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 provides 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 offers educational programs in career planning and management to trainees at all stages of their development.
IMPACT provides first-year PhD students with a solid foundation in professional development 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) to 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 jumpstarts 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 to build their knowledge of specific career paths of interest. This phase includes access to didactic modules in business and entrepreneurship, communication and clinical research, as well as the opportunity to gain hands-on-experience through 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