Professional Development Series

The Singh Center for Nanotechnology offers a monthly professional development seminar series as a resource for graduate students and postdocs in STEM disciplines. The series covers three general areas: career paths, soft and transferable skills, and career-related knowledge and resources. Topics are meant to supplement the formal academic and technical research training graduate students and postdocs receive in the classroom and/or in their laboratories and to help to explore career paths and develop competencies for advancing their career goals.

If you are interested in being on the mailing list or in suggesting a topic/speaker, please email kfield[at]

Please note that this series does not generally cover teaching and best practices for pedagogy. The Center for Teaching and Learning offers excellent resources on developing teaching skills. In general, the Singh Center series also does not focus on traditional academic career development (i.e., finding faculty positions). There are a number of resources at Penn that offer programming on faculty job searches (e.g., Career Services Academic Careers, Penn Engineering Postdoc Community, Biomedical Postdoctoral Programs).

| View Past Events |

Spring 2019

Monday, April 29, 2019
2:00-3:00 pm, Singh Center – Glandt Forum
Sign up here.

Communicating Science: How to Talk to the Press & Science Writing Careers
Jessica McDonald, Ph.D.
Science Writer for

Interested in science writing as a career, or looking for tips on how to share your research with lay audiences? I will talk about my day-to-day work fact-checking what politicians say about science, and cover my transition from bench scientist to journalist. I’ll also give advice on how to best communicate your work to reporters and other non-experts.


Thursday, March 28, 2019
2:00-3:00 pm, LRSM Reading Room, 3231 Walnut Street
Sign up here.

How to be Ready When that Career Opportunity Knocks
Lisa Kozlowski, PhD
Associate Dean for Student and Postdoctoral Affairs
Jefferson College of Life Sciences, Thomas Jefferson University

As graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, you are preparing for your next career step every day.  However, the majority of the skill sets that you are learning are field-specific and technical in nature.  What other skill sets do you need to be competitive in today’s job market?  How can you gain those skills while still a trainee?  What else should you be doing to be the most productive while a graduate student or postdoc? This seminar will provide information about the whole range of skill sets and the opportunities that will allow you to be trained and gain experience in those skills.


Friday, February 22, 2019
2-3 pm, Location TBA

Building Your Brand
Stan Najmr, PhD
Senior Scientist, L’Oréal USA

Every career path is unique, yet there are common resources and trends you can tap into to make yours flourish. In this session, I will share my recent path from materials research at Penn to the beauty industry at L’Oréal and the experiences I found most valuable during the journey. 


Thursday, January 31, 2019
2-3 pm, Singh Center – Glandt Forum

“Alternative” Careers – Patent Law
Riverside Law
  Pallab Singh, Ph.D.
  Ming Chen, B.Eng., J.D.
  Phil Nigon

This session will provide a background into careers in patent law. We will provide a brief overview of patents and discuss how scientists and engineers can transition into a successful career in patent law. We will discuss requirements, typical career paths, and the important skills necessary to make the successful jump.