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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

Hands-On Grant Searching
Wednesday, June 13th - 2:00-3:00pm 
538 Goodell
Searchable databases are a valuable tool for finding grants and fellowships, but only if you know how to use them effectively. Bring your laptop (or check one out from the DuBois Library) and we’ll explore which tools are the best fit for your funding needs. Pre-registration requested.
Grant Series Part III: Soliciting Feedback & Revising
Monday, June 18th - 12:00-1:00pm 
538 Goodell
Want to turn a good funding application into a great one? Solicit feedback on your writing and make time for revisions! Come learn techniques, and get a dose of confidence, to accomplish these critical tasks. This is the final offering in a three-part series, but attendance at previous sessions is not required to participate. A pizza lunch is provided. Pre-registration required. 
Brown Bag: Addressing the “So What?” Question
Wednesday, June 20th - 12:00-1:00pm 
538 Goodell
A critical component of any funding application is communicating the contribution your work will make to academia and society. Using NSF’s Intellectual Merits and Broader Impacts as our guide, we will brainstorm strategies to communicate the significance of your work to diverse audiences. While geared towards students applying for the NSF GRFP or DDRIG, 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.
Practicing Your Elevator Pitch
Thursday, June 14th - 10:30-11:30am
538 Goodell
Perhaps you will be networking at conferences this summer or anticipate job interviews in the near future – it’s never too early to practice your elevator pitch! Join the Office of Professional Development (OPD) staff for this opportunity to practice in an informal, supportive environment. We will provide feedback and tips for improving your pitch and tailoring it for different purposes. Pre-registration is required.


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

Career Preparation

Tips for Negotiating A Non-Academic Job Offer
Tuesday, June 19th - 10:00-11:30am
538 Goodell
Are you hearing that you should negotiate your job offer, but feeling unsure about how to do this? This session will offer negotiation tips and strategies to help you negotiate with confidence. Pre-registration required.
Career Conversation: Dr. Joanna Hamilton, Roche Sequencing/Kapa Biosystems
Tuesday, June 19th - 1:30-2:30pm 
Location TBA
In her role as a Sequencing Solutions Specialist, Dr. Joanna Hamilton enjoys helping research scientists from academic and industrial environments manage and troubleshoot their sequencing applications. Dr. Hamilton directed multiple academic core facilities before transitioning into industry, where she now enjoys establishing and maintaining relationships with technology end users and customers.  Dr. Hamilton will talk about her career trajectory and offer insights about job roles on the customer-interfacing side. This is an open discussion, so bring your questions! Pre-registration is required.
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

Contributing to Productive Meetings and Discussions
Wednesday, June 13th - 10:30-11:15am
538 Goodell
Do you know how to get the most out of a meeting with your advisor, mentor or team? Learn how strategic preparation, facilitation and follow up can increase the efficiency and effectiveness of any meeting. Pre-registration required.
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.