Our community is brought together by several activities, the most significant of which is our CBI seminar series (CBI core course CHEM606), which meets weekly during the fall and spring semesters. The CBI seminar program is comprised of UD faculty talks, student rotation talks, student update talks, CBI alumni talks, invited industry leaders talks, and RCR sessions. The students’ consistent weekly involvement brings a sense of CBI community not matched by other programs on campus.
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Student talks: Explaining research results to one’s peers has proven to be a highly effective method to show that students understand the methods and objectives of each of their rotation projects, as well as the importance of scientific rigor. In CHEM606, students will receive formal written comments on their oral presentations, a memo from the program directors highlighting their strengths from their rotational work and official feedback from the advisors during the three rotations. A hallmark of the Delaware CBI Program is that students continue to attend and participate by giving talks in the CBI seminar series throughout their entire graduate program (CHEM867). The weekly meeting clearly instills a sense of community and belonging. The trainees feel a special distinction as being in the “CBI” the entire time they are pursuing their doctorate. Former students have shared how highly they valued the numerous speaking opportunities the program afforded them.
Faculty talks: Faculty talks help to introduce faculty research programs (current and new trainers) to students and colleagues. They often serve as a basis to inspire potential collaborations between faculty and help provide a more cohesive community across departments. Faculty trainers work to stimulate dialog, demonstrating that it is all right to ask even basic questions about subjects outside their own discipline. The regular faculty participation fosters the sense that interdisciplinary science is a co-learning experience for both trainers and students. It is particularly rewarding to see students working together to solve scientific problems such as asking about alternative experimental methods or resources on campus.
Guest talks: The CBI seminar series also invites outside leaders from academia and industry to present their work to our community. This includes speakers from industry and government positions who meet with the graduate trainees during their visit; these visits are inspirational for students when choosing career paths. We found that smaller group discussions with the speakers provide students an opportunity to discuss topics including: arranging postdoctoral research, making the choice between industry and academics, how to network and successfully apply for jobs, how to position oneself within a company for promotion, and work-life balance.
Alumni talks: Alumni enjoy returning and sharing their research and career decisions with current CBI students and CBI faculty. In Fall 2019, Stephanie Ramadan gave a presentation which you can read about here. The strength and success of the CBI alumni is apparent (see Alumni page).
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