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The current biomedical workforce comprises scientists working in multiple sectors: academia, government, and private industry. Within each sector, there are numerous career options for the well-trained Ph.D. scientist. This plethora of possibilities means that our current biomedical trainees must be educated about the different career opportunities available to them and be well-prepared for a chosen career path, including those outside of traditional academic research.

To meet this shifting paradigm in biomedical training, the Biomedical Research Education and Training Office of Career Development within the Vanderbilt School of Medicine created the ASPIRE Program. ASPIRE expands graduate and postdoctoral education and training to reflect the wide range of career options available to the 21st century biomedical scientist.

The goals of the ASPIRE Program are threefold:

  1. Educate and empower biomedical sciences trainees to make well-informed career decisions

  2. Enhance experiential learning opportunities so that trainees transition efficiently to research or research-related careers in either nonacademic or academic venues

  3. Integrate career and professional development into Ph.D. training

Only an estimated 20% of current biomedical Ph.D. students and postdoctoral fellows in the USA will go on to hold tenured or tenure-track faculty positions in academic institutions. Nevertheless, their intensive research training has provided them with a broad skill-set, including excellent critical-thinking and problem-solving abilities. These skills are readily translatable to a wide variety of positions in business, government, non-profits, law, journalism, and education. It is imperative that we educate our trainees about these potential career paths and help prepare them for whatever path they choose. No doubt, students and postdoctoral fellows who receive this enhanced professional skills exposure, in conjunction with their formal scientific training, will emerge empowered to improve our world through their research, leadership, and innovation.

Generous philanthropic support from our alumni and community can make a tremendous impact on the training opportunities afforded our Ph.D. students and postdoctoral fellows. The Office of Career Development ASPIRE program provides a suite of didactic programming, skill enhancement events, and individualized career counseling to assist trainees in their career planning and preparation.

With your help, trainees will have increased access to the real-life experiences and important networking opportunities that directly help them transition to a fulfilling and rewarding career path.

We are committed to helping our trainees attain the support needed to make valuable contributions to our world. We welcome your gifts, large and small, to the following:

ASPIRE Scholar Fund

ASPIRE Scholar funds will provide awards to exceptional Ph.D. graduate students and postdoctoral fellows who wish to pursue externship and internship opportunities outside of ASPIRE’s didactic curriculum.

There are many other ways you may wish to help support our trainees:

  • Specific gifts may be designated to support trainees pursuing a particular career path, or for an internship opportunity at a particular company or enterprise
  • Named endowed scholarships can be established in honor of a particular individual, or on behalf of a specific employer
  • Bequests are a meaningful way to leave a legacy for future generations

All gifts will be acknowledged and are tax deductible.

If you would like to discuss these options further, or have any questions, please contact:

Kathy Gould, Ph.D.

Senior Associate Dean for Biomedical Sciences
Vanderbilt University School of Medicine
340 Light Hall
Nashville, TN 37232
Phone: (615) 343-9502