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ASPIRE Biomedical Scientist’s Toolkit

Explore topics specific to the professional development of Ph.D. students and postdocs in the biomedical sciences.

The ASPIRE Biomedical Scientist’s Toolkit is a career development workshop series focused on equipping biomedical Ph.D. students and postdoctoral fellows with the skills and insight to achieve their highest potential during their training period and beyond.

Add the sessions to your calendar!

Past session handouts can be found via the special Vanderbilt Box ASPIRE Biomedical Scientist’s Toolkit


Download the 2023-2024 schedule poster here to hang on your lab!


Training Stage Key

Sessions are open to Postdoctoral Fellows and Graduate Students at any stage of their training and all are welcome to attend. However, many topics are most relevant at specific stages. Each session is designated as such. Please use this key as a guide to determine which would be most beneficial to you.

Graduate studentsYear 1/2Year 3+All years
Postdoctoral fellowsFirst half of training periodSecond half of training periodAll years

All sessions are held on Thursdays from 11am – 12pm unless otherwise noted.

Fall 2023

DateTitleSpeakerLocationTraining Stage
*Tuesday, August 15, 2023
Overview of the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) (Workshop 1 of 2)

Advance registration requested here
NSF Graduate Research Fellow Kathleen McClanahanLight Hall 202
*PhD Students
*Monday, September 11, 2023
Writing the NSF GRFP Personal Statement and Graduate Research Plan (Workshop 2 of 2)

Advance registration requested here

NSF Graduate Research Fellow Andreanna BurmanLight Hall 407
*PhD Students
October 5, 2023Efficiency of information transfer – how to present a poster for interest and understandingChris Wright, D. Phil.
Louise B. McGavock Chair
Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology
Director, Vanderbilt University Program in Developmental Biology
Associate Director, Vanderbilt Center for Stem Cell Biology
Light Hall 411

Spring 2024

DateTitleSpeakerLocationTraining Stage
March 21, 2024Preparing to MentorKathy Gould, Ph.D.,
Louise B. McGavock Professor
Department of Cell and Developmental Biology
Senior Associate Dean for Biomedical Research,
Education and Career Development
Light Hall 411
May 2, 2024Applying for Fellowships & NRSAsKim Petrie, Ph.D.
Assistant Dean for Biomedical Career Development, Associate Professor of Medical Education and Administration
Light Hall 411

Questions or suggestions for other topics?  Email Angela Zito at