Graduate school holds events for professional development


Students watching a presentation Tuesday in Butch’s Den, as part of the first event GPSA held for the Professional Development Initiative.

Fifty students attended a presentation led by the graduate dean of students Tuesday, as part of a new graduate school initiative.

With a budget of $60,000, Washington State University’s graduate school and Graduate and Professional Student Association (GPSA) collaborated and created the Professional Development Initiative (PDI), said Shantel Martinez, GPSA Director of PDI.

The PDI will host a total of 30 events and workshops, said Davi Kallman, PDI graduate assistant. These workshops will focus on concepts such as academic and career development, communication, collaboration, leadership, professionalism and personal well-being, she said.

Multiple guest speakers, such as Isaiah Hankel of Cheeky Scientist Association and Paula Chambers of The Versatile PhD, will be present at some of the events to give advice to students on how to find work outside of academia, Kallman said. Each workshop is free and provides lunch to all attendees including WSU staff, faculty and graduate and professional students who may not be attending the WSU Pullman campus.

Many of these workshops focus on resources graduate students may not know they need, such as financial literacy, Kallman said. She also said some of these workshops focus on self-care techniques, such as time management skills.

“Us graduate students tend to put our work ahead of our personal lives a lot,” Martinez said. “In the grand scheme of things, work life balance is really important.”

GPSA and a collection of 10 college deans at WSU provided the funding for the PDI, Martinez said.

“We’re going beyond the classroom,” said Lisa Gloss, associate dean of WSU’s graduate school.

The graduate school and GPSA are hoping to make this initiative last long-term, not just on a year-to-year basis, Gloss said. She said she plans on staying involved with the graduate school for many years, wanting to continue the PDI after those within GPSA graduate.

Kallman and Martinez said the first event, held Tuesday, was very successful, with 50 people at the event. Students should try to come to as many events as possible, Gloss said.

“We can’t help them if they don’t show up,” Gloss said. “I’m most excited about the future, and where this can go.”

For a schedule of the upcoming events, go to