Skip to main content
Explore URMC

SMD Logo

Education / Graduate Education / Center for Professional Development

Center for Professional Development

Melliora Collective


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.


Thesis competition winner describes protein translation in 3 minutes or less

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Jillian Ramos showed exactly how to capture an audience’s attention – and hold it – at the University of Rochester’s third annual Three Minute Thesis Competition finals.

As a result, the PhD student in assistant professor Dragony Fu’s biology lab walked away with not only the $750 first place prize awarded by a panel of faculty judges, but the $250 people’s choice prize awarded by an audience that filled all but a few seats in the Class of ’62 Auditorium.

Read The Full Article

Eight Finalists Confirmed for Three Minute Thesis Competition

Friday, April 6, 2018

Communicating research with three minutes and a slide

At a time when it is more important than ever for scientists to communicate clearly with the public, eight University PhD students and postdocs will do their best to summarize their research with just three minutes and a slide.

They are finalists in the University’s annual Three Minute Thesis competition, which will be held at 4 p.m., next Thursday, April 12, in the Class of ’62 Auditorium at the Medical Center.

A total of 44 students initially entered the competition, which was founded at University of Queensland, and is now in its third year at Rochester. The eight finalists are:

The winner will receive a $750 research travel award. There are also $500 and $200 research travel awards, respectively, for the runner-up and the people’s choice winner.

Read More: Eight Finalists Confirmed for Three Minute Thesis Competition

Latest Issue of Opportunities To Explore - April 9-13, 2018

Friday, April 6, 2018

It's an event-filled week at the University of Rochester!

The Transgender Health and Wellness 2018 Conference is on Monday along with the online workshop: I Completed My IDP…Now What?

Wednesday brings a workshop on Online Learning at The School of Medicine and Dentistry and the Monthly Postdoctoral Association meeting.

Thursday sees the Online Teaching workshop move to LeChase Hall on River Campus, there is also an online program covering Inclusive Teaching in Science. The Three Minute Thesis final rounds out Thursday in the Class of '62 Auditorium.

Friday brings the 2018 Diversity Conference and workshops on Open Education and making the most of your post-graduate experience.

So much to do just next week, for even more events see the current issue of Opportunities to Explore

Latest Issue of Opportunities to Explore

New Issue of Opportunities to Explore - April 2-6, 2018

Friday, March 30, 2018

This week URBEST Official opens enrollment, running from April 1 to April 15, in addition URBEST hosts Kavita Berger in telling her career story and finishes the week with the Grand Gesture 

Other events this week include a free online estimated tax workshop, the Gwen M. Green Center offers workshops on obtaining security clearance and renting in NYC. Finally there is a PFCC workshop "The C.A.R.E Effect Movement: The Naked Truth about Compassion is Revealed".

That is just this week. The OTE provides information, resources and events throughout the month of April.

Read The Latest Issue Of Opportunities to Explore

First Networking Event Photos

Thursday, March 1, 2018

The Center for Professional Development (CPD) in partnership with the Gwen M. Greene Center for Career Education and Connections, URBEST Program (Broadening Experiences in Scientific Training), and the University of Rochester Alumni Relations Office hosted a networking event for graduate students, postdocs and alumni on Wednesday, February 28th at The Beer Market in College Town.  The goal of the event was to encourage graduate students and postdocs to practice their networking skills by connecting with alumni, and for alumni to share experiences and provide perspective. This will also be a great opportunity to network with other alumni. Over 50 individuals attended the event including seven alumni from both the Schools of Arts, Science, and Engineering and the School of Medicine and Dentistry. For more information about this event, please contact Eric Vaughn.

View Networking Event Photos

Success Stories

Kimberly, Masters Student

Dr. Smolock was extremely helpful in helping me improve my writing and expressing my thoughts and intentions for my fellowship essays. She answered any questions I had eloquently, thoroughly and quickly.

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 Newsletter


(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.

Make an Appointment More Information

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. 

Make an Appointment More Information


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

Navigating Negotiations

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)

Qualifying Exam Preparation and Writing Workshop

Dr. Elaine Smolock Life Sciences Writing Specialist

 May 03, 2018 @ 12:30 p.m.
 Medical Center | 2-8513 TLL (Teaching Learning Lab).

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