ASTR 8500 (O'Connell) Spring 2016


There will be three assignments this semester. Only one will involve a written submission, but all three will involve a presentation to the class using PowerPoint or an equivalent digital presentation system.

You should think of your participation in this course not just as a requirement to be discharged but as an opportunity to build a set of reference materials on professional development that will be useful to all graduate students here and in the outside world as well.

A. Faculty Top-10 Advice

Working in teams of 2 or 3, students will interview as many faculty and senior researchers at UVa and NRAO as possible over a ~3 week period to obtain their best advice for graduate students in the form of the "top 10 things that grad students should know" in confronting their careers. Interviewees aren't obligated to offer you 10 suggestions, but they have been alerted to your visits, and we hope they will be happy to participate and will have thought about the topic ahead of time.

The teams will divide up the interviewees as desired. Each team will consolidate the advice they receive into a top-10 list, which they will present to the class in a brief (8-10 minute) talk. The class will consider and discuss all the presentations and arrive at a final "top-10" consensus list.

B. Proposal to the Virginia Space Grant Consortium

General considerations and advice concerning writing good proposals will be covered in a class presentation. As a realistic exercise, each student will develop and write up a proposal to support their ongoing ASTR 9995 research project in the form expected by the Virginia Space Grant Consortium Graduate Research Fellowship program. That will include writing a resume (or "CV"). Writeups will be submitted for grading. Each student will also present a brief (8-10 minute) summary of their proposal to the class.

C. Presentation on Optional Topic

Each student will select an optional topic related to the course for a 10-12 minute presentation during the last third of the semester. I will provide a list of possible topics, but students can suggest others. Here is a list of the topics chosen so far.

After presentations made under items (B) and (C), the audience will provide constructive feedback using written evaluation forms. Copies (PDF files) of presentations will be posted on the course website.

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Last modified May 2016 by rwo

Text copyright © 2016 Robert W. O'Connell. All rights reserved. These notes are intended for the private, noncommercial use of University of Virginia students.