Embarking on a career in science requires more than just knowledge—it demands skill, resilience, and guidance. The Interfaces of Global Change (IGC) Graduate Student Organization (GSO) recently hosted a Professional Development Workshop Series for IGC Fellows.

This series, planned by IGC GSO Professional Development Chairs, Amanda Darling and Macy Kailing, aimed to deepen fellows’ understanding of and practice in various dimensions of scientific careers. This workshop series comprised three events, crafted to equip our Fellows with the tools and insights they need to thrive in their scientific careers.

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IGC Fellows meet with IGC Alumni, Dr. Alaina Weinheimer and Dr. Amanda Pennino, for a Post PhD Career Transition Alumni Panel.

Part 1: Post PhD Career Transition Alumni Panel held on April 11, 2024.

The inaugural session brought together a diverse group of Fellows and IGC IGEP alumni, eager to explore pathways to success beyond academia. IGC Alums, Dr. Alaina Weinheimer and Dr. Amanda Pennino, shared their insights and experiences navigating the transition from graduate school to various professional realms.

  • Dr. Alaina Weinheimer, a postdoctoral fellow at Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences, graduated from Virginia Tech in 2022 with her PhD in Biological Sciences.
  • Dr. Amanda Pennino, a Research Soil Scientist at USDA - Natural Resources Conservation Service in Nebraska, graduated from Virginia Tech in 2023 with her PhD in Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation.

Part 2: Building a Professional Network held on April 18, 2024.

This workshop aimed to demystify the vital skill of networking by highlighting the array of opportunities or settings where networks can be built and offering practical strategies. Led by Dr. Suzanne Shelburne, Assistant Director of Career and Professional Development, this session provided Fellows with the tools and confidence to cultivate meaningful connections. By fostering interdisciplinary collaborations and mentorship, we pave the way for transformative career growth and impact. Dr. Shelburne’s emphases on making actionable goals in advance and recognizing your value within the network, even as an early career scientist, were key takeaways for IGC Fellow, Macy Kailing.

Part 3: Enhancing Scientific Impact through Data Visualization held on April 22, 2024.

In today's data-driven world, the ability to communicate complex concepts effectively is paramount. Led by Fellow Amanda Darling, this workshop delved into the art of data visualization, equipping our early career researchers with the skills to convey their findings with clarity and impact.

Macy and Amanda are also working to build a portfolio of resources for fellows wishing to enhance their research skill sets and job search strategies. These resources will include advice and resources compiled from this workshop series and more. Specifically, a comprehensive list of 1) relevant job boards and 2) fellowships for pre and post doctoral students will be shared in the IGC fellows google drive.

We extend a special thank you to the Interfaces of Global Change (IGC) Fellows whose enthusiasm, engagement, and contributions have been the driving force behind the success of this program. Your eagerness to learn, share insights, and forge connections is truly inspiring, and it's your continued participation and dedication that enriches our program and propels it forward.