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 2022

Tuesday, April 19, 2022
2:00 – 3:00 pm ET
Glandt Forum, Singh Center for Nanotechnology
Register here

Leveraging Science Communication in Your Career
Jacob Trevino, PhD
Quattrone Nanofabrication Facility Director
Singh Center for Nanotechnology, University of Pennsylvania

Science communication is part of a scientist’s everyday life, giving talks, writing papers and proposals, communicating with a variety of audiences, and educating others, however, most receive no formal training in it. In this talk, Dr. Trevino will give an introduction to science communication, provide some pointers and a set of real-world examples in various professional scenarios from his own career, and offer some take-home tips and resources for engaging in and improving your own science communication.


Tuesday, March 22, 2022
noon – 1 pm ET (Zoom)

One Perspective on Careers at US National Laboratories
Sarah Saslow, PhD
Senior Scientist, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

The US National Laboratories are dedicated to addressing the most pressing scientific research challenges facing our world today. Their success is in part due to their multidisciplinary team culture and the one-of-a-kind capabilities and facilities cultivated by each institution. In this session, Dr. Saslow will provide an overview of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) within the context of the national laboratory system, discuss the types of opportunities available to graduating students, and offer her personal perspective of what makes someone successful in their career at PNNL. 


Tuesday, February 22, 2022
3:30-4:30 pm, Singh Center Room 035

Academic Career Opportunities in Managing Team Science
Nadine Gruhn, Ph.D., Managing Director
Vagelos Institute for Energy Science and Technology
University of Pennsylvania

Team science has become a predominate part of academic research. The growth of collaborative research centers has led to many career opportunities for masters and PhD level scientists and engineers in managing research, education and outreach programs. In this session, Dr. Gruhn will discuss the aspects of successful team science management, how an individual can develop and leverage existing skills toward these types of roles, and describe her own career path.


Thursday, January 20, 2022
2:00-3:00 pm (Zoom)

Intellectual Property and Innovation
Pamela Beatrice, Ph.D., Director, PCI Licensing Group, Penn Center for Innovation
Tomás Isakowitz, PhD, Manager, Penn I-Corps and PCI Fellows Program

This session will provide an overview of intellectual property and its role in technology transfer and of programs for helping the creation of startups based on Penn research. A brief overview of patents and their importance will be provided. Opportunities for Penn graduate students and postdocs to participate in the PCI Fellows Program and Penn I-Corps will be discussed.

Penn Center for Innovation:
Penn’s Patent Policy, Basics on IP – patents-copyright, Disclosure & Commercialization
Pam Beatrice
[ slides ]

Sections of a Patent
Tomás Isakowitz

PCI Fellows Program, I-Corps
Tomás Isakowitz
[ slides ]