Graduate students discover professional insights, advice at career workshop

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — More than 120 Penn State graduate students participated in the Graduate School’s annual Career Exploration Workshop on Oct.  24, which offered information, insights and perspectives to enhance students’ traditional educational experiences. Formatted as panel discussions, the workshop’s two sessions were designed to help prepare graduate students as they enter the workforce by providing valuable tools necessary to navigate and thrive in today’s job market. Panelists at the professional development event included Penn State administrators, faculty and alumni.

The “Professionalizing Your Web Presence” session assisted graduate students with creating and maintaining an online presence that promotes professionalism and effectively markets them to potential employers, funders and professional organizations. Panelists shared insights on how to use various social media tools and other online professional development opportunities to showcase professional interests, knowledge and skills.

The “Navigating the Academic Job Search/Tenure Process” session was tailored to the interests of graduate students exploring careers within higher education. Panelists examined the steps one needs to take in order to successfully prepare for and secure a faculty position. The session also provided an overview of the tenure track process to help foster understanding of what is involved in obtaining tenure once a faculty position is secured.

Suzanne C. Adair, assistant dean of the Graduate School and director of the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs, said these topics were specifically chosen based on what graduate students identify as significant areas of interest as they progress in their studies.

“In today’s climate, understanding how to effectively utilize social media and other online platforms to promote your area of study and research and what you have to offer an employer is a critical component of moving from student to professional,” Adair said. “For graduate students interested in seeking a faculty position in higher education, providing them with a comprehensive understanding of the academic job search and tenure processes is an important role for the Graduate School if we aim to sufficiently prepare them for such careers.”

Panelists for the “Professionalizing Your Web Presence” session were Marcia DiStaso, associate professor of public relations; Rose Cameron, director of innovation, outreach and online education; Peggy Shipley, assistant professor of nursing at Slippery Rock University and member of the Graduate School Alumni Society board of directors; and alumnus Andy Vavreck, senior principal scientist, EOIR Technologies. The facilitator for the panel was Michael Wood, a doctoral candidate in workforce education and development and counselor in the University’s Multicultural Resource Center.

Panelists for the “Navigating the Academic Job Search/Tenure Process” session were David Monk, dean of the College of Education; Judith Todd, department head, engineering science and mechanics; Kevin Thomas, associate professor of sociology, demography, and African studies; Robert Trumpbour, associate professor of communications and former member of the Graduate School Alumni Society board of directors; and Shipley. The facilitator for the panel was Sarah Ades, associate professor of biochemistry and molecular biology and chair of the Graduate Council Committee on Graduate Student and Faculty Issues.

The Graduate School Alumni Society and Graduate Council Committee on Graduate Student and Faculty Issues provided organizational support for the Career Exploration Workshop.

Credit: Penn StateCreative Commons

Last Updated November 11, 2015