ASPIRE to Connect 2014 Speaker Bios

 S P E A K E R   B I O S

To read more about the seminar descriptions, visit the agenda page.

Keynote Address


Justin Graham is a Principal with c3/consulting where he has worked clients across Middle Tennessee since 2006.  Prior to working at c3, he worked at Navigant Consulting as a Senior Consultant in the healthcare revenue cycle Practice.  Justin works with clients to improve management processes and to leverage technology to meet strategic business goals.  Specializing in healthcare, he has experience in a variety of other industries, including manufacturing, publishing, and retail. 

In addition to his consulting work, Justin serves on the Hands on Nashville Board of Directors and the Advance Nashville board of the Nashville Entrepreneur Center.

"Tell Me About Your Research" Ruth Schemmer, Ph.D. is the Assistant Dean for Career Development with the Vanderbilt Graduate School. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Southwestern Oklahoma State University, and a master’s and Ph.D. in Sociology from Texas A&M. She has been with the Graduate School since August 2012, having spent the previous 13 years in career services at Texas A&M University.
"Leveraging LinkedIn"

Kim Petrie, Ph.D. launched the BRET Office of Career Development for biomedical sciences graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in 2005 and is currently the Director. Dr. Petrie is also an Assistant Professor of Medical Administration with the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. Dr. Petrie provides individual career advising appointments, develops career and professional development programs and workshops, develops relationships with alumni and employers, and administers exit interviews for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows.

Dr. Petrie received a BA in Biology from Lawrence University and her PhD in Pharmacology from Vanderbilt University. Dr. Petrie is a member of the Graduate Career Consortium and the faculty advisor for the Vanderbilt University Advanced Degree Consulting Club.

"Etiquette Express" Kate Stuart is the Program Coordinator for the Office of Career Development. She writes the bi-weekly career newsletter, facilitates PhD Career Connections events as well as the annual Career Symposium, and manages the BRET website.

After completing her undergraduate degree at Vanderbilt University, she spent time doing corporate communications for a hospital in Athens, GA, and then in 2007, began work for the Vanderbilt Alumni Association. Her role there was to connect undergraduate students to alumni for career advice in the form of small dinners, advice panels, and a resource guide. Kate also provided resources for alumni in career transition, including a webinar series, a job posting site, and career seminars in different cities.

"How to Make the Most of a Professional Conference" for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics disciplines

Jonathan Irish, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Cancer Biology
Vanderbilt School of Medicine

Duco Jansen, Ph.D.
Professor of Biomedical Engineering
Vanderbilt School of Engineering

Melanie Ohi, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology
Vanderbilt School of Medicine

Gregg Stanwood, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Pharmacology
Vanderbilt School of Medicine

"How to Make the Most of a Professional Conference" for Humanities, Social Sciences, Education, and Religion disciplines

Jaco J. Hamman, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Religion, Psychology and Culture 
Director of the Program in Theology and Practice
Vanderbilt Divinity School/Graduate Department of Religion

Chris Lemons, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Special Education
Peabody College of Education & Human Development

Plenary Address: John English 

Professor John English is one of the premier communication consultants in the United States. With over twenty five years as a senior faculty member at Vanderbilt University, he has combined his academic background with his business and political savvy, to emerge as one of the most respected executive presentation skills consultants in the country.

His expertise in persuasion and argument has garnered outstanding reviews from his clients in the political realm, the C-level boardroom, and in various business venues from Healthcare to Hollywood. His executive presentation skills training programs are noted for a finely tuned focus on dynamic delivery and carefully constructed content. It’s not only how you say it, it’s what you have to say that counts.