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Invest in Your Future: A Graduate School Success Symposium, January 24, 2019

December 10, 2018

Invest in Your Future:   A Graduate School Success Symposium
January 24, 2019

9 am-4 pm
Edward St. John Learning Center

Registration opens: December 12th
Last day to cancel for a full refund: January 18th
Deposit: $20 (This event is free, but a deposit is required to register. The Graduate School will initiate the process for returning deposits to all attendees within 5-7 business days after the event.)

Graduate students in doctoral and MFA programs, as well as postdoctoral associates, are invited to join the Graduate School for a day of networking and interactive, hands-on sessions designed to help you achieve your goals. Space is limited. Register now!

Registration link:

To pay deposit:


9:00-9:30: Check in, light breakfast 

9:30-9:50: Welcome/opening session  

9:50-11:05: Breakout Session 1

11:05- 11:15: BREAK

11:15-12:30: Breakout Session 2

12:30-1:30: Lunch

1:30-2:45: Breakout Session 3

2:45-4:00: Social hour, Centennial Trivia

Breakout Sessions:

This year's event will have three tracks: Writing and Communication; Funding; Career Planning. Participants in the Career Planning track, targeted at early to mid-stage doctoral students, must commit to the full day and register for this track in advance. Those who participate in the Career Planning Track will also need to complete a few short activities prior to the event. Participants in the other two tracks may mix and match sessions, as their interests dictate.

Writing and Communication Track

The Story of Your Research
Linda Macri, Graduate School Writing Center

There seems to be a lot of buzz about storytelling in academia. Maybe your advisor suggested that  you should tell a story when you write about your research--but that sounds crazy, since the articles you read don’t seem to have a story! Or maybe you want to develop some flexibility in how you talk about your research beyond your discipline. At this workshop, attendees will learn a little more about the connection--and distinctions--between narrative and logical arguments, and learn to--and when to--apply storytelling techniques to communication about research.  You’ll leave the workshop with a short narrative about your research and some ideas about when it might be appropriate to deliver the story.

Sharing your research with a broader audience:  writing a blog post
Linda Macri, Graduate School Writing Center

You have experience writing in your discipline, for readers who know your field.  Academics are increasingly called on to communicate their research to multidisciplinary audiences, and writing a blog post offers a way to develop and practice that skill while also helping you develop facility with concision and focus.  Blogging--on your own site or on one associated with your department, association, or discipline--can bring attention to your work as well. At this workshop, you’ll learn more about writing a blog, from thinking about titles and visuals to prose style and hyperlinks. Attendees should bring some raw materials (ideas, paragraphs, drafts of articles) to the workshop.  Students who attend this workshop will also learn more about The Graduate School’s own blog of student writing, GradTerp Forum.

Minutes to explain: Preparing a Talk about Your Research

Elevator speeches, lightning talks, 3MT, GradTerp Exchange.  The opportunities for you to talk about your research to audiences beyond your discipline seem to be ever increasing.  But how do you actually do it? At this workshop, you’ll learn how to explain your research in ways that will stick with your audience.  Students should come to this workshop prepared with a brief draft (500 words or less) about your research and some key visuals. We’ll focus effective explanations, considering your audience, and narrative techniques that help you communicate your research effectively.  


What do funders look for in an application?

When you apply for funding, your application gets read by a panel of people you never meet.  What are they looking for? What is their criteria for a winning application? We’ve invited faculty who have served on various award committees to come share their answers to these questions.

Reviewing aims statements using NRMN grantwriting methods

To write a successful grant, it is essential to know how to create successful aims statements.  A number of postdocs and other faculty on campus have received training from the National Research Mentoring Network (NRMN) on how to write successful grants for the NIH. This format is also useful for NSF applications.  Come to this workshop to receive feedback on your aims statements from those trained through NRMN. Ahead of the workshop, please send your draft aims statements to by Wednesday, January 23 at 5 pm.

Writing an effective personal statement for funding
Writing Fellows, Graduate School Writing Center

Most external awards for dissertation support ask for some kind of personal statement.  This is similar yet different from the kind of statement you wrote when you applied for graduate school, and similar yet different from the kind of letter you’ll write when you apply for academic jobs.  So what exactly should be in an effective personal statement for a funding request? This will be a hands-on workshop; come with a draft.

Career Planning (must attend all three sessions)
A Three-Session Deep Dive Into Career Planning for Early to Mid-Stage Doctoral Students and New Postdocs

Who should register for this track?

The content and structure for this track is designed for early to mid-stage doctoral students (Years 1 -3) and new postdocs (within the past year). You must commit to attending all three sessions as they build on each other.

What is the goal?

The goal of this entire track is to spend 225 high-quality minutes (3 sessions, 75 minutes each) to explore your career interests, identify your skills and values, and plan NOW to make the most of your time here at UMD. As a result, you will be informed and prepared to enter the workforce with the end goal of having a meaningful career that fits you and the life you want after and beyond your graduate and postdoc experience.

Why should I sign up?

We have found that students and postdocs in their last year (right before they need a job) wished they would have:

(1) known about the free career resources on campus and

(2) would have started their career planning way at the beginning of their at UMD.

This one-day investment in yourself and in your career will be a great way to start 2019. Completing these activities will set you up for success here at UMD, and, without a doubt, make you more informed and prepared for your next career opportunity. As one graduate student who is on the job hunt shared, “What is the worst that can happen [by attending]? You get a free lunch, get outside your lab without windows, and meet peers that are in the same position as you!”.The best case scenario is that you focus on yourself and learn how to leverage the resources that can help you get to a satisfying career that fits you.

***Note: A similar three-track Deep Dive Into Career Planning and Job Search for late stage doc students (post-Candidacy and in years 3+ of their studies) and postdocs whos position ends in the next 12 months will be offered in the Graduate School’s May 2019 Success Symposium.

Space is limited to 60 early to mid-stage doctoral students.

Must I attend all three sessions in the track? Yes, if you register for this track, you must come to all three sessions. The three sessions are intentionally designed sequentially to build on each other and provide focused time for reflection, research, planning, and group interaction. Doctoral students and postdocs consistently express that the content is helpful, but  they do not have chunks of time during the semester to focus on career and professional development or attend in person workshops. Participating in this track will provide you a rare opportunity to fully focus on yourself and your career beyond your studies and postdoc with other students and postdocs at similar stages in their training. This becomes way harder as your progress through your program.

What is the content and format? In each of the three hand-ons session, you will participate in individual and small group activities related to distinct phases of the PhD Career Development process.

  • In session one, “Your Career Selfie,”  you will go over the results of a number of self-assessment inventories and create a snapshot of your transferable skills and what you have to offer future employers.

  • In session two, “Do Some Real Career Research,” you will start gathering detailed information about one possible career path  that fits you. You will consider career paths that match your interests and values as uncovered in session one. In addition, you will identify skills and experiences that are required to be a competitive candidate for careers of interest.

  • In the final session of the day, “My Career Blueprint,” you will synthesize the info from sessions one and two to create your own personalized plan that will help you navigate your time here at UMD and launch yourself into a rewarding career.

Career Selfie

Prior to the session, attendees will complete the CliftonStrengths survey and three assessments in ImaginePhD Interests, Skills, and Values). During the session, you will review your results and assemble a snapshot of what motivates you in your work, your transferable skills and strengths, and the things that are really important to you in your career and personal life. During this session, you will work with a small teach of 2-3 others to identify and clarify what you have to offer employers. You will work in this small team in sessions 2 and three as well.

Do Some Real Career Research

Don’t assume that you know what a career in [fill in the blank] is all about--gather some real data. In this session, you will use effective techniques to explore or (dis)confirm your initial thoughts if you were to pursue a career as a(n) [fill in the career]. Prevent and reduce the stress that comes with getting that first job. Now is the time to expand your knowledge and apply your research skills to learn about different jobs! You will have time in this session to gather key information about one career path that is aligned with your assessment results from session one. You will continue to work in your “team” to discuss and share the information you all gathered about careers.

Your Career Blueprint

You are the EXPERT of you and how to design your professional preparation for a career you love. This session will pull together your assessment results from session one and the career research conducted in session two to create a first and flexible plan for building a career that fits you and the life you picture for yourself. This plan includes meeting the milestones in your program while being intentional about what needs to be done throughout your program to be a successful job candidate.This session will be highly interactive using a “design team” approach. You will wrap up the day with focus, direction, and a set of next steps.

Centennial Trivia!!

The Graduate School is celebrating its centennial in 2019.  What do you know about the last century of graduate research at the University of Maryland?  Team up, grab some snacks, and we’ll play some serious trivia about the people and projects that have come before you. 

Contact Information

The Graduate School
University of Maryland

2123 Lee Building
7809 Regents Drive
College Park, MD 20742