The Vanderbilt ASPIRE (Augmenting Scholar Preparation and Integration with Research-Related Endeavors) program was established in 2013 to empower and prepare biomedical sciences PhD students and postdoctoral scholars to make well-informed career decisions. ASPIRE is intended to provide resources and support to trainees to broaden their experiences and help them transition efficiently to research and research-related careers in both academic and nonacademic venues.
ASPIRE is a three-phase initiative administered through the Office of Career Development within the Office of Biomedical Research Education and Training (BRET). ASPIRE will offer educational programs in career planning and management to trainees at all stages of their development.
IMPACT is specifically designed for first-year PhD students in the basic biomedical sciences. This phase provides PhD students with a solid foundation on which to begin to build their scientific careers. Led by Vanderbilt faculty, IMPACT establishes a strong mentoring environment and exposes students to various topics on professionalism in the sciences. As part of IMPACT, students complete an Individual Development Plan (IDP) which they can share with their research mentor after they choose a laboratory.
EXPLORE targets PhD students in years 2-3 of training as well as postdoctoral fellows. This phase focuses on jumpstarting career management through self-assessment, networking and planning. Participants in this phase have the opportunity to shadow a professional at their job for 1-3 days through the ASPIRE externship program.
ENHANCE is intended for post-qualifying PhD students and postdoctoral fellows. This phase represents the capstone phase of ASPIRE and includes access to didactic modules in business and entrepreneurship, communication and clinical research, as well as the opportunity to gain hands-on-experience through participation in externships and internships.
In addition to the organized activities of the ASPIRE program, trainees may also take advantage of ongoing activities offered by the BRET Office of Career Development such as:
- Annual Career Symposium
- Ph.D. Career Connections seminar series
- Individual career advising appointments.
Questions about the ASPIRE program can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org