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NextProf Nexus Program Cultivates Georgia Tech’s Rising Talent
National mentoring workshop accepts 11 from the College of Engineering for 2021 event
For students hoping to establish a career in academia, the various demands and expectations of holding a professorship can be daunting. It’s one reason Georgia Tech’s College of Engineering partnered with the University of Michigan and University of California at Berkeley to establish theNextProf Nexus program three years ago. The national mentoring workshop focuses on equipping senior-level Ph.D. candidates, postdoctoral researchers, and early-career scientists and researchers with the tools they need to succeed in academia. The initiative is also in place to help diversify the next generation of academic leaders.
This year’s event, which will be held in Ann Arbor, Michigan, on October 9-11, will include 11 members of the Georgia Tech community. The group will learn about the academic job market, meet potential mentors, attend panel discussions, and gain a better understanding of how to build successful research programs. After the workshop, the participants are also provided information on current faculty searches, including those at the three partner institutions.
A central component of NextProf Nexus’ goals involves increasing the prevalence of traditionally underrepresented minority groups in academia, thereby diversifying STEM fields. Students from traditionally underrepresented groups are encouraged to apply for the program, and applicants are asked to demonstrate their commitment to the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion as part of the acceptance process.
The program has already produced two Georgia Tech success stories. Lauren Garten and Joe Bozeman participated in 2019, when the event was held for the first time on Georgia Tech’s campus in Atlanta. Garten was a postdoc at the U.S. Naval Research Lab. Bozeman was a graduate student at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Today, they are both in their first semester as Georgia Tech assistant professors.
"The NextProf Nexus program was a great opportunity for me to develop a strong and diverse network while gaining perspective on the faculty application process,” said Garten, a researcher who focuses on developing new materials for energy and electronic application in the School of Materials Science and Engineering. “Engaging with the Georgia Tech community during the program was a critical step in what brought me here. I highly recommend this program to those interested in building a diverse community in academia."