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Education / Graduate Education / Center for Professional Development

Center for Professional Development

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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.

Elaine SmolockDirector of Writing Services

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 VaughnDirector of Career Services

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 12 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 is President of the Rochester Area Career Development Association (RACDA) and a member of the National Association of Colleges and Employers, Graduate Career Consortium, and the National Postdoctoral Association.

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Upcoming Seminar

Bio Careers Webinar Series: "The Job Search Process: What Companies Look for When Evaluating Talent"

 Wed, Dec 05 @ 1:00 PM
  | 2-7539, URMC

All Seminars and Workshops

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 

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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.