Getting Started

ASPIRE is designed to support biomedical sciences PhD students and postdoctoral fellows in their career and professional development. 

Postdoctoral fellows are specifically encouraged to attend the Postdoctoral ASPIRE Café for Career Planning.  These are informal sessions designed to help postdocs familiarize themselves with all that ASPIRE has to offer and to provide guided discussion around various topics of career development and professionalism. 

All ASPIRE activities will be advertised on the ASPIRE website, via the BRET Office of Career Development blog and e-newsletter. 

Specifically, ASPIRE offers:

  1. Professional development workshops (ASPIRE to Plan, ASPIRE to Connect)
  2. Career exploration opportunities (monthly PhD Career Connections, Annual Career Symposium, Beyond the Lab videos)
  3. Training enhancement opportunities (modules in three theme areas of business, clinical research, and communication; externships, internships)

Timeline for Trainees

trainee timeline revised.jpg

Getting Started:

There are two elements of the ASPIRE program that we recommend for ALL trainees, regardless of your career aspirations. The earlier in your training that you participate in these programs, the better! We recommend graduate students participate in their second year and postdoctoral fellows participate in their first year of training at Vanderbilt. (But of course, we welcome you to participate at any time!)

1) ASPIRE to Plan

A great place to start the ASPIRE program is with the ASPIRE to Plan workshop series. These four, interactive 1.5-hour sessions are designed to efficiently guide you through the career planning process, career options for scientists, and the resources available to you at Vanderbilt.

ASPIRE to Plan is offered twice a year. Sessions are limited to 20 participants. In the 2014-15 academic year, ASPIRE to Plan will be offered in November and March. Visit the ASPIRE to Plan page to learn more and sign up for the next session.

2) ASPIRE to Connect

ASPIRE to Connect is a ½ day workshop, offered annually in February. Whether you want to maximize your presence at scientific conferences or reach out to alumni and professionals for career advice, ASPIRE to Connect will help you be more confident and develop key skills for building professional relationships.

What if ASPIRE to Plan and ASPIRE to Connect aren’t happening for a few months?
There's no need to be idle! We recommend you get to know your career options ASAP by attending monthly PhD Career Connections seminars and the Annual Career Symposium. Trying to fill your time between experiments? Watch Beyond the Lab alumni interviews or archived Career Symposium presentations!


Questions about the ASPIRE program can be directed to