Summer 2022 Pathways to Success Symposium

June 8, 2022

Part I (9:30 am to 11:00 am ET)

Opening Plenary: Self-Advocacy and Assertiveness: A How-To Guide for Succeeding at Cornell and Beyond…

Dr. Sharon Milgram, Director of Intramural Training and Education, National Institutes of Health

View recording of plenary session

Session Summary: To successfully navigate the academic structure as a graduate student and postdoc, you must learn how to become an advocate for yourself. As with most skills, understanding yourself is essential to determine what is most important to you. Equally important to being a self-advocate is to learn how to assert yourself. Regardless of where you land as a professional, self-advocacy and assertiveness are skills primed to help support you in your future career aspirations. Join us for what will be an investment of time that will help you think through your strengths and weaknesses to help you develop as a researcher/scholar in working with other people in systems of power and hierarchy. The session with Dr. Milgram will provide some background information, opportunities to learn more about yourself, and a chance for open discussion with peers.

 Speaker Bio: Dr. Sharon Milgram received a B.S. degree in physical therapy from Temple University and a Ph.D. in cell biology from Emory University. She completed postdoctoral training at The Johns Hopkins University before joining the faculty at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. There, she rose to the rank of full professor in the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology. Dr. Milgram served as the associate director of the Medical Scientist Training Program, director of the Interdisciplinary Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program, and the director of the Summer Undergraduate Research Experience. In 2007 she joined the NIH Office of the Director as the director of the Office of Intramural Training and Education (OITE) where she directs a trans-NIH Office dedicated to the career advancement of over 5,000 trainees. Dr. Milgram lectures widely on science careers, mentorship, leadership, management, wellness, and resilience in research environments. She lives in Silver Spring, Maryland with her wife and son.

Part II (11:30 am to 1:30 pm ET)

Interactive Keynote Session: Claim Your Space – Transformative Communication Skills for Academia and Beyond

Eliza VanCort, Best-Selling Author, Speaker, Thought Leader, and Teacher

Session Summary: The story your physicality and voice tells can clearly project confidence and strength, or send messages which undermine your effectiveness at work and in life. Eliza’s proprietary methodology empowers people to claim space through enhanced actionable communication skills. This results in more equitable collaborations, and confident, innovative thought leadership. 

Speaker Bio: Eliza VanCort is a best-selling author, speaker, thought leader, and teacher. Her best-selling book (#1 on Amazon’s Best Sellers List), “A Woman’s Guide To Claiming Space: Stand Tall, Raise Your Voice, Be Heard offers a “how-to” for a fuller life with actionable tools – from posture to imposter syndrome, interruptions to mansplaining, anti-mentors to cheerleaders, and everything in between! Eliza’s speaking engagements and workshops cover a wide variety of topics, including voice, body language, intersectionality, claiming space, whiteness, allyship, and more to create an environment where folks can talk authentically and build community within and outside of their respective organizations. 

Part III (2:00 pm to 3:30 pm ET)

Workshop: Resilience in Writing – The Key to Graduate Writer Wellbeing and Success

Dr. Lisa Russell-Pinson, Associate Teaching Professor of Writing, Center for Graduate Life, the Graduate School, UNC Charlotte

Session Summary: When graduate students think about improving their writing, their attention typically turns to ensuring that their texts have well-supported arguments, clear organization, and logical transitions. While these are essential components of effective academic texts, another aspect of writing is just as—or perhaps even more—vital to graduate writing success: writer well-being. Writer well-being includes the “long-term, optimal social and emotional health” of writers (Cochran & Miller-Cochran, 2019), and recent studies point to writer well-being as integral to academic achievement and satisfaction. One hallmark of writer well-being is the ability to respond resiliently to challenges in writing (Russell-Pinson & Harris, 2019; Russell-Pinson, forthcoming). Drawing from the research on writing and well-being, this interactive session will introduce writers to concrete ways of building resilience in their own academic writing processes to bolster their academic achievement and satisfaction in graduate school.  

Speaker Bio: Lisa Russell-Pinson, Ph.D. is associate teaching professor of writing in the Graduate School at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. In this role, she teaches writing classes to matriculated graduate students and develops and delivers support programming for doctoral writers. Dr. Russell-Pinson’s current research focuses on doctoral students’ experiences in the dissertation process, especially factors that impede dissertation-writing progress and interventions that help writers succeed. Her most recent work on academic writing has been published in the Journal of Second Language Writing (2019), Learning from the Lived Experiences of Graduate Student Writers (2020), and Mentorship in Scholarly Publication: Narratives and Practices (forthcoming). 

Dr. Russell-Pinson earned her B.A. cum laude in English from the University of South Carolina at Columbia and her M.S. and Ph.D. in linguistics from Georgetown University. She has taught English in the U.S. and varied settings abroad, including the Czech Republic, Georgia, Germany, Slovakia, and Spain. Based on her professional experience and expertise, Dr. Russell-Pinson was selected as an English Language Program Specialist by the U.S. Department of State in 2022.

Sponsored by the Graduate School, the English Language Support Office (ELSO)Cornell Career Services, and the Office of Postdoctoral Studies

Participating Graduate School offices: Office of Inclusion and Student EngagementAcademic and Student AffairsGraduate Student LifeCareers Beyond Academia, and Future Faculty and Academic Careers.