Career Exploration Programs

The following are descriptions of topics and workshops for 2015-2016, year 3 of the award. This is a culmination of what we have learned from the past 2 cohort cycles as well as some pilot projects we are experimenting with this year, such as the Career Labs and a project-based Leadership program. Any questions can be sent to

To see events that are open to Emory and Georgia Tech PhD Students and Postdocs, see the Events Calendar

Community Building

  • Creating a safe space
  • Informal relationships
  • Peer-mentoring: When participants get to know each other and feel they belong, they tend to engage, share more openly, and help each other during subsequent programming and struggles

Retreat, 3 days off site

  • This is the first time the cohort meets each other. They spend 3 days participating in experiential team and community building activities with the goals of getting to know each other, identifying areas of strength and weakness in a leadership/team context, how to give and receive feedback, and critical art of self and team reflection

Coffee Hours, once a month

  • Participants meet regularly to informally update each other on their progress, pose questions and challenges, and peer mentor and coach each other

Happy Hours, 2-3 times a year

  • Unstructured community building, giving participants an off campus space to talk and share thought on a variety of topics. Most participants say this is something that is very much missing from their training – a time to unwind and connect with people outside their lab.

Self Reflection and Self-Management

  • This is to help participants explore their identity, self-efficacy, and interest and motivations
  • Participants needs and stress behaviors are explored to touch on self- management techniques
  • Giving participants personalized tools to navigate exploring and developing their careers accelerated the development process

Self Assessments

  • Birkman Method
  • Strong Interest Inventory

Story Telling

  • Using improvisational principles to illustrate the importance of active listening and adapting to your audience

Individual Development Planning

  • Goal Setting
    • Short/Long-term
    • Personal/Professional
    • Development
    • Multiple formats
      • Online
      • Template worksheets

Job Exploration and Search Strategies

Equally as important in helping participant explore careers and their interests-- Participants also need to know how to navigate the transactional aspects of getting the job they identify is a good fit for them

Presentations of Career Options

  • Entrepreneurship and Consulting
  • Communication and Science Policy
  • STEM Education and Outreach
  • Technology Transfer, Law, ,and Intellectual Property
  • Non-Academic Science
  • Research Management and Support

Communicating transferable skills

  • How to read a job advertisement
  • Targeted Resumes/Cover Letters/Interviewing

LinkedIn/Social Media presence

  • Navigating LinkedIn setting
  • Discussing important of keywords, descriptions, and pictures
  • Alumni tools


  • Weekly emails about local events
  • Elevator pitch practice
  • Speed Networking practice across disciplines

Commercialization Series

Every PhD trainee should have exposure to the Law and Business side of commercializing science. This series gives a broad over and basic vocabulary to enable trainees to understand the broader context of the science they are engaged in, regardless of the careers they end up in.

Patent Law

  • Basics and Anatomy of a Patent
  • Vocabulary and Processes of Patent Prosecution
  • Related careers for Phd Scientists

Technology Transfer

  • Role and history of university tech transfer offices
  • Tech transfer process and career paths

Business of Commercialization

  • Business vocabulary
  • Different business models and structures

Career Labs

Workshops on variety of jobs that leverage a PhD degree—see the Event Calendar to Sign Up

  • Low Commitment career exploration
  • Run by practicing professional, mostly alumni 
  • Workshops are hands on and based on typical job responsibilities
  • The goal is to give participants enough of a feel for the types of things they will typically do to help them cross a career path off their list, or highlight it as something to further explore

Communication Careers Workshops (3)

  • Skills a good writer must have and the role of social media today for writers
  • Editing and Publishing Careers
  • Medial Marketing

Consulting Workshop

  • Using the scientific method to solve business problems

Public Health

  • Focused on Epidemiology, simulation of an outbreak

Informal Education

  •  Designing and implementing curriculum according to Georgia Professional Standards

Lab Science

  • Focused on how projects are assigned and implemented in industry labs

Plans are underway for a career lab on Project Management and Science Policy.

Part-time Internships*

*See internships for details

Trainees are expected to arrange local part-time internships in the 2nd year of the program

  • Minimum 48 contact hours
  • Typically project based
  • Trainee initiated
  • Faculty approval required

Leadership Series*

*See leadership for details

  • Team/Project based
  • 6 Sessions, 4 hours each
  • Some topics that will be discussed
    • Leadership definitions and styles
    • Self-Awareness
    • Team Dynamics and Performance
    • Culture and Managing Conflict
    • Coaching principles and training
    • Emotional intelligence
    • Decision making
    • Leadership planning

Local Workforce Development

Goal is to celebrate the variety of career paths PhDs can take, as well as bring awareness to local companies and pool of talent.

Georgia BioScience Reception

Working with the Metro Chamber of Commerce to host a networking reception and panel to bring together stakeholder in the bioscience workforce here in Georgia: PhD Students, Postdocs, University representatives, State of Georgia Representatives, PhD Alumni, and HR reps and local company reps

Professional Development Funds

Each BEST trainee has access to $1,000 in professional development funds to spend on activities and cover expenses related to exploring careers, career development, and/or professional development

Examples of what BEST trainees have spent their funds on

  • Books on a variety of subjects related to specific careers
  • Certifications- Education, Project Management
  • Workshop/Course Registration
  • Informational Interviewing Expenses
  • Internship Expenses
  • Conferences Attendance and Travel
  • Professional Association memberships
  • Business Cards