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Office of Professional Development Events

The Office of Professional Development (OPD) positions graduate students and postdoctoral researchers for success in their careers at UMass and beyond. Building upon the academic and technical expertise of the scholars we serve, OPD provides professional skills training to cultivate strengths in the areas of career preparation, communication, grants and fellowships, personal development, and teaching. Our extensive programming—created in collaboration with a far-reaching network of partners—prepares participants to thrive in academia, industry, government, and the non-profit sector.

Upcoming events are described below, but be sure to check out the full program for the spring semester (organized by month/competency)! Check back often, as events are continually added and updated. To contact us please call 413-545-6001 or email

Postdocs are encouraged to take advantage of a special professional development grant to support career advancement. 

Grants and Fellowships

Brown Bag: Cultivating Strong Relationships with Faculty
Monday, July 16th - 12:00-1:00pm 
538 Goodell
If you’re submitting a fellowship application, support from faculty is critical. This session will focus on soliciting letters of recommendation from faculty, seeking faculty feedback on your proposal draft, and using the application process to network with faculty. While geared towards students applying for the NSF GRFP, all graduate students and postdocs are welcome. Bring your lunch—dessert provided! Pre-registration is required.
Shut Up and Write Tuesdays
Tuesdays, June 5th - Aug 14th (excluding July 3rd) - 9:00am-1:00pm 
Graduate Commons, 5th Floor Du Bois Library
Writing in the presence of others is not only less lonely, but also leads to better accountability and writing habits. This weekly drop-in provides time and space to write while caffeinated - come late or leave early. Optionally, writing consultants will be available to meet with writers to discuss any type of writing. Sign up to reserve a 30-minute consultation here; on-site sign-ups are also available on a first-come, first-served basis. Co-sponsored with the Writing Center. Pre-registration  for the series is required. One registration for the summer–attend one week or attend them all.


Teaching events will resume in August. Please watch this space for details about upcoming programming.

Career Preparation

Exploring Non-Academic Careers in STEM 
Thursday, July 26th – begins at 9:30am
135 Integrated Sciences Building 
Would you like to learn more about non-academic career paths from a panel of accomplished professionals?  Save the date for this exciting annual event!  Professionals (including several alumni) who hold advanced degrees in a broad array of disciplines will share insights about their non-academic careers during a morning panel session and sit-down networking luncheon. Details and registration links will be provided soon – for now, mark your calendars!

Personal Development

Brown Bag: Understanding and Combating Impostor Syndrome 
Wednesday, June 27th -12:00-1:00pm 
528 Goodell
Impostor syndrome is a common experience, characterized by thinking that you are not “good enough” or your success is an accident, rather than result of personal achievement. Don’t let impostor syndrome hold you back! This interactive workshop presents strategies to recognize and productively deal with these feelings. Bring your lunch—dessert provided. Pre-registration required.