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 2020


Thursday, April 23, 2020
3:30-4:30 pm, Zoom delivery

Starting-Up: Technology Innovation and Company Formation

Bhavana Mohanraj, PhD, Assistant Director, PCI Ventures

Dr. Mohanraj will discuss commercialization of novel technologies and the creation of companies.  She will share some of the resources of Penn’s PCI Ventures program, as well as insights from her own career path.


Wednesday, April 15, 2020
3:30-4:30 pm
Edited recording here

Your online toolkit for exploring careers and applying for positions as a STEM graduate student or postdoc

Joseph Barber, PhD, Senior Associate Director, Graduate Student/Postdoctoral Fellow Career Advisor, Career Services, University of Pennsylvania

Have you been using CareerShift to identify possible employers in locations and industries that interest you? Are you an expert in navigating the alumni tool on LinkedIn, and then popping over to QuakerNet to find easily accessible contact information? Do you know how to find workplace emails for networking contacts at companies who try their hardest not to share their emails? Have you checked to see if your resume will get passed Applicant Tracking Software at companies using Targeted Resume? Have you given yourself a practice mock interview using InterviewStream and then shared your video with other to get their feedback? If you haven’t heard of these tools, or haven’t yet used them to help support your career exploration and job/internship search, then join us for this to learn about these tools and a few more provided by Career Services.


Thursday, February 27, 2020
3:30-4:30 pm
Reading Room, LRSM Bldg

How to communicate to get what you need (from faculty members and supervisors)
Pablo Cerdera, Associate Director of Restorative Practices, Penn
Marcia Glickman, Deputy Director Office of Student Conduct, Penn

In this workshop, we will practice communication techniques and strategies that you can use to enhance your relationship with mentors, instructors and/or supervisors.  Learn how to get what you need and how to better understand what your mentors, instructors, and supervisors need from you using open communication and listening skills.


Thursday, January 30, 2020
3:30-4:30 pm
Reading Room, LRSM Bldg

Science Policy – Opportunities for STEM students and researchers

This session will share information about some of the opportunities for Penn STEM graduate students and postdocs to learn about and/or become involved in science policy in ways that complement or expand their STEM technical training. The Kleinman Center for Energy Policy will share information about its programs and resources. Graduate Students, Zakaria H’sain (Mechanical Engineering) and Steven Neuhaus (Materials Science), will talk about the Penn Science Policy and Diplomacy Group and their experiences with the NSF-funded Science Outside the Lab program. There will be time for discussion—session participants are encouraged to bring questions about science policy and opportunities for broader impact and insights from their own experiences.