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 both academic and non-academic job searches.

Many of these programs culminate in the formation of peer groups which are provided additional guidance and mentoring. For example, peer writing groups are formed following the fellowship boot-camp to enable graduate students to receive peer feedback on fellowship proposals and keep each other on task to ultimately submit a fellowship application.

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 Investing in Ideas with Impact (i3), a multi-round graduate student pitch competition.

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 2017-18 STARS series will feature sessions on finding and securing internships, working a career fair, applying to PhD programs, finding the right postdoc position, pitches, cultivating strong mentoring relationships, work-life balance, poster presentations, research and experimental design best practices, intellectual property and patents, financial literacy, and team dynamics. 

IDP Series
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. Graduate students have the option of joining a peer mentoring group following the series to keep on task with their career management.

Research Communications Series
A multi-session series run each fall to provide instruction on how to best present data and research in manuscripts and in seminars to both technical and non-technical audiences. Graduate students have the option of joining a peer writing group following the series to give and receive peer feedback on research manuscripts they are authoring.

Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) Series
A multi-session series 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, intellectual property and ownership of data, as well as research misconduct. Graduate students have the option of participating in three additional student led sessions on use of animals in research, human subject research, and current ethical issues in research, in order to satisfy NIH RCR requirements.

Leadership Series
A multi-session series run each 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 Series
A multi-session series 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 sessions each week, 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 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.

Thesis/Dissertation Writing Boot Camp
A series run each fall 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.

Academic Job Search Boot Camp
A series run each fall to provide guidance on best approaches to advance one’s career in academia. Sessions will focus on CVs, gaining entrance into a desired PhD program (for masters students), and securing the right postdoc position (for PhD students).

Non-Academic Job Search Boot Camp
A series run each winter to provide guidance on best approaches to secure non-academic employment. Sessions will focus on career exploration, transferable skills, job search strategies, resumes and cover letters, interviewing, as well as evaluating and negotiating a job offer.

Graduate Fellowship Workshop
A series run late each August providing a general overview of graduate fellowships, including finding funding opportunities, writing competitive fellowships for both government and foundation funding opportunities, and adhering to internal and funder requirements. Graduate students have the option of joining a peer writing group following the series to give and receive peer feedback on fellowship applications 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. 

Investing in Ideas with Impact (i3)
An annual pitch competition featuring short pitches from entrepreneurial-spirited WPI graduate student with prizes awarded. i3 preliminary rounds are held in departments and schools, with finalists advancing to the last stage of the competition which is run along with the GRIE finals, typically in April of each year. 

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.