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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

Andrew Martin

Andrew Martin

Andrew Martin, 2nd year MS in Microbiology

I learned the plethora of tools available for networking, and improving my online presence. I also learned how to effectively find connections between the University and careers I am interested in  through services such as Linkedin and Handshake

Scott Friedland

Scott Friedland

Scott Friedland, 2nd year PhD in Genetics, Development, and Stem Cells

The writing specialist is excellent at helping people to organize their time and effort for large projects! The CPD specialist helped me to maintain a positive attitude throughout a process a process that was otherwise quite draining.

Carolyn Klocke, 5th year PhD in Toxicology

Carolyn Klocke

Carolyn Klocke

They really listened to what my goals were and spent our time really focusing on those goals; I felt like my time was well-utilized. On top of that, the advice I got was very good. I went in looking to spruce up my CV, and the improvements suggested by the CPD specialist helped me hear back from a recruiter very quickly about a job I want.

Crystal Houston

Crystal Houston

Crystal Houston, 1st year Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy

The writing specialist was particularly effective in helping me find and cultivate my writing style. My writing confidence over the years has declined and the specialist helped by guiding me to find that I am indeed a good writer. I just needed to learn how to not become overwhelmed by the writing process and figure out an organizational way to express my thoughts and ideas.

Visit our success stories page to read more examples of how effective our services can be.

Services Available


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.

Individual Support

Request an appointment with our Life Sciences Writing Specialist, Elaine Smolock,

Request an appointment with our Life Sciences Career Coach, Eric Vaughn

Review our Services List for additional details.

  • Career Services
  • Fellowships and Grants
  • Scientific Writing Fundamentals and Publication

See our Success Stories to learn what others have to say about our individualized services.

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. OTE is specifically for trainees in the life sciences and is distributed on Fridays. View the OTE Archive.

Self-Study Resources

Check out books from the CPD Lending Library. To check something out, visit our office in G-9556 or email us with your request.

There are more than 500 resources available throughout this website including articles, blogs, webinars, websites, and more.

Take advantage of SMD subscriptions for premium content to career planning websites Bio Careers and the Versatile PhD.

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, as well as in the Recent Seminars and Workshops Archive. For event time and location details, please see our Upcoming Events Calendar. For additional professional development resources and options, please visit the URBEST webpage.

Date Speaker/Presenter Topic/Title
04/24/2017 Eric Vaughn, M.Ed.
Life Sciences Career Coach
Center for Professional Development
Linked In: What is it and Why do I Need it in Today’s Employment Market?
04/25/2017 Faye Zheng, Ph.D.
Program Director
Insight Data Science
Careers in Data Science and Data Engineering
05/11/2017 Laura Shum
Graduate Student
Ph.D. Program in Translational Biomedical Science

Three Minute Thesis (3MT) Final Competition