To complement the professional skills students will acquire through their coursework, the NSL, the Innovation Program, and other aspects of the IGERT program, trainees participate in an annual workshop focused on the professional development skills. The Center for Science and Engineering Partnerships (CSEP), in conjunction with the UCSB Graduate Division and other campus groups, launched this workshop in 2015, and called it "Beyond Academia", after a similar event held at UC Berkeley. Beyond Academia consists of lectures, panels, and hands-on workshops led by faculty, staff, and alumni with expertise in a variety of career-oriented topics. A major focus of the workshops is the exploration of career paths for graduate students, including tenure-track research positions, teaching focused academic jobs, careers in non-profits or NGOs, and industry or entrepreneurial options. Students learn about the diversity of post-graduate options as well as the steps needed to pursue and succeed in those careers. Other sessions focus on leadership skills, ethics in research and scholarship, communicating science to the public, and oral and visual presentation skills.
We encourage all of our Network Science IGERT trainees to not only attend the professional development workshop, but to also participate in the Beyond Academia programming committees. We also encourage students to participate in existing campus programs, including CSEP's weekly Professional Development Series for STEM graduate students, the Graduate Divisions Career and Professional Development workshops and resource website, and Instructional Development’s Teaching Pedagogy workshops.