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2019 Professional Development Year in Review

Professional Development Team Group Photo at 2019's 3MT Event
Professional Development Team Group Photo at 2019's 3MT Event

Where has the year gone? Toward productivity and beyond! Take a look at everything we have done this past year as a team and hear what we all have to look forward to in 2020.

Three Minute Thesis (3MT)

On October 29, we held our 5th Annual 3-Minute-Thesis (3MT Contest) where ten talented graduate researchers from across NC State presented on projects spanning from 3D organ printing to research and writing a novel. This event allowed presenters to hone their ability to communicate complex research to the general public.

The 3MT contest is a celebration of graduate research that brings together our Wolfpack community, and the presentations–speeches and visual slides–get stronger each year!

3MT Finalists lined up
3MT Finalists from left to right:
  • Congratulations again to Hafizul Islam (first place winner), Francisco Jativa (second place winner) and Taylor V. Neumann (People’s Choice winner)! Hafizul will compete at a regional 3MT contest in Birmingham, AL in March.
  • Special thanks to the Grad School PD Team, Grad School Communications Team, our panel of industry alumni judges, and Tom Stafford, our Master of Ceremonies.
  • In Spring 2020, we are even hosting a faculty 3MT! Students, think about nominating a faculty member to participate in this inaugural event! Sign up for our PD Team newsletter for details.

Graduate Writing

  • Camp Completion: In May and December 2019, 62 students participated in Camp Completion, a week-long writing retreat for late stage doctoral and masters students. Students dedicated their days to writing, collaborated in workshops and accountability writing sessions, and worked with NC State faculty on their dissertations, theses, articles, and major writing projects.

    Camp Completion workshop group working
    Camp Completion workshop
  • New graduate writing programs: In addition to the writing workshops we have offered regularly since 2014, we launched two new development series in 2019, Writing for Journal Article Publication and Grant Writing.
  • Rebranding: In 2020, we are renaming “Camp Completion” to simply “Writing Retreat” and this will be a retreat where students will have both content-focused workshops and structured writing time where students can bring pieces they are working on for feedback and further revision.

Teaching and Communication Programs

  • The Teaching and Communication Certificate continues to grow! We awarded thirty-four certificates in 2019, with over 250 participants enrolled in the program. Our next enrollment window will be open from Jan. 15 to Feb. 1.
  • Portable professional development: As a team, we are focusing on developing new distance learning resources for the GradPack. Our first video, How to Email Your Professor by Dr. Katie Homar, was released in 2019. You can look forward to more bite-sized videos in 2020, including one from the teaching and communication programs in which we focus on the effective use of slide software.
  • Connecting future faculty across the Triangle: In 2019, we took Preparing the Professoriate students and postdocs on tours of Duke University and Meredith College, where they met with students, postdocs, faculty and staff to learn more about positions at institutions with different profiles from our research-intensive land grant. And during our second annual Academic Packways program, our faculty and staff experts included colleagues from Campbell, Duke, Durham Tech, Meredith, NC Central, St. Augustine’s, UNC-Chapel Hill, and Wake Tech.

Engineering Writing Support

Engineering Cafe photo
Engineering Cafe
  • Our outreach is growing! This semester we worked with over 300 members of the engineering GradPack through Engineering Cafe Workshops, development series, individual writing advising, and invited workshops in College of Engineering courses.
  • Lights, Camera, Action! We held our inaugural “Engineering Video Abstracts” workshop for science communicators and makers of video abstracts. This “hands-on” workshop is a fun introduction to research storytelling through video and to the media-making resources of NC State Libraries. Check out this example from Maricar Aguilos (Postdoc, Forestry and Environmental Resources).
    • Thanks to Jason Evans-Groth and the NC State Library Media Team
  • Engineering Cafe photo 2Coming in Spring 2020: We will launch the GradPack Writing Groups in 3 partner departments. These groups will give GradPack engineers writing support and feedback when and where they need it, as groups will meet biweekly in their home departments to share feedback on drafts.
    • Spring 2020 groups in Civil, Construction, & Environmental Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Industrial Systems Engineering
    • GradPack Engineers & COE faculty, contact Katie Homar ( for inquiries about starting a Gradpack Writing Group in your department.

Accelerate to Industry (A2i) Program

  • Grant Money: we received our Innovations in Graduate Education (IGE) grant from the National Science Foundation
  • Immersion Week (IW) 2019 was a success and resulted in several direct hires by our corporate sponsors.
    • 97% of participants believed that IW helped them identify strategies that they will use to seek industry employment
    • 96% felt confident after IW that they understood how their skill set applies to industry
    • 144 students were enrolled and participated in Industry Job Search Strategies
  • Future events in 2020
    • A2i will run its very first Training Institute from Feb. 19-21 for its academic partners, which include University of Virginia, The Ohio State University, University of Delaware, UNC Charlotte, NC A&T, University of Oklahoma, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest University, University of North Dakota, University of Florida, Medical School at University of South Carolina, Clemson, and Florida International University.
    • A2i is launching its inaugural Industry Packways which is exclusively for masters students who are seeking jobs in industry. The event is March 10-11 and applications will open up at the start of the semester.

Office of Postdoctoral Affairs (OPA)

2019 Postdoc Research Symposium group photo from above
2019 Postdoc Research Symposium

New Programs on the Rise!

The Graduate School Professional Development Team is looking forward to connecting with first-year graduate students in Spring 2020 through its new program: Ahead of the Pack.

  • The program aims to support first-year graduate students in their adjustment to graduate school. Ahead of the Pack is a comprehensive development series that will focus on equipping students with the skills needed to navigate their new experiences of grad school and set them on a path for success. Weekly sessions will provide sustained support, practice, and feedback on key aspects of graduate school inclusive of wellness, time management, communication, writing, and career management.

In 2019, we launched the Writing Certificate, another non-credit certificate program for graduate students and postdocs. We are currently refining the details of the Writing Certificate for future participation and effectiveness.

So, thank you for your involvement and development in 2019, Wolfpack!

It’s a new year with new horizons and we can’t wait to see you all soar!

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