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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 check out the full calendar, with event descriptions, for spring semester! Check back often, as events are continually added and updated. 

To contact us please call 413-545-6001 or email Follow us on Twitter (@umassOPD) and Instagram (@umass_opd)! 

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

Grants and Fellowships

Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowship: Application Strategies
Tuesday, May 21st - 2:00-3:00pm 
538 Goodell
Providing $30,000 of support during the final year of graduate school, the Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowship is one of the most prestigious fellowships awarded to graduate students in the social sciences and humanities. This event will provide advice on how to craft a competitive and cohesive proposal and is ideal for those intending to apply this fall as well as those planning ahead for next year. Pre-registration required.
NSF Graduate Research Fellowship: Application Strategies
Thursday, May 23rd - 12:00pm-1:15pm 
538 Goodell
The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) is one of the most prestigious awards for early-career STEM and social science graduate students, providing an annual stipend of $34,000 for three years. Our panel will share tips for crafting compelling proposals, offer insight on what reviewers look for, and outline UMass resources to help you prepare your application. Eligibility information for the GRFP may be found on the program’s website ( A pizza lunch is provided. Pre-registration required.
Grant Series Part I: Funding Search Strategies
Thursday, May 30th - 12:00-1:00pm 
538 Goodell
Need external funding to support your research? Get started by learning about basic tools available to UMass graduate students and postdocs to help find grants and fellowships. We’ll also discuss tips to manage your funding search. This is the first in a three-part series—come to one event or all three! A pizza lunch is provided. Pre-registration required.
Grant Series Part II: Framing & Writing the Proposal
Thursday, May 30th - 1:15-2:30pm 
538 Goodell
A successful grant proposal requires good ideas that are organized well. This session will outline various application elements, provide tips to craft a clear, cohesive proposal, and discuss common reasons proposals fail. This is the second offering in a three-part series—come to one event or all three! Pre-registration required. 
Grant Series Part III: Soliciting Feedback & Revising
Thursday, May 30th - 2:45-3:30pm 
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 previous attendance is not required to participate. Pre-registration required. 
Anatomy of a Successful NSF Grant Proposal
Friday, May 31st - 12:00-1:00pm 
538 Goodell
Stumped on how to develop a strong “hook” paragraph for your grant application? Struggling with how to craft a cohesive narrative? At this session we’ll jump-start your writing by dissecting successful NSF Graduate Research Fellowship proposals submitted by UMass grad students. While geared towards students applying for the NSF GRFP, all graduate students and postdocs are welcome. Bring your lunch—dessert provided! Pre-registration required.


Pomodoro Writing Clinic
Wednesday, May 29th - 1:00-3:00pm 
538 Goodell
Do you know how to finish a writing project 25 minutes at a time? In this combined workshop and work session, we will briefly outline strategies for beginning and ending a work session with the Pomodoro technique. Then we will practice doing two Pomodoros: 25 minutes of writing and 5 minutes of break. Think of it as a mini writing retreat – or a chance to practice a great time-management strategy. NOTE: After this clinic, OPD will host a Pomodoro Group on Wednesdays in June and July. Pre-registration required.


Using Technology to Manage Your Classes and Reach Your Students
Ever consider creating a blog for your course? How about recording your lectures automatically so students can review them? Interested in making your course content accessible to all of your students? UMass's Instructional Innovation office offers workshops all semester to help you better use technology in your teaching. Come get started with technology like Moodle, Echo360, Camtasia, Apps at UMass, and WordPress, or learn about “Making Movies” or “Podcasting Basics”! See the full list of workshops sponsored by Instructional Innovation here.

Career Preparation

Alt-ac Working Group – Register now! 
Are you considering a non-faculty career? Are you interested in exploring career options in museums, administration, non-profits, policy, communication, or any hundreds of other jobs that allow you to use your amazing skills and knowledge that you have gained in grad school? The Alt-ac Working Group is a place to discuss, explore, and prepare for these careers! (Alt-ac stand for “alternative to academic jobs.”) We meet once each month to discuss topics suggested by the group. To learn more, please fill out a pre-registration form.
Resume and CV Drafting Party
Friday, May 17th - 10:00am-12:00pm 
538 Goodell
Are you getting your resume in order for job applications? Or maybe your CV could use some updating? Come write in our quiet space with access to coffee and snacks. Drop-in when you can! You will also have the option to ask questions or receive feedback on your drafts throughout the morning. Pre-registration required.
Business Foundations Series for Scientists and Engineers
Tuesdays, June 4th – July 30th (except for July 2) from 8:30am-4:30pm
Isenberg School of Managment 
Applications are now being accepted for the summer Business Foundations Series for Scientists and Engineers. Taught by MBA faculty, this eight-session series supplements traditional technical training with foundational skills and knowledge in specific business areas, such as marketing, leadership, accounting and finance, project management, operations management, negotiation, organizational strategy and business intelligence. Participants who attend all eight in-person sessions will earn a Certificate of Completion issued by the Isenberg School of Management.  Class size is limited to 50 to participants and applications are due by May 12th. Apply here.
Career Conversations: Dr. Allison J Brager (CPT, MS), Walter Reed Army Institute of Research 
Wednesday, June 5th - 11:30am-1:00pm
S320E Life Science Laboratories (LSL)
At the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR), civilian researchers, medical professionals, and military personnel are conducting basic and applied research to develop new vaccines and therapies for infectious diseases, promote psychological resilience, and use neuroscience to better understand brain trauma, blast exposure, deployment stressors and sleep management. In this session, Dr. Brager will talk about the research environment at WRAIR and Sergeant Christopher Swan will offer information about opportunities and application procedures (limited to US citizens and permanent residents). A pizza lunch will be served. Pre-registration is required.

Personal Development

Networking Advice for People Who HATE Networking
Thursday, May 23rd - 10:00-11:30am 
538 Goodell
You know you need to do it. Research shows that networking influences hiring, salary growth, and job satisfaction. Before you head to your next professional conference or social gathering, join this interactive workshop to move beyond your dislike and develop an action plan for this essential skill. Pre-registration required.