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Scaling Scrappiness: How Small Doctoral Professional Development Offices Build Access and Impact
2:00 PM - 3:00 PM EST

Event Description

Scaling Scrappiness banner image featuring speaker headshot and text describing date and timeTalk Description

At many universities, resource constraints translate to career services offices whose material and structural foundations are modestly sized. Scarcity is even more prevalent for doctoral student serving offices, who may have limited personnel, budgets, and time in their portfolios to devote to the discrete needs of doctoral students and postdoctoral fellows. Yet demand for robust professional development support for these populations is high and rising, especially in view of a constrained academic job market and as key stakeholders who work directly with doctoral students and postdoctoral fellows, including administrators and faculty members, look to career services professionals to support the career-readiness of doctoral trainees. This reality begs a critical question “how do small offices wield impact beyond their basic structure and size?

This session will detail approaches to building scalable offices, introducing four strategies for scalability:
(1) strategically leveraging social media platforms including LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube, to cultivate access and impact within university institutions and far beyond their walls;
(2) maximizing virtual curricular and co-curricular offerings to connect doctoral trainees with critical interlocutors who can support their success and provide access to career education resources;
(3) leveraging direct partnerships with graduate students and postdocs via a fellowship program that professionally develops advanced Ph.D. students with an interest in higher Ed while expanding office personnel;
(4) identifying and leveraging critical partnerships with doctoral-serving stakeholders, including student-serving offices and alumni, to expand financial resources and operational support for new and existing initiatives.

Critically examining scalability as a strategy for impact, this session will also introduce participants to how an appropriately scaled office also prioritizes equity and access, maximizing open access and low-cost digital platforms to make resources available to trainees from diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and walks of life 24/7, year-round, and in live and private synchronous and asynchronous formats.

Speaker’s Bio

Roshni Rao (she/her/hers) is the Executive Director of Doctoral and Postdoctoral Career Design & inaugural Director of PHutures at Johns Hopkins University where she has created an innovative & empathy-driven career hub focused on creating equitable and scalable opportunities for doctoral students and postdoctoral fellows from diverse disciplines. In her work as an educator, Roshni utilizes innovative programming to connect students & fellows to ideas and to opportunities and helps them design their career. Whether that is launching the first PhD hiring event, interviewing inspiring personalities or encouraging students individually, Roshni is passionate about creating a fulfilling graduate and postgraduate experience for PhDs. Recently, in recognition of “being a risk taker who goes all in and motivates others by demonstrating initiative”, she received the inaugural JHU First Penguin award. A proponent for diversity and inclusion, Roshni is a thought leader on PhD careers, often advocating for underrepresented and international scholars. For her efforts in promoting an inclusive graduate experience at Hopkins, she was recently recognized by the JHU Diversity Leadership Council to receive the 2021 Diversity Recognition Award. In her previous role as Associate Director at the National Institute on Aging (NIA), she helped Postdoc’s transition into fulfilling scientific careers and most notably engaged, and reenergized the community by building and branding a new wellness program. For her efforts in enhancing Postdoctoral professional development, Roshni received the Kelly Distinguished Service Award at the NIA. Roshni believes that the career choices she has made are related to her personal experience as a graduate student. Seeing as how graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, especially International and URM students navigate their PhD without mentorship or guidance and sometimes have limited access to knowledge about their options, Roshni decided that a meaningful career to her would to be to help others in their journey and create accessible and scalable ways to share knowledge and experiences. She holds a PhD in Biomedical Sciences from the University of South Carolina, having previously received a Postgraduate diploma in Science from the University of Otago, New Zealand and a Bachelor’s degree in Microbiology and Chemistry from St Joseph’s College, Bangalore, India.

This event will take place on Zoom, and the link will be shared upon registration. Please be informed that this event will not be recorded.