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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.

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The Meliora Collective is a new online platform developed to foster all types of professional exploration. The Collective offers members a place to network, seek and provide mentorship, and connect and collaborate.

Elaine Smolock, Ph.D. and Eric Vaughn, M.Ed. will hold all meetings via Zoom. To register for an appointment, please visit the Appointment Request Form.

Elaine SmolockDirector of Writing Services

Elaine Smolock received her PhD in Pharmacology and Physiology from Drexel University College of Medicine. She trained as biomedical researcher with Dr. Bradford C. Berk in the Aab Cardiovascular Research Institute at the University of Rochester Medical Center for 7 years and was one of the founding members of our Postdoctoral Association. Elaine joined the Office of Graduate Education and Postdoctoral Affairs in 2015, where she currently serves as Director of Writing Services and Grant Development. Elaine is also a Co-Director of the Post-baccalaureate Research Education Program.

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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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Success Stories

Chelsea Katz

Health Services Research & Policy Ph.D. Student

Eric had specific recommendations for my CV and resume, and solid examples to assist with writing a cover letter. He was also quick and responsive with follow-up communication which allowed me to follow through with potential employers quickly on my end.

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.


(585) 275-4522 - Email 


Handshake is your career connection resource, allowing you to:

  • Find internship and employment opportunities based on your interests
  • Discover when employers are heading to campus 
  • Connect with alumni and employers
  • Attend events and programs in your field of interest

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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.