The ASPIRE Externship

As part of the ASPIRE program, trainees are encouraged to do externships and shadow a professional at work for 1-3 days. ASPIRE Externships provide a unique perspective of the work environment that cannot be gleaned from a seminar or internet research.

As an ASPIRE Extern, you will observe and ask questions about the host’s job, work environment and industry expectations.  You may have the opportunity to engage directly in small projects or team meetings, tour the company, and meet other people employed in the industry, thereby growing your network outside of academic research. Importantly, you will observe first-hand how your PhD-level skills are an asset in the profession and learn if additional skills are needed to transition to a career in that field. The insight gained from the externship will help you customize your professional development activities in the ensuing years of training.

ASPIRE travel scholarships are available to trainees to help offset travel expenses that may be associated with doing an externship. Please see the ASPIRE travel scholarship page for application information and policies. 

The ASPIRE Externship program will begin in the 2015-2016 academic year. Students and postdocs who have participated in previous ASPIRE programs (including ASPIRE to Plan, ASPIRE to Connect, and ASPIRE modules) and BRET Office of Career Development events will be given preference in selection to the externship program.


See the write-up in Research news @Vanderbilt

Vanderbilt students travel to Washington, D.C., for science policy event


2-Day Science Policy Experience


Federal STEM Policy & Advocacy
"An Inside the Beltway Look"

October 16-17, 2014
Washington, D.C.

Hosted by the VU Office of Federal Relations in partnership with the Vanderbilt Graduate School, Center for Student Professional Development, and BRET Office of Career Development

Upon completing the externship, trainees will be required to evaluate their experience and participate in the annual “Biomedical Careers Showcase” in which they will “round-robin” through small group discussions to share their experience with their peers.