Professional Development for Graduate Students

Course Number and Title:  Meteorology 891, Professional Development for Graduate Students

Semester:  Spring 2019

Instructor:  Dr. David Stensrud, 504 Walker,, Office Hours:  By appointment

Class meeting times and locations:  T 1:35 – 2:50 pm, 110 Walker Building

Course designation in curriculum:  Professional Elective

Brief course description from University Bulletin

This one-credit pass/fail course will offer practical advice to graduate students regarding their future career in the atmospheric sciences and help them think through their employment options. Topics will include professionalism and ethics, needed skills to succeed, career paths and planning, grant writing, finding a mentor, developing professional references, salary negotiations, etc. There will be guest speakers, including successful alumni, university staff and others whose participation will enhance the value of the class.

Prerequisites and concurrent courses:  None

Required textbook:  None

Internet materials and links:  Canvas (

Course expectations:  This course will help graduate students develop skills necessary to start and develop a successful career in meteorology and atmospheric science. 

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Course Objectives:

  1. Students understand the ethical dimensions of conducting scientific research.
  2. Students explore career paths and develop a more holistic perspective on their career.

Course Outcomes:

  1. Students have improved resources and understanding regarding careers in science.


This course is pass/fail and the grade is based upon attendance and participation.  While there is no homework assigned, you will learn from this course as much as you put into it.  I strongly encourage all students to participate fully in course activities. 

Course content:

  1. January 8: No class. 
  2. January 15: Introductions, Professional ethics:  Responsible Conduct of Research
  3. January 22: Writing and Reviewing Scientific Papers
  4. January 29: Grant Writing and Getting Funding
  5. February 5: CVs and Professional Narratives
  6. February 12: Financial literacy
  7. February 19: Post-Doctoral Opportunities and Jobs
  8. February 26: Interview Practice
  9. March 5: Spring Break
  10. March 12: Leadership Skills
  11. March 19: Emotional Intelligence
  12. March 26: Professional societies
  13. April 2:  PhD Graduates in Industry
  14. April 9: PhD Graduates in Academia
  15. April 16: PhD Graduates in Government
  16. April 23: Alumni Interview Presentations

Note on Course Outline: Please note that this outline serves only as a general guide to the course.  The actual topics covered may vary at the discretion of the instructor. 

Academic integrity statement

This course follows the Penn State defines academic integrity as "the pursuit of scholarly activity in an open, honest and responsible manner." Academic integrity includes "a commitment not to engage in or tolerate acts of falsification, misrepresentation, or deception." In particular, the University defines plagiarism as "the fabrication of information and citations; submitting other's work from professional journals, books, articles, and papers; submission of other student's papers, lab results or project reports and representing the work as one's own." Penalties for violations of academic integrity may include course failure. To learn more, see Penn State's "Plagiarism Tutorial for Students."

Course Copyright

All course materials students receive or to which students have online access are protected by copyright laws. Students may use course materials and make copies for their own use as needed, but unauthorized distribution and/or uploading of materials without the instructor’s express permission is strictly prohibited. University Policy AD 40, the University Policy Recording of Classroom Activities and Note Taking Services addresses this issue. Students who engage in the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials may be held in violation of the University’s Code of Conduct, and/or liable under Federal and State laws.

For example, uploading completed labs, homework, or other assignments to any study site constitutes a violation of this policy.

Accommodations for Students with Disabilities

Penn State welcomes students with disabilities into the University's educational programs. Every Penn State campus has an office for students with disabilities. The Student Disability Resources (SDR) website provides contact information for every Penn State campus: ( For further information, please visit the Student Disability Resources website (

In order to receive consideration for reasonable accommodations, you must contact the appropriate disability services office at the campus where you are officially enrolled, participate in an intake interview, and provide documentation: If the documentation supports your request for reasonable accommodations, your campus’s disability services office will provide you with an accommodation letter. Please share this letter with your instructors and discuss the accommodations with them as early in your courses as possible. You must follow this process for every semester that you request accommodations.


This course abides by the Penn State Attendance Policy E-11:, and Conflict Exam Policy 44-35: Please also see Illness Verification Policy:, and Religious Observance Policy: Students who miss class for legitimate reasons will be given a reasonable opportunity to make up missed work, including exams and quizzes.  Students are not required to secure the signature of medical personnel in the case of illness or injury and should use their best judgment on whether they are well enough to attend class or not; the University Health Center will not provide medical verification for minor illnesses or injuries. Other legitimate reasons for missing class include religious observance, military service, family emergencies, regularly scheduled university-approved curricular or extracurricular activities, and post-graduate, career-related interviews when there is no opportunity for students to re-schedule these opportunities (such as employment and graduate school final interviews).  Students who encounter serious family, health, or personal situations that result in extended absences should contact the Office of the Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs (AVPSA) and Student Care and Advocacy for help:  Whenever possible, students participating in University-approved activities should submit to the instructor a Class Absence Form available from the Registrar's Office:, at least one week prior to the activity.

Weather Delays

Campus emergencies, including weather delays, are announced on Penn State News and communicated to cell phones, email, the Penn State Facebook page, and Twitter via PSUAlert (Sign up at:

Reporting Bias-Motivated Incidents

Penn State takes great pride to foster a diverse and inclusive environment for students, faculty, and staff.  Acts of intolerance, discrimination, or harassment due to age, ancestry, color, disability, gender, gender identity, national origin, race, religious belief, sexual orientation, or veteran status are not tolerated ( and can be reported through Educational Equity via the Report Bias webpage.

Counseling and Psychological Services

Many students at Penn State face personal challenges or have psychological needs that may interfere with their academic progress, social development, or emotional wellbeing.  The university offers a variety of confidential services to help you through difficult times, including individual and group counseling, crisis intervention, consultations, online chats, and mental health screenings.  These services are provided by staff who welcome all students and embrace a philosophy respectful of clients’ cultural and religious backgrounds, and sensitive to differences in race, ability, gender identity and sexual orientation.  Services include the following:

Counseling and Psychological Services at University Park  (CAPS): 814-863-0395 Counseling and Psychological Services at Commonwealth Campuses Penn State Crisis Line (24 hours/7 days/week): 877-229-6400 Crisis Text Line (24 hours/7 days/week): Text LIONS to 741741

Penn State E-mail Accounts

All official communications from Penn State are sent to students' Penn State e-mail accounts. Be sure to check your Penn State account regularly, or forward your Penn State e-mail (see to your preferred e-mail account, so you don't miss any important information.