks are delivered by PhDs, many of which are WPI grad alumni, in interesting career sectors. PhD Career Chat sessions are promoted through the graduate student biweekly newsletter. 

Thesis/Dissertation Writing Boot Camp
A series run each winter providing a general overview of thesis/dissertations, including their organization, writing strategies, and literature review. Graduate students have the option of joining a peer writing group following the series to give and receive peer feedback on sections of their thesis/dissertation and to stay on task with completing their writing in a timely manner.

Graduate Research and Innovation Exchange (GRIE)
An annual graduate research symposium featuring two rounds of graduate student poster presentations with prizes awarded. GRIE enjoys significant participation level by graduate students and is widely attended by faculty and industry representatives. The first round of GRIE is typically held in February, with finalists advancing to the second round, held typically in April.

Three Minute Thesis (3MT) Competition
An annual competition that challenges PhD students to describe their research within three minutes to a general audience using only a single static slide. 3MT celebrates the discoveries made by PhD students and encourages their skill in communicating the importance of research to the broader community. 3MT competitions are held in the Spring.  

Graduate Student and Graduate Alumni Networking Night
An evening networking event held each spring featuring a large number of invited WPI graduate alumni and current WPI graduate students.