From September 24-25, I attended the STEM Faculty Launch Program at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in Worcester, Massachusetts. This was the first year of the program, which brings together PhD students and postdocs in STEM fields who are considering tenure-track careers in academia. The facilitators led us through the steps of a faculty job search, such as preparing research and teaching statements; navigating high stakes situations such as interviews, chalk talks, and negotiations; and overall job search skills such as networking and personal branding. Participants also learned about WPI’s unique programs and career opportunities. I toured the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department and learned about the diverse projects that undergraduates at WPI tackle in their project-based learning courses.
I would highly recommend the workshop to anyone looking to enter the academic job market in a STEM field. Though many PhDs and postdocs have access to seminars on these topics at their home institutions, I found the two-day workshop format to be a more effective strategy to prepare for an upcoming job search. Finally, be sure to take a tour of WPI’s beautiful campus if you are ever in the Worcester area!