Career Development Program Shines in Evaluation

-92.8% of CDP programs as very or extremely useful by participants -Across all workshops, a mean average of 67% of participants reported that their career development goals had been influenced by training, and 75% reported that their science communication goals had been influenced by the training. -More than 88% of respondents said they were more aware of career development opportunities at their own institutions.This year, we investigated the outcomes of our Career Development Program for early career STEM students and professionals. Funded by the NSF EPSCoR program, Metcalf partnered with the RI Consortium for Coastal Ecology, Assessment, Innovation & Modeling (C-AIM) to create the Career Development Program (CDP) in 2018 for Rhode Island students.

The CDP is designed to teach communication and career skills to senior-level undergraduates, graduate students, and postdoctoral scholars. CDP workshops include topics like effective mentorship, science communication fundamentals, leadership, time management, and more. Between 2019 and 2022, Metcalf hosted 65 different CDP workshops, including seven multi-day “intensive” programs, and collaborated with thirty institutions across Rhode Island and the nation to bring these trainings to fruition.

In order to study the CDP’s development and impact, we conducted a mix of evaluations, including quantitative and qualitative surveys of participants over the past four years. The workshops consistently met or exceeded expectations, and participants plan to recommend the training to others. We also found that CDP training affected the science communication goals of 75% of participants, and there was always a reported increase in confidence with the targeted skills presented in the workshops after participation. While the data analysis is ongoing, we plan to publish these results in the coming year to assist other institutions in their efforts to support professional skillbuilding for STEM careers. We look forward to continuing our relationships with partner institutions and all those invested in equipping STEM students to better communicate and apply their scientific training across a wide range of career paths.

Metcalf’s 2022 Annual Report


This work is supported in part by the RI Science and Technology Advisory Committee through RI Commerce as part of its award to the RI Consortium for Coastal Ecology Assessment, Innovation & Modeling (under RI NSF EPSCoR Cooperative Agreement #OIA-1655221). Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.