The ability to effectively communicate your research to a variety of audiences is an essential professional skill. From building healthy writing habits to preparing for conferences to dissertation writing retreats, OPD helps students and postdocs improve their writing and presenting skills through a variety of programs offered throughout the year.


I see myself as a successful researcher, but if I didn't develop complementary skills—if I couldn't lead, present, or write—I wouldn't have the tools to effectively communicate what I'm researching. I have attended many OPD workshops and have benefited greatly. I have also encouraged graduate students in our lab, department and across campus to consider both their professional and academic development; these two things go hand-in-hand to ensure success in securing the right job and excelling in your career. 

Elroy Aguiar (Former Senior Postdoctoral Research Associate, Kinesiology)

Upcoming Events

May - Dec

Virtual Coffee Shop: An Online Writing Community for Grad Students & Postdocs

May 31, 2020 - Dec 31, 2020 | Online with OPD!

Are you missing accountability and support for your academic writing? OPD is hosting a "Virtual Coffee Shop," an online space to regularly connect with others about their writing. We'll have space to set weekly goals, do pomodoros together, connect in small stage-based groups, and share fun stuff. This community is open to UMass graduate students and post docs working on any part of writing and research. After you preregister for the “Virtual Coffee Shop,” you will be emailed all of the information.


Crafting Slides for Engaging Presentations

Nov 10, 2020 | 11:00am - 12:00pm | Online with OPD!

Do you ever envy a presenter’s slick presentation? Do you wish you could convey your data simply and tell a great story that engages your audience? Join us to learn how to design slides that capture attention and convey your meaning! 


Creating Effective Figures

Nov 17, 2020 | 11:00am - 12:00pm | Online with OPD!

Creating the right figure takes time and effort, but there are some tricks to get you there faster. Are you using the right format? Are you considering the audience? What tools are available and best suited for your data? Come take this opportunity to discuss the answers to these questions and work with your data to produce amazing figures for your presentations and publications. 


Additional Resources

Graduate students and post doctoral students may access many other support systems to improve their communication skills.

  • The UMass Amherst Writing Center offers face-to-face and online consultations to help graduate students and postdocs clarify ideas, reorganize text, set writing goals and build productive writing practices.

  • The Public Engagement Project organizes events to help researchers contribute to social change, inform public policy, and enrich public debate.

  • The UMass Amherst science community challenges researchers to make their work accessible to a wide range of audiences through the Life Science Café and That’s Life [Science] blog.


Contact us for more information on OPD’s communication workshops and assistance.

Dissertation retreat participants