BIOL 420: STEM Professional Development
Following the workshop in 2017, the organizers of JBB sought to continue the effort of the group in a more sustainable, concrete manner. To this aim, they decided to create a semester-long course, modeled after the structure of the initial project. Partnering with the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences and the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, JBB developed the course BIOL 420/LA&S 492: STEM Professional Development offered in Fall 2018.
The 2-credit-hour course provides students with a toolbox for a wide variety of academic and non-academic STEM-related careers in a diverse society. It includes practical professional development training, interactive workshop sessions, invited speakers, and a project in which students explore different career paths (such as teaching, policy, law, communication, research, and business). Students leave the course with an established professional network in the broader community, polished professional documents, a developed career-focused presence on social media, tangible products that can be included in a portfolio, and awareness of diversity, equity, and inclusion-related issues that they will need to understand to be effective leaders.
Most importantly, students apply the professional development skills they learn throughout the semester in a real-life scenario applicable to their profession via the course project. In the course, juniors and seniors in STEM fields were exposed to academic and non-academic professional development. The course included a semester long project as well as the graduate/postdoc mentorship structure introduced in the Spring 2017 project.
The syllabus from Fall 2018 can be found here.