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Education / Graduate Education / Center for Professional Development

Center for Professional Development


To supplement every trainee's scientific education with the professional and career development opportunities most appropriate to each individual trainee’s interests and skills.


For all trainees to have an impactful, fulfilling, and prosperous career.

Success Stories

Erin Kelshaw, PREP Trainee

Eric helped me refine my resume and provided helpful tools to write my cover letter. I felt that Eric took the time to read over everything I sent him and provided helpful and timely feedback. The tips that Eric gave me really helped me to understand what is necessary for a good resume.

More Success Stories

Opportunities to Explore

Opportunities to Explore (OTE) is a weekly email newsletter specifically for SMD graduate students and postdocs. OTE highlights professional and career development items of interest throughout the University, the Rochester community, and the country. OTE also highlights current webinars, articles, and other online opportunities.

View the OTE Archive


(585) 275-4522 - Email Handshake Icon

Elaine SmolockWriting Specialist

Elaine Smolock received her PhD in Pharmacology and Physiology from Drexel University College of Medicine. She then joined Dr. Brad Berk’s lab in the Cardiovascular Research Institute for a 3-year postdoc and was one of the founding members of our Postdoctoral Association. She returned to Dr. Berk’s lab in 2011 as a Research Assistant Professor and has now joined the Center for Professional Development's team. Elaine has been awarded pre and postdoctoral fellowships from the National Institutes of Health and the American Heart Association and has authored multiple scientific publications.

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Eric VaughnCareer Coach

Eric Vaughn received his Master’s Degree in Education in College Student Affairs from the University of South Florida in Tampa, Florida.  He has worked within the career services area for over 10 years including Saint Leo University in Saint Leo, Florida; Doane College in Crete, Nebraska; Wells College in Aurora, New York; and the Rochester Educational Opportunity Center in Rochester, New York.  Eric also is a member of the Rochester Area Career Development Association (RACDA) and the National Association of Colleges and Employers. 

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There are several School of Medicine and Dentistry courses related to professional development available. Check out the Course Description / Course Schedule (CDCS) to review availability by term.

SMD postdocs are eligible to apply for an audit fee waiver for select SMD courses related to professional development. See course list and instructions.

Courses offered through The Center for Professional Development

Ethics and Responsible Conduct of Research Course

For more information on this course, please visit the research ethics website.

IND439 Leadership and Management for Scientists

This 2-credit-hour course is designed for graduate students and postdoctoral appointees who wish to enhance their leadership and management skills. It will cover a range of topics, including project management, communication, and personality styles and budgeting skills. The course focuses on human-centered strategies for leading effective teams in biomedical and health science academic environments that can also be translated into research-related careers. Through a series of interactive activities, reflective writing, self-assessment instruments, and group discussions, you will develop a repertoire of techniques for addressing issues that commonly arise within and between research groups.

Seminars and Workshops

Seminars and workshops are offered throughout the year on a variety of topics including transferable and supplemental skills development, career exploration and planning, fellowships and grants, writing, and research ethics. Useful materials from recent seminars and workshops are available on the relevant CPD webpage. For event time and location details, please see our Upcoming Events Calendar. For additional professional development resources and options, please visit the URBEST webpage.

Recent Seminars and Workshops

Upcoming Seminars and Workshops

Dissecting a Job Description

Eric Vaughn, M.Ed., Life Sciences Career Coach - Center for Professional Development (CPD), Graduate Education and Postdoctoral Affairs

 Feb 20, 2018 @ 1:00 p.m.
 Medical Center | Louise Slaughter Conference Room (1-9555)

Host: Center for Professional Development (CPD)

F-Series and Grant Writing Workshop

Elaine Smolock, Ph.D., Life Sciences Writing Specialist - Center for Professional Development (CPD), Graduate Education and Postdoctoral Affairs

 Mar 15, 2018 @ 12:00 p.m.
 Medical Center | Anderson Room (G-8534)

Host: Center for Professional Development (CPD)

Interview Prep

Eric Vaughn, M.Ed., Life Sciences Career Coach - Center for Professional Development (CPD), Graduate Education and Postdoctoral Affairs

 Mar 21, 2018 @ 1:30 p.m.
 Medical Center | Ryan Case Method Room (1-9576)

Host: Center for Professional Development (CPD)

3 Minute Thesis (3MT) 2018 Final Competition

 Apr 12, 2018 @ 4:00 p.m.
 Medical Center | Class of '62 Auditorium (G-9425)

Host: SMD Center for Professional Development (CPD), ASE Graduate Studies Office, Graduate Student Society, Graduate Student Association

Negotiating Workshop

Guest Speaker: Caryanne Keenan, Certified Salary Negotiation Facilitator - American Association of University Women (AAUW)

 Apr 25, 2018 @ 3:00 p.m.
 Medical Center | Whipple Auditorium (2-6424)

Host: Center for Professional Development (CPD)

CPD Sponsored Programs

Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning (CIRTL) Graduate Student Society (GSS) Graduate Women in Science (GWIS) UR Postdoctoral Association (PDA) BioCareers National Postdoctoral Association Thinkers & Drinkers