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A Student-Directed Professional Development Program for Doctoral Students Seeking Industry Placement

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

Graduate Student Experience

Tagged Divisions

Graduate Studies and Student

Page Count


Page Numbers

23.108.1 - 23.108.10



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Paper Authors


Daniel P. Dempsey University of Massachusetts Lowell

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Daniel Dempsey is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Plastics Engineering at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. He obtained a B.S. in Plastics Engineering Technology from The Pennsylvania State University, and an M.S. in Plastics Engineering from UMass Lowell. His primary research interests involve microscale surface engineering and developing manufacturing strategies for nanoscale feature enabled polymer substrates.

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Carol Barry University of Massachusetts, Lowell

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Carol Barry is a professor of Plastics Engineering, director of the Nanomanufacturing Center, and associate director of the Center for High-rate Nanomanufacturing at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. She received her Doctor of Engineering degree in Plastics Engineering from the University of Massachusetts Lowell and her Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from Boston College.

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Joey Mead University of Massachusetts Lowell

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A Student-Directed Professional Development Program for Doctoral Students Seeking Industry PlacementAlthough industry requires young Ph.D.s. with well-rounded professional skills, many newgraduates lack these skills. The typical focus for placement of doctoral students, for manyuniversities, is in academia or government research facilities, and so the impetus of skillrefinement is often geared towards that end. Skills required for placement in such fields, i.e.,research abilities, communication skills, interviewing, and even job searching, while applicableto both academia and private sector, often are employed in different ways. An example of thenuances between academia and industry preparation is the differences between writing a resumeversus writing a curriculum vita. It becomes more difficult for a student with industrial careeraspirations to learn the distinctions in how to utilize common skills for different ends, andadapting skills learned for academia to industry often leave the student looking ill-prepared tomake the transition.This paper presents steps taken by the graduate students of the [name of center], at the [name ofuniversity] for professional skill improvement and job placement strategies intended for careersin industry. Prior to this work, no outlined professional development program existed at [nameof university] that was focused solely on doctoral student placement in industrial orientedcareers. Therefore, the [research center] students formulated a professional developmentprogram tailored to meet their specific needs. After considerable consultation with industryhuman resource representatives, university professors, and the university’s career counselors, aprofessional development program was formed to address three main areas of interest: theimprovement of core research abilities, the development of skills required for transition fromacademia to industry, and the necessity of projecting a professional disposition in the workplace.The graduate students organized a yearlong series of workshops in which university and industryprofessionals addressed each of the three areas of interest. The program was evaluated through acombination of peer and self-reviews, writing improvement rubrics, and industry representativecriticisms. The results showed not only a high degree of satisfaction among the graduate studentpopulation, but also a general improvement of skills in each of the three main focus areas.

Dempsey, D. P., & Barry, C., & Mead, J. (2013, June), A Student-Directed Professional Development Program for Doctoral Students Seeking Industry Placement Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--19122

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