Exposure to multiple career pathways by biomedical doctoral students at a public research university
Mathur, A.; Chow, C.S.; Feig, A.L.; Kenaga, H.; Moldenhauer, J.A.; Muthunayake, N.S.; Ouellett, M.L.; Pence, L.E.; Straub, V.
Plos one 13(6): E0199720
The Broadening Experiences in Scientific Experiences (BEST) program at Wayne State University was designed to increase doctoral students' awareness of multiple employment sectors beyond academia, improve their knowledge of transferable skills required to succeed in any career path, provide opportunities to explore diverse career paths, and gain in-depth knowledge about those paths using experiential learning opportunities. We devised a three-phase program that ranged from providing students with a broad introduction to multiple career opportunities to immersive experiential learning in a specific career sector. Importantly, program content was developed and delivered by alumni and industry experts in five employment sectors-business/industry, communication, government, law/regulatory affairs, and undergraduate/PUI teaching-in partnership with WSU faculty. This article provides data on two notable outcomes: doctoral students participate equally in BEST activities regardless of gender, race, and citizenship status, and student participation in BEST activities did not correlate with lower GRE ratings, lower GPA, or increased time-to-degree. Further, a "halo" effect of the program is evidenced by participation of students from all disciplines, not just the biomedical sciences. Centralizing BEST activities within the Graduate School will allow faculty and individual programs to save resources and time.