Professionals in Preparation

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A Professional Development Program for Graduate Students


Graduate students, are you interested in developing skills that will make you more marketable and effective in the workplace? During the 2017-18 academic year, the Graduate School will sponsor “Professionals in Preparation”, a professional development program to help you improve those “transferable skills” that will set you apart from others in the increasingly competitive job market. Transferable skills include those abilities that cross disciplines, such as leadership, effective communication, ability to problem solve and manage projects, professionalism, and others.

Professionals in Preparation is a two-semester professional development program consisting of:


1. Seminars and workshops that focus on

  •  interviewing tips
  • effective communication
  • etiquette and presence
  • interpersonal skills
  • ethics
  • leadership

2. Mentorship training

  • mentorship workshops with faculty

3. Professional conference travel award competition

  • competitively-awarded $500 travel scholarships for those who complete the program

Program expectations:

  • Seminars and workshops will be held approximately twice monthly from noon to ~ 1:00 on Fridays during August – November 2017 (8 sessions) and January – April 2018 (8 sessions). Occasional special events may be scheduled. Participants must attend 75% of these sessions.
  • Participants will participate in the annual Three Minute Thesis competition in early November 2017 with a chance of winning prize money.
  • Participants will present their research in poster format at the annual Susan A. Siltanen Graduate Student Research Symposium in late spring 2017 as a part of the travel award competition for completers of the PIP program.

For more information:

Contact Dean Karen Coats by email at karen.coats@usm.edu.

To apply:

Please complete the online form and submit a brief CV (limit 3 pages), and a letter of support from your graduate committee chair as an electronic document to Vanessa Molden at Vanessa.molden@usm.edu. The deadline to apply is noon, Friday, May 5. Students selected to participate will be notified by late-May.