As a grad student, building your CV is always on the brain. Whether it’s working as a TA, RA, administrator, or any other of a myriad of jobs, it’s important to maintain a set of skills relevant to the academic arena.
But it’s also important to try new things, to seize opportunities for growth both as a person and an academic. So on that note, today’s article is about unconventional academic opportunities: the kind that have enormous potential to benefit yourself and others, but may not always come to mind when we’re considering professional development.
University for Young People
The Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development’s University for Young People (UYP) program for students entering grades 4-12 identified as gifted and talented is offered every June on Baylor’s campus. Graduate students and faculty may send in course proposals (typically in March) for a course to be considered, and the topics may range across both STEM and Humanities fields. In previous years, this position has also been paid. The contact information for this program may be found here (https://blogs.baylor.edu/jennifer_robins/university-for-young-people-2020/), or interested parties can reach out to Baylor’s Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development. As someone who has participated in this program as an instructor, it is a wonderful opportunity to try something new and have a positive effect on your community.
Present Your PhD
Baylor’s Present Your PhD (PyPhD for short) is a graduate student organization for various PhD and Master’s STEM programs, with the vision to bring professional-level science into classrooms and the community. Members give science presentations on all knowledge levels ranging from the basics of what science is and what it means to be a scientist all the way up to the advanced research they are doing in their program. You can also learn more about their program through their website, linked here (https://blogs.baylor.edu/presentyourphd/).
Colloquiums are once-a-semester lecture opportunities for those who would like to lead Honors Program students from various disciplines in deep analytical discussion of a text. This is used in conjunction with the HON 3200/3201 Course Syllabus as part of the requirements of the Honors Program, and as the bridge between lower- and upper-level Honors coursework. Colloquiums also act as part of the students’ preparation for later graduate and/or professional careers. As graduate students, you may offer to be an instructor for one of these colloquiums; past topics have included films, creative writing, literary texts, works of theology, and may other categories. For more information on how to get involved in the upcoming and future semesters, reach out to Mary Moore (Senior Advisor, Honors Program) at this email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Graduate Research Showcase
In this event, grad students create and present a poster on their research in one of three categories: Humanities, STEM, or Social Sciences. This event is a wonderful opportunity to both display your research and network with other students and faculty from a variety of programs. Presenting in this event also fulfills one of the eligibility criteria for the Outstanding Graduate Research Award application. The date and time for this event can be found here (https://gsa.graduate.baylor.edu/gsa-calendar-events), with the location TBD.
Besides these incredible opportunities, many more can be found through local businesses, professors, advisors, and community groups. So don’t hesitate to take the opportunity to cultivate new relationships wherever you can. You may learn something new about the way you want to work in your career field, discover a fresh angle of research, or even find the perfect alt-act career you didn’t even know was an option. But most importantly, opportunities like this offer a great reminder of the positive ways our work can impact others and the importance of the work we do as graduate students. So go out, teach a class, make a poster, and try something unconventional!