Virtual Professional Development

Virtual Professional Development
students hovering over laptops
Undergraduate Virtual Professional Development Series
Registration for the 2024 program is now open. The program will run June 3rd to July 19th, 2024.

The Leadership Alliance’s Virtual Professional Development Series (VPD) is designed for undergraduate students who are interested in exploring a research career. The VPD is designed for all students - from those who are just beginning to understand what research is to those with multiple research experiences. The VPD will:

  • Improve your understanding of the overall research process
  • Provide a better understanding of research opportunities across disciplines and subject areas
  • Introduce you to professionals in industry, academia, and government who are affecting social change through their research
  • Give you increased confidence for future research opportunities and graduate school application processes
  • Improve your networking skills and expand your network at multiple careers levels
  • Understand careers that are available to research professionals
  • Inspire hope, ignite curiosity, and help propel you to the next phase of your academic career
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VPD 2024 Syllabus (subject to change)
VPD 2024 Session Descriptions (subject to modification)
2022: Monday Virtual Professional Development Conversation with a Doctoral Scholar
2022: Wednesday Virtual Professional Development Series
Mondays – 1 pm – 2 pm EDT – Conversations with Doctoral Scholars

Doctoral Scholars are Leadership Alliance Summer Research Early Identification Program (SR-EIP) alumni who have successfully completed a PhD program and are now working in industry, academia, government, or non-profit fields. Each week the Leadership Alliance VPD Series invites participants to listen to an intimate conversation with one of these distinguished alumni.


Conversations with Doctoral Scholars are recorded for asynchronous viewing. 

Wednesdays - 1 pm - 2 pm EDT – Wednesday Workshops

The Wednesday Workshop Series is designed to provide Virtual Professional Development Series participants with a clear understanding of research careers and pathways as they understand more about research processes and opportunities available to them as undergraduate students.

Each week's workshop features a panel of distinguished guests who have been working in academia, private industry, government, or non-profits who are able to speak to the topic at hand. Each workshop will be geared to students in STEM and in the social sciences and humanities and each workshop will include examples of how research can be used to strengthen and support social justice initiatives.

Wednesdays Workshops are recorded for asynchronous viewing. 

Thursdays 4pm- 5pm EDT, and Fridays 3pm – 4pm EDT – Virtual Recruitment Events

Each week Leadership Alliance member institutions will host drop-in Zoom events where students can meet with representatives from the participating sites to learn more about summer research opportunities, post-baccalaureate offerings, graduate programs, and graduate admissions. Representatives might include graduate school staff, admissions officers, faculty, and graduate students.

Virtual Recruitment Events are NOT recorded for asynchronous viewing. We encourage students to attend as many of these live events as possible to take advantage of this aspect of the program.

Speakers Pathways to Health Equity


Digital Badge

Virtual Professional Development Series participants who complete the following requirements will receive a digital badge/certificate of completion administered through

To receive the badge/certificate participants must:

  • Attend or view at least 3 of the 6 Wednesday Professional Development workshops and answer the follow-up questions posted to the Google classroom for these 3 workshops.
  • Visit at least 4 institutions at the virtual graduate school recruitment events
  • Submit a question for at least one “Conversation with a Doctoral Scholar.”
  • Register for TLA Connect - the Leadership Alliance’s professional networking site
  • Complete a post-survey 

Upon receipt of their digital badge participants will be able to upload it to various platforms (LinkedIn, etc), print it as a certificate, and share it with prospective employers and graduate institutions.


students have participated in our virtual professional development workshops since 2020.