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Wednesday, January 17, 2018
NBA 6320: Core Leadership Skills for a VUCA World

This course is designed to provide students with an opportunity to expand their knowledge and understanding of the key leadership skills required for success in today's volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous (VUCA) business world.

Meets: January 26 & 27, February 2 & 3rd, 2:00- 5:00 pm

Open to all Graduate Students and Seniors from the SC Johnson College of Business. Students can register for the course during Add/Drop 

Download course flyer here.


Monday, December 18, 2017
BEST recommended business & entrepreneurship courses

We assembled a short list of the BEST recommended business and entrepreneurial courses that specifically welcome PhDs and are relevant to scientists and engineers. Enroll NOW!

  • AEM 6145 Business and Management Fundamentals (3 cr. R. Karpman) This is the new full-semester course developed from "Business as a Second Language" offered previously as BME 5960. Meets early in the morning so you can get back to the lab! Basic business and management skills are necessary to

Friday, December 15, 2017
BEST recommended science communication & science policy courses

BEST recommended courses: 

  • BME 4440 Science Policy Boot Camp: Concept to Conclusion (3 cr. C. Schaffer) This is an interdisciplinary service-learning course where students will explore the trends that shape science and innovation policy, understand core science policy concepts and engage in active policymaking work. This three-credit course will comprise of a three-hour long session that will meet every week. The first hour of each session will be devoted to broadening student's

Tuesday, December 05, 2017
BEST December/January Newsletter

The BEST December/January Newsletter is available with news about our program, and a highlight about BESTie, Ismail El Baggari, Ph.D. student in the Kourkoutis lab in Cornell’s School of Applied and Engineering Physics.

See the archive of all BEST newsletters here.


Tuesday, November 21, 2017
Cornell Graduate Consulting Club (CGCC)

The Cornell Graduate Consulting Club is being revived!

Our mission is as follows: 

- Raise awareness of opportunities for PhD, JD, and all other graduate students interested in consulting
- Understand basics of consulting
- Access and share interview prep materials
- Network with current students and alumni

We would love to have your input in the direction of this club.  It will take less than 5 minutes to do so and complete this form. If you have any additional questions


Thursday, November 16, 2017
Science@CornellVET blog

Have you read the Vet school science blog?  Read the 'Scopes article highlighting this student run effort. BESTie Luisa Torres took this opportunity to heart, communicating on topics as varied as the blood brain barrier, typhoid, and the recent Stem Cell Symposium. In her words,

"Using the blog to talk about the research we do in the department is not only a great way for me to improve my science communication skills, but is also a great excuse for me talk to people


Tuesday, November 14, 2017
Interested in leadership?

Enroll in ILRHR7451 Leadership Assessment for Managers

January  17-20, 2018 – Spring semester credits (Graduate students only) Ives Hall

The purpose of the 3 ½ day course is to assess the leadership and management skills of students by providing an opportunity to gather feedback on their strengths and developmental needs. Download course description and instructions to enroll here.


Friday, November 10, 2017
Transitioning to industry careers

On November 7, a diverse panel shared their experiences in transitioning from academia into industry careers.  The BEST Careers in.... Industry, Entrepreneurship and Management event was moderated by BESTie Jin Liang, Post Doctoral Fellow in the Yu Lab at the Weill Institute for Cell and Molecular Biology. Around 25 postdocs and graduate students from 17 different fields who attended posed questions on how, where and the timeline to begin looking for jobs.

The panelists offered


Tuesday, November 07, 2017
Silicon Valley Trek 2017

The Silicon Valley trek is a collaboration between the BEST Program and College of Engineering. Michael Roach, the Clark Professor of Entrepreneurship at the Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management organized the October 25-28 trip to offer eight graduate students the opportunity to visit various companies and expose them to a variety of industry and entrepreneurial careers. 

Selected to participate were (pictured l to r) Mincong Liu (MEng); Ariah Klages-Mundt, PhD


Saturday, November 04, 2017

Left to right: Jason Chang, Benjamin Albert, Matthew Whitman

BESTies, Benjamin AlbertJason Chang and Matt Whitman (Biomedical Engineering) rounded up their visit to Washington DC to attend the AIMBE Public Policy Institute with a tour of NPR, ending up that way an enriching and learning experience. 

"Madeline (Maddie) Sofia, Assistant Producer at NPR and Queen of the Friends of Joe's Big Idea (FOJBIs), gave us an exclusive hour-long tour of NPR facilities attheir headquarters in D.C. We toured the set of All


Friday, November 03, 2017
AIMBE Public Policy Institute broadens views on science policy and careers

BESTies, Benjamin Albert, Jason Chang and Matt Whitman (Biomedical Engineering) attended the AIMBE Public Policy Institute in Washington DC on October 30-31, 2017. ASAP facilitated contacts for them to get a tour of NPR, rounding up that way an enriching and learning experience. We share their comments and feedback below:

"The AIMBE Public Policy Institute had a strong focus on current policies in governmental agencies relating to the current state of the medical field. Speakers


Tuesday, October 31, 2017
BEST November Newsletter

The BEST November newsletter is out with a highlight about BESTie, Madhur Srivastava, PhD student in Biomedical Engineering.

See the archive of all BEST newsletters here.


Saturday, October 28, 2017
Restoring rigor to science

The Cornell community had the opportunity to attend a public talk and two faculty panels with NPR Correspondent, Richard Harris on October 26-27. Invited by the Departments of Horticulture, Biomedical Sciences, and the BEST Program, Mr. Harris delivered the lecture from his recent book, Rigor Mortis: How Sloppy Science Creates Worthless Cures, Crushes Hope and Wastes Billions, and 30 years of science reporting.  Over 200 faculty, students and staff attended these events and gave us


Thursday, October 26, 2017
Want to learn more about entrepreneurship?

Are you thinking about taking an entrepreneurship course? Below is a selection that might interest you if you want to learn more about the business side of science or are thinking about a career in new product development, consulting or management. Bob Karpman and Mike Roach are staunch supporters of the BEST Program.

There are many more courses available at Cornell (see Entrepreneurship@Cornell for the complete list) and we can recommend a short list specifically for STEM PhD students and


Wednesday, October 25, 2017
Become part of the Cornell Graduate Consulting Club (CGCC)

Eilis Monahan is spearheading the relaunch of the Cornell Graduate Consulting Club. There is extensive interest in the Cornell graduate and post-doctoral community in learning about careers in consulting, which should be productively addressed by a vibrant student-run organization, similar to those at other top universities.  This group, as reconceived, would provide members with in-depth exposure to the management and strategy consulting industry, inclusive of the fields of technology and


Wednesday, October 18, 2017
BESTies explore new cellular agriculture field

The BEST Program aims to broaden career opportunities for our participants. Biomedical Engineering BESTies, Elizabeth Feeney and Daniel Cheung requested BEST funding and attended the New Harvest 2017 Conference on October 11-12 in New York City.  See what they got out of their experience:

"The New Harvest Conference focused on the growing industry of cellular agriculture, which is mainly focused on the application of tissue engineering for producing foods like meat. Over


Tuesday, October 17, 2017
BESTie Megan Biango-Daniels interviewed after publication

Megan Biango-Daniels isn't satisfied just publishing her research in top scientific journals. She's been doing a bit of communication lately about her recent article that appeared in Food Microbiology, Sea Salts as a Potential Source of Food Spoilage Fungi. She wrote/pitched this press release to the Cornell Chronicle and spoke about the topic also at Ithaca's Apple Fest on October 1 for the Apple Harvest Festival edition of Science Cabaret

Science Cabaret


Wednesday, October 11, 2017
Professional Society memberships pay off

We cannot emphasize enough the value these membership offer.  BESTie, Aaron Joiner, Biochemistry, Molecular and Cell Biology, is a member of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB), and the American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB). If you ever have doubts about becoming part of a professional society related to your field, see why Aaron believes it is worth it:

"Being a member of both of these societies has provided me with an opportunity to attend


Tuesday, October 03, 2017
BESTernship opportunity

As a result of a D.C. trip where BESTies met with Cornell alumni, one of them is now offering an internship opportunity. There are actually four available, in spring 2018 at the Northeast-Midwest Institute, a nonprofit, nonpartisan research, education, and policy organization based in Washington, D.C.. Please contact Sri with any questions, and copy if you end up applying.

Development and Communications Intern
Environmental Policy Intern
Federal Policy Monitoring Intern


Saturday, September 30, 2017
BESTie site visit to pharma company

BESTie Yudi Pardo's efforts came to fruition with a site visit to the Bristol-Meyers Squibb facilities in Syracuse on September 25.  The visit included a tour of the upstream (cell culture), downstream (purification) and analytical labs.

"The site visit gave me a unique insight into the day-to-day work of researchers in the area of pharmaceutical manufacturing. I was able to speak to several researchers in person, tour their labs, and finally network with some of the BMS employees


Saturday, September 30, 2017
Kathtleen Hefferon attends food security, ag & policy meeting

"The Agricultural Bioscience International Conference (ABIC) was held this past September 25-28, in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. The conference was hosted by the Life Science Association of Manitoba. I was lucky enough to be funded by the Cornell BEST program (Broadening Experiences in Scientific Training) to attend this exciting conference concerning food security, agriculture and policy. Here are some highlights from the conference. 

   The first keynote address was


Thursday, September 28, 2017
Heyward accepted in the SMDP-MedTech Scholars Program

The BEST Program was pleased to support BESTie Christa Heyward, Postdoctoral Fellow in Cynthia Leifer's Lab, to attend a 5-day training session in San Jose, CA along with the MedTech Conference on September 23-27. Heyward was selected to participate in the Scientist and Diversity Program for Medical Technology (SMDP MedTech). This year-long program aims to bring more diversity to the medical technology workforce by pairing diverse scholars with industry mentors from leading companies. 


Tuesday, September 26, 2017
BEST October Newsletter

The BEST October newsletter highlights BESTie, Elodie Gazave, and her successful transition to a career as a communications specialist in the Institute of Biotechnology at Cornell.

See the archive of all BEST newsletters here.


Tuesday, September 26, 2017
The possibilities are endless

BESTie, Xiangkun (Elvis) Cao, a Ph.D. student in Professor Erickson’s lab, presented his research on “Application of Smartphone Technology in Food Safety” at the Journey Through Science Day in New York City on September 18. 

This event was sponsored by the New York Academy of Sciences (Academy) and PepsiCo. Fifty exceptional graduate students and early career scientists were selected worldwide and given an opportunity to network with PepsiCo's R&D leaders, learn


Tuesday, September 19, 2017
BESTies Attended ACLS International Summer School 2017 in Singapore

Two Cornell graduate students participated last week in the ACLS International Summer School in Singapore, co-organized by the Education Academy of Computational Life Sciences (ACLS) at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, the School of Biological Sciences at Nanyang Technological University and Cornell's BEST Program. The annual ACLS summer school event, planned and run by graduate students at Tokyo Tech, provided students the opportunities to develop leadership capacity and enhance


Tuesday, September 12, 2017
New York Academy of Science - free membership

To support the professional and career development of members our community, Cornell University maintains an institutional membership with one of the oldest and most prestigious scientific organizations in the United States, the New York Academy of Sciences. Through our institutional membership, interested undergraduate and graduate students, postdocs, faculty and staff are eligible for a complimentary 1-year membership with NYAS.

Academy members benefit from free/discounted access to:



Wednesday, August 30, 2017
Communicating science at the Street Fair

Taking time to showcase their science, BESTie, Andrea Acevedo (Biophysics), together with, Tatsiana Kosciuk (BMCB), and Vishal Chaudhari (postdoc at Hanson Lab) volunteered to host a science activity during President Pollack's inauguration.  They expected 60 people, but had over 120 coming through. This is a summary of Andrea's experience: 

"As part of my experience in communicating science, I presented an experiment at the inauguration Street Fair for President


Tuesday, August 29, 2017
BEST September Newsletter

This month's newsletter highlights BESTie, Christa Heyward, postdoctoral researcher in Tracy Stokol's lab. 

See the archive of all BEST newsletters here.


Tuesday, August 29, 2017
Professional Product Design Studio

MSE/CHEME/MAE 7070 gives students essential product design experience by working in teams to transform an idea or technology into a potentially successful new product.  Guidance and lectures are provided on essential concepts by invited guest lecturers and Mark Hurwitz, who share real-world design experience and provide useful feedback on student projects. Open to grad students in any field.

This course is excellent preparation for engineering students who are interested in the Ph.D.


Monday, August 28, 2017
Professional behavior discussed front and center

In the lab or office, unprofessional behavior can cause friction with co-workers and sometimes end careers. So, what are the general rules of professional behavior that will help you excel? In the approximately six years that Biological Sciences students spend obtaining their PhDs little or no training is given on professional behavior. This is in sharp contrast to master’s students in engineering, who have just two years before they hit the job market. In mid-August, I and three other


Thursday, August 24, 2017
BESTie publishes paper that draws in public

A great example of science communication that contrasts the primary literature with the way it was shared with a broader audience. Ezen Choo's publication in the Journal of Food Science drew attention from the Chicago Tribune, who summarized her work with the title "How your morning coffee affects your afternoon sugar craving." The results may have implications for new recommendations by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. In comparison, read the original scientific paper entitled:


Tuesday, August 22, 2017
BESTies win awards at the BBS Symposium

Erica Lachenauer (Biological and Biomedical Sciences) won the BEST oral presentation, and Matthew Pennington (Baker Institute for Animal Health & Molecular Biology & Genetics) received the BEST poster award at the Biological and Biomedical Sciences Symposium on Friday August 18, 2017. Congratulate them if you see them!

The BBS symposium, now in its 16th year, is completely trainee run. Kudos to the extremely efficient (and modest!) organizational team who pulled off a seamless and


Tuesday, August 15, 2017
Charlotte Levy's research is highlighted in the Chronicle

Kudos to BESTie Charlotte Levy who presented her research at the ESA (Ecological Society of America) 2017 in Portland, Oregon on August 8, 2017.   Read the Cornell Chronicle's article highlighting her participation here.


Monday, August 14, 2017
BEST funded trainee wins 3rd place at case competition

Varun Kopparthy, a postdoc at the Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, is interested in a career in consulting, and now knows many consulting companies want to hire advanced degree candidates. How better to help decide whether this career path is for him than to be a consultant? He wanted to understand what a consulting career involves and how to tackle a business case. In doing research to learn more, he came across the Tufts New England Case Competition (TUNECC) and applied


Friday, August 11, 2017
Learn about technology commercialization & IP management

If you are interested in the business side of science, think you might want to become an entrepreneur, join a small company or go into intellectual property management, here is a great course for you to learn all about invention and technology commercialization, taught by experts in the field.

Enroll now for PLBRG 4050 "Invention & Technology Commercialization: intellectual property management for scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs" It takes place Tuesdays and Thursdays from


Monday, August 07, 2017
2017 BEST Advisory Board bonds with ropes challenge

A recent cooler, sunny Saturday found BESTies atop Mount Pleasant for low and high elements of the Hoffman Challenge Course to get to know each other, have fun and build trust for their leadership in the next year. Low elements yielded lessons about planning, communication, inclusiveness, and having everyone play a role. Although planning was initially intentional, jumping in and planning along the way worked quite well for this adaptable group that, it turns out, functions very well together


Sunday, July 30, 2017
Leadership Alliance - Career Development Workhop

BESTies, Jen Schmidt (Biological Engineering), Jessica Elmore (Immunology and Infectious Disease), and Varun Kopparthy, (Biomedical Engineering) attended the SYNERGI (SYnergistic Network to Enhance Research that Grows Innovation) Biomedical Career Development Workshop hosted by The Leadership Alliance in Hartford, CT, on July 26 & 27, 2017.  See their comments and take aways:

"My time at the SYNERGI career development workshop was such a fantastic and valuable


Thursday, July 20, 2017
Cornell Chronicle highlights ComSciCon 2017

Read Elodie Gazave's Cornell Chronicle article highlighting the ComSciCon 2017. Congratulations to all involved in organizing this event: Benjamin Cohen, Robert MacDonald, Frank He, Michael McCoy, Kristen Brochu, Madhur Srivastava, Tyler McCann, Eugene Philip Law and Susi Varvayanis, BEST Program Director. (BESTies in bold)


Thursday, July 13, 2017
Three more BESTies earn Lean Six Sigma Certification

The BEST Program in partnership with Binghamton University's Watson School of Engineering again offered the opportunity to register and complete the Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Training at no cost to BEST trainees. Congratulations to BESTies Fiona HarnischfegerMariely Medina-Rivera (Food Science), and Tiffany Tang, (Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering) on passing the exam for certification at the green belt level. It will next be offered December 18-January 21. Contact


Tuesday, June 27, 2017
BEST July Newsletter

BESTie Ethan Stanford highlights upcoming July events and more in the July BEST Newsletter.  Andrew Gipson and what BEST has meant for him is the featured spotlight. Enjoy!!

See the archive of all BEST newsletters here.


Monday, June 19, 2017
Science Policy Course Outcomes

BME 4440: Science Policy, from Concept to Conclusion is a course intentionally designed by professor Chris Schaffer to provide students with an immersive experience into the fast-paced and reactive nature of science policy. The course includes weekly discussions centered on policy changes in the news and the implications for such changes all with a scientist’s perspective, technical report writing, drafting of memos and op-eds, and mock advocacy case studies. This year, students paired up


Thursday, June 15, 2017
Congrats to Commercialization Fellows

BESTie Juan Guzman will examine his technology for potential commercial worth, after having tested the waters in the Pre-Seed Workshop. The alumni funded Commercialization Fellowship, now in its second year, allows late stage engineering PhD students to spend a semester and a summer to investigate the market potential of their inventions in concert with a team of MBAs, industry experts and seasoned business mentors. The process allows them to acquire skills not normally taught during


Tuesday, June 06, 2017
Interested in Industry?

The BEST Program has many presentations on careers in industry. Below are compiled some of the presentations, slides, tips and take-aways for you to learn more:

Carlo Nalin-Novartis
Kent Goklen-GSK : tips and takeaways
ASBMB Careers in Industry
Biogen shadowing
Biogen CEO (and recently elected Cornell Trustee) talk
Industry, Entrepreneurship & Management Panels:

panel discussion takeaways
career advice
video of a panel discussion


Tuesday, May 30, 2017
BEST June Newsletter

Read this month's newsletter to learn about upcoming opportunities in June and BEST program highlights. See the archive of all BEST newsletters here.



Tuesday, May 30, 2017
March for Science draws advocates to champion science for the common good

Nationwide, 1.3million marchers supported the Earth Day event intended to strengthen the role of science in policymaking, improve science outreach and communication, advance science education and science literacy, and foster a diverse and inclusive scientific community. Cornell researchers contributed their voice in large numbers.

Read the article written by NIH BEST and Cornell Vet School blogger Divya Shiroor: Science, not Silence featuring the prominent role of ASAP (Advancing Science


Thursday, May 25, 2017
How to negotiate for a 'yes' from your PI for an internship opportunity

If you are a postdoctoral fellow in the experimental biology field, you know how challenging it is to get your PI’s approval on an internship outside your lab. It is challenging, but not impossible. Here are some tips that can help you get the “yes” from your PI.

Plan ahead of time

Needless to say that you need time to search for the internship opportunities and complete your application before the deadline if there is one. What is usually forgotten or underestimated is the


Monday, May 22, 2017
BESTie Elvis Cao is panelist, wins Biotech Symposium poster award

A Ph.D. student in Prof. Erickson’s labBESTie Xiangkun (Elvis) Caoreceived $100 for winning the First Place in Student Research Presentation at the recent 9th annual New York State Biotechnology Symposium. His topic is on: FeverPhone: Point of Care Diagnosis of Acute Febrile Illness using a Mobile Device.

He also joined the panel on Science Communication & Public Understanding, to discuss his experience with the 3 minute thesis competitions he has aced, both at


Monday, May 22, 2017
Chemist-Inventor-Entrepreneur Glenn Prestwich shares career advice

From the lab of Jerrold Meinwold in the Department of Chemistry, alumnus Glenn Prestwich went on to reinvent himself several times over, first turning down an offer to teach mathematics in Kabul, Afghanistan. As a young boy, he initially wanted to be an astrophysicist, then an embryologist, then perhaps a mathematician. He never predicted that after 100 publications in chemistry he would go on to lead a Center for Biotechnology, then establish a Center of Excellence in Utah and develop


Tuesday, May 16, 2017
Take a politician to work

Kudos to ASAP (Advancing Science and Policy) for engaging politicians, policy makers and STEM scientists. ASAP invited three local politicians to campus to visit labs and talk to students interested in science policy. The three Spring events congregated a great number of students from diverse fields and interests.

Leslie Danks Burke leaded a roundtable discussion on "How to run for State Government" on March 30. Ms. Danks Burke was a candidate for the New York's 58th Senate


Saturday, May 13, 2017
BESTies earn well deserved recognition

Congratulations to BESTies Steve Halaby, Ezen Choo, Aaron Joiner, Ornella Nelson, and Frank He who were inducted into the Cornell chapter of the Edward A. Bouchet Graduate Honor Society. The scholars were inducted at the annual Yale Bouchet Conference on Diversity and Graduate Education held April 7-9 at Yale University. 

Steve Halaby and Ezen Choo were also recipients of the 2017 Distinguished Awards. Award nominations are reviewed and award recipients are determined by a


Friday, May 12, 2017
NYBIO meeting: NY life sciences at a tipping point

Malcolm Gladwell (author of The Tipping Point) opened up the annual two-day NYBIO conference in NYC with record audience attendance. His keynote message touched on creativity, risk taking and what we need to have in support. His talk made us all remember the necessary gestation period (~10,000h), patience (10-30 years), faith that the process of innovation is not as predictable or accurate as we'd like it to be, and comfort with the uncertainty of the creative endeavors that


Tuesday, May 02, 2017
BEST May Newsletter

We hope you enjoy the BEST May Newsletter and learn about upcoming opportunities and highlights of our program. See the archive of all BEST newsletters here.


Saturday, April 29, 2017
Entrepreneurship@Cornell offers an eye opening experience

Entrepreneurship@Cornell Celebration brings together alumni, parents, students, faculty, and staff for two days of on-campus events including symposia on a wide range of topics including: mentorship success; sustainable, social enterprise; health administration.  BESTies Ruisheng Wang (Engineering), and Sarah Adeyemo (Plant Biology) received a BEST Program award to attend, and gave us feedback about their experience:

It was an eye opening and encouraging experience for me. 95% of


Monday, April 24, 2017
ASAP connects politicians and PhD students

By Elodie Gazave

During “bring a politician to work” day, Ithaca mayor Svante Myrick '09 was invited to meet scientists on the Cornell campus. This initiative that took place on April 12th, 2017, was organized by ASAP (Advancing Science And Policy) to forge a stronger relationship between local and state politicians and scientists. After touring research laboratories, the mayor met graduate students and postdocs from ASAP and the BEST program for a fruitful conversation about the


Sunday, April 23, 2017
Chris Schaffer advocates for scientists to engage with the public

Read "From Alaska to Georgia, Why 6 Scientists will March on Washington" published by the Chronicle of Higher Education and featuring Cornell BEST Program co-PI Chris Schaffer. "It’s exciting to see scientists wanting to come out and do something other than plug away at questions in their labs," he said. "I hope that this is a first step toward a much greater degree of engagement between scientists and the public."

After the march, he hopes to see more


Wednesday, April 19, 2017
Chronicle features BEST Program

Doctoral students and postdocs benefit from BEST Program activities to broaden their professional training through exposure to the variety of possible careers that await PhDs, and then by 'trying on' the skills needed in particular career pathways to make more informed decisions for their future.

Written by Elodie Gazave, research associate in the Section of Plant Breeding and Genetics in the School of Integrative Plant Science and BEST Program Marketing and Communications Manager.


Tuesday, April 18, 2017
BESTie Elvis Cao wins 2017 SigmaXi grad division

BESTie Xiangkun Elvis Cao was chosen by the scientific research honor society SigmaXi as the 2017 Graduate Division winner of the student research showcase for his work in David Erickson's lab on the Feverphone. His communication skills (recognized by the 3MT People's Choice award) earned him the top slot and brought him to the attention of the organizers of the 9th annual Biotechnology Symposium on May 19 & 20 who have invited him to join a panel of expert communicators to discuss the


Sunday, April 16, 2017
Mark Bayer - Make Your Mark in D.C.

Mark Bayer, Founder and President of Bayer Strategic Consulting, was invited by ASAP (Advancing Science And Policy) and GPSAFC to give a talk entitled:  "From Congress to Consulting: Opportunities to Make Your Mark in DC."   Mark started his own consulting company that he shaped by nearly two decades of experience across government, corporate, and non-profit sectors. He was a Chief of Staff in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, a management consultant for


Friday, April 14, 2017
Biocytogen VP visits Cornell

The BEST program and Dr. Avery August invited James Jin, Ph.D., Vice President of Biocytogen LLC to give the seminar: Gene-targeting Platform & its Application in Immuno-Oncology Model Development."

After the seminar, Dr. Jin held a small group discussion with BESTies, grad students and postdocs interested in learning about his career trajectory and the skills needed in small companies. Some of the participants shared what is the most important thing they learned: 



Thursday, April 13, 2017
ASAP sends busload of students to Science March

For researchers interested in the intersection of science and policy, this trip, organized by graduate students Sabrina Solouki and Charlotte Levy, will give a voice to and engage ASAP members in the policy making process while educating the public about the role of scientific input in advancing society. Timed for Earth Day, April 22, the March for Science is a national non-partisan effort to defend the vital public service role science plays in our communities and our world. Since the


Sunday, April 09, 2017
BESTies attend Good Clinical Practices Conference

The BEST program sponsored BESTies Ezen Choo and Adele Zhou (Pharmacology) to attend Good Clinical Practices Conference 2017: Regulatory Issues in Clinical Research on April 5 in Pittsford, NY. This one day seminar provided an in-depth review of some of the latest FDA guidances and  practical tips to assist participants in understanding, applying and successfully complying with GCP guidelines.   See their feedback and comments:

This event was designed for professionals


Thursday, April 06, 2017
AAAS CASE and Advocacy Day

BESTie Sabrina Solouki (Immunology & Infectious Disease) was selected to represent Cornell University, along with Cat Sun (Natural Resources) at the prestigious AAAS CASE (American Association for the Advancement of Science Catalyzing Advocacy in Science and Engineering) Workshop April 2-5 in Washington, D.C.. The workshop provided an overview of the structure and organization of Congress, federal budget and appropriations processes, and provided tools and practice for effective science


Tuesday, April 04, 2017
AAAS Science and Technology Policy Forum

We cannot emphasize enough the importance of establishing connections and networking as early as possible during your career training. Attending events which will expose you to fields you are considering as possible career opportunities is a great way to start. BESTies Kasey Schalich, and Cassandra Orndorff, Animal Science, received BEST funds to attend the AAAS Forum on Science and Technology Policy in Washington D.C. on March 27-28 to learn about science policy and make connections. See


Saturday, April 01, 2017
Social Issues in Community Engagement by Cancer Scientists

Read the article "Candid conversation: Cancer patients and survivors connect with Cornell students" by Elodie Gazave, a research associate in the Section of Plant Breeding and Genetics in the School of Integrative Plant Science and BEST Program Marketing and Communications Manager.


Friday, March 31, 2017
BESTies compete in 3MT

February was a busy month for the 35 applicants to the Three Minute Thesis competition at Cornell. Many of them are associated with the BEST Program, and all have worked hard to perfect their TED-style talk to summarize their thesis work "in an engaging form that can be understood by an intelligent audience with no background in the research area. This exercise develops presentation, research and academic communication skills and supports the development of research students' capacity to


Thursday, March 30, 2017
BEST April Newsletter

Ethan Sanford has published the April BEST Newsletter. Glance at a list of BEST April events highlights and news about our program.

See all past newsletters here.


Monday, March 20, 2017
BESTies complete Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Certification

The BEST Program in partnership with Binghamton University's Watson School of Engineering offered the opportunity to register and complete the Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Training. Six BESTies took advantage of the full reimbursement for the course and received their diplomas this Spring:  David Lynch, Materials Science and Engineering; Yifan Cheng, Food Science; Oriana Teran, Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology; Mohammad Haft-Javaherian, Biomedical Engineering, Juan Wang and 


Monday, March 20, 2017
Take aways from Lessons in Leadership

A part of the series “Navigating Your Future: BEST Careers in…” in cooperation with OISE and the Graduate School, we invited leader and consultant John Hinck to give students his advice on how to become effective leaders.  These are impressions from some of the participants for the take away lessons and key elements of his workshop:

"Recognition of shared values and how to apply this to leadership positions."

"I think John forcing us to critically


Thursday, March 16, 2017
Non-Academic Career Symposium

On March 13-15, the Graduate School in partnership with the BEST Program brought 26 doctoral students to Washington D.C. to explore careers in government, attend panels with alumni involved in a range of disciplines and non-academic employment sectors, and participate in various networking events. BESTies who took part in the symposium are:  Aaron Joiner (BMCB), Michael McCoy & Nashaat Rasheed (Biomedical Engineering), Bo Yang (Mechanical Engineering), Mariely Medina-Rivera&


Thursday, March 02, 2017
BEST March Newsletter

Read the BEST March Newsletter to learn about events and BEST program highlights and news. See the archive of all BEST newsletters here.

See past newsletters

Thursday, March 02, 2017
Networking for chemical biologists

Thanks to the organizational capabilities of Michael Lynch, we had a very engaging audience today from the Chemistry-Biology Interface training grant group which is led by Professor Hening Lin. Made up of chemists, biologists, and chemical engineers, we all enjoyed hearing elevator pitches about everyone's research and motivation for why to get out of bed every morning to go to the lab.

We practiced networking (with some tips for those of us who are introverts) and decided we'd sit next to


Friday, February 24, 2017
There is no such thing as bad networking

BESTie, Mary Clare McCorry, took advantage of BEST financial support and completed a carefully planned networking/job search trip with a very good outcome.  Her first stop was the AMRI MedTech MeetUp in Albany on Feb. 15, she continued to Boston to attend the RAPS Boston Chapter EU Harmonization, and the Spring 2017 Career Fair at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (her alma mater) on Feb. 16, and finally she stopped at the Sciences Career Job Fair at the 


Wednesday, February 22, 2017
AAAS Science policy conference broadens BESTies views

BESTies Robert MacDonald, Environmental Toxicology, and Steve Halaby, Molecular Biology & Genetics, Charlotte Levy, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, and Leah Pagnozzi, Biomedical Engineering, attended the 2017 AAAS Annual Meeting in Boston on February 15-20. As a result their views were broadened to consider a career involving advocating for science and policymaking.

I have been interested in science policy for some time now, and have participated in several events (i.e. CASE, guest


Friday, February 10, 2017
Cornell and P&G working together to build a new model for PhD recruiting

Read the feedback and summary of the BEST P&G on-site visit to Procter & Gamble's headquarters in Cincinnati, OH on January 9/10.  Participation was limited to poster winners from three select fields with whom P&G has historically recruited, plus select BESTies who applied with interest in a career in industry and how they might be a good fit for P&G.

Selected to participate were (pictured l to r) Ornella Nelson (Chemistry & Chemical Biology), Erik


Thursday, February 09, 2017
Host a Policy Maker

ASAP (Advancing Science And Policy)  has begun planning an unprecedented project entitled "Take a Politician to Work Day," in order to forge new ties and relationships with local and state politicians. The goal is to engage with officials and staffers of New York and Ithaca by providing tailored lab tours to showcase all the impressive research occurring on campus. During this event, not only will students get the chance to discuss their research, but we will also get to hear


Wednesday, February 01, 2017
February 2017 Newsletter

Read the the February newsletter to learn about BEST news and upcoming events.

See all past newsletters here.


Wednesday, February 01, 2017
Should I do a postdoc? discussion and feedback valuable for trainees

The BEST Program's goal is to broaden our participants career options, and in collaboration with the Office of Postdoctoral Studies and CU-CIRTL, organized "Should I do a postdoc?" on February 1, 2016.

Attendees at "Should I do a postdoc?" were not disappointed with their time spent at the recent seminar and panel discussion. Michael Roach gave a compelling talk about his research on the topic of career choices recently published in Science. (See


Tuesday, January 31, 2017
BESTie completes Medical Device Quality Assurance Certificate

Sponsored by the BEST Program, BESTie Mary Clare McCorry, Biomedical Engineering, completed this certification program.

"I attended this online course to learn more about regulation of medical devices. This course helped me gain a broad understanding of the regulatory process for medical devices. I now feel more confident in using regulatory language, and I think this knowledge will be very useful in my job application and interview process as well as continue to be relevant in


Tuesday, January 31, 2017
Kudos to students in Natural Resources

A student in Angela Fuller's lab, Cat Sun, was awarded the Best Presentation award at the Department of Natural Resources 2017 Symposium  an entirely student run annual event. She is developing an app "I See Mammals" that is helping to integrate data (both presence and absence) to aid in bear conservation and wildlife practices in general in NY state. It is a great citizen science project!

In addition, Toby Holda (an MS candidate) and Ellen George (PhD student in Lars


Friday, January 20, 2017
Careers in Data Science

Following David Drummond's presentation about the Insight Data Science application process, a Cornell BESTie was awarded an Insight Health Data Science Fellowship. If you are wrestling with the idea of a career in data science, here is an article you might want to read:

Explosion of Big Data Jobs: These Biotechs Are Hiring Huge Numbers of Data Scientists

Aditya Basrur provides a list of nine areas in biotechnology where data scientists are employed. It’s probably just


Tuesday, January 17, 2017
BEST Careers in ...Science Policy - Rocco Casagrande talk

Rocco Casagrande, Cornell alumnus (Tim Huffaker's lab) gave a talk on science policy and its role in government on January 10, 2016. He served as a BEST mentor for Alex Coots who did a BESTernship at Gryphon Scientific in Bethesda. Their work led to recommendations on guidance released just yesterday on a review process for risky virus studies.  Use this link to view the slides of this talk.

This is what participants have to say:

"I learned more about a career topic I was


Sunday, January 08, 2017
ASAP website gets facelift, starts blog

BESTies team up to take the organization founded by Chelsea Gregg to a new level. ASAP (Advancing Science And Policy) new leadership group is:

President: Sabrina Solouki, Biological and Biomedical Sciences
Vice President: Charlotte Levy, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Secretary: Kelson Zaweck, Computational Biology
Communications: Juan Guzman, Biological and Environmental Engineering
E Board: Ismail El Baggari, Physics
Faculty Advisor: Prof. Chris Schaffer

The website got a


Friday, January 06, 2017
The top BESTimonial for 2016

We appreciate hearing how the BEST Program has influenced the career goals for our participants, and we want to share what we received from BESTie Hansen Xu, Biochemistry, Molecular and Cell Biology:

I began exploring the possibility of having a career outside of science after graduation in my third year. After some research, it became apparent that in order to make myself competitive for the job market in the field I wanted to be in, work experience was absolutely necessary since I would


Thursday, December 22, 2016
December-January BEST Newsletter

BESTie, Ethan Sanford, has taken over as the BEST newsletter Editor.  Welcome Ethan!  Read and enjoy the December-January newsletter.

A heartfelt thanks to Victor Aguilar who initiated and wrote our newsletter for a little over a year.  See all past newsletters here.


Tuesday, December 13, 2016
Cornell postdoc alumna urges scientists to get active in policymaking

Since the election, it appears that science and scientific evidence is at risk of falling by the wayside. That is, unless scientists activate. Cornell's BEST Program is here to help you get the tools you need to be effective at advocating for science.

Cornell postdoc alumna Catharine Young co-created Chris Schaffer's Science Policy Bootcamp course and is now walking the walk. She shared via TED Fellows her take on what we can do right now, starting with contacting your representatives. Her


Thursday, December 08, 2016
Product Management Training

The BEST Program in collaboration with ProSky offered the opportunity to take Product Management Training to those interested in learning the strategy, roadmap and feature definition of a product. The training helped participants learn how to analyze markets and competitive conditions, create a vision that differentiates and delivers unique value based on demand.  Three Cornell students participated in the training from October 24-Dec 2, including BESTie Jin Liang, Weill Institute for


Tuesday, November 22, 2016
Charles Hamilton shares his experiences as an entrepreneur

Rick Wang, Charles Hamilton and Levon AtoyanThis month's Navigating Your Future: BEST Careers in.. Industry, Entrepreneurship and Management talk featured Charles Hamilton, BEST mentor, who has helped several companies based on Cornell technologies (and started by PhDs) grow and acquire funding in their early stages.

As President of Novomer, he helped them acquire $6.6Million in a series A round of investments led by Physic Ventures and Flagship Ventures. He was at the helm as they grew from 2 employees to over 20. We went on to co-found


Monday, November 21, 2016
2016 TIBBS Career Blitz

Cornell BEST teamed up with BEST colleagues at UNC to provide an opportunity for BESTies to participate in their TIBBS (Training Initiatives in Biomedical Biological Sciences) Career Blitz on Nov. 15 and an ELITE (Enhancing Local Industry Transitions Through Exploration) PPD Site Visit in the morning of Nov. 16. ELITE is a collaborative effort from NIEHS and Duke University to visit local biomedical companies.

The Career Blitz involved over 20 PhD-trained scientists from different career paths


Saturday, November 19, 2016
Entrepreneurship Summit NYC 2106

BESTies, Colin Jermain, Physics, and Ruisheng Wang and Tiffany St. Bernard from Biomedical Engineering, attended the Entrepreneurship Summit 2016  hosted by Entrepreneurship at Cornell on November 4 in New York City. The one day event was filled with opportunities to network, hear speakers and learn! This what our BESTies shared about their experience:

At the Entrepreneurship Summit I had the opportunity to meet people from entrepreneurs to venture capitalists, and these


Thursday, November 17, 2016
Knowledge and skills used in a non-profit setting

A discussion on “Career Paths in Research-driven Non-Profits – An Opportunity for Young Scientists?”

Victoria Miller, CEO and Founding Executive Director of the Trisomy 18 Foundation, gave an impassioned speech about career opportunities for young scientists in Research-driven Non-Profits.

Using the example of her own foundation (, Victoria Miller explained the contrast of cultures between basic research and non-profit science programs. Punctuated with


Tuesday, November 15, 2016
Want to expand your career opportunities? The BEST program can help.

BESTie Melissa Ledet, Comparative Biomedical Sciencesreceived BEST funding and completed the Good Clinical Practices Online Course and Certificate. Read her testimonial and what she got out of the course:

The Good Clinical Practices course is very easy and straightforward, and I would recommend it to anyone interested in regulatory work like clinical trial management. The course requires little time commitment and allows you to submit assignments at your convenience. The downside to


Thursday, November 10, 2016
2016 AIMBE Public Policy Institute

The 2016 AIMBE Public Policy Institute was held in Washington DC on October 24th and 25th. The two-day workshop featured policy and regulatory science experts from government and industry. There were also panelists that recently completed a year-long postdoctoral fellowship at the FDA and currently work in policy in various capacities.

Cornell BESTies and biomedical engineers Frank He and Michael McCoy, both of whom have a strong interest in public policy and science communication, were in


Friday, November 04, 2016
GSK's Kent Göklen shares industry insights

With 21 years at Merck, retiring as Senior Scientific Director of Biopurification Development, and several years in his current role as Director of Downstream Process Development at GlaxoSmithKline Biopharm R&D, alumnus Kent Göklen shared his insights on a career in industry with PhD students interested in a wide array of areas. Attendees were from Biomedical Engineering, Physics, Genetics, Plant Biology, Environmental Engineering, Food Science and beyond.

On careers



Thursday, November 03, 2016
BEST participates in Town-Gown Resource Fair

Cornell's BEST Program was one of many resources showcased at the recent Town-Gown Resource Fair held November 2.

Read the Pawprint article here. See the coverage in the Picture Cornell Slideshow for the week.


Tuesday, November 01, 2016
November BEST Newsletter

We invite you to read this month's news and to peruse the upcoming slate of events.

See all past newsletters here.


Monday, October 31, 2016
Prioritize your skill development time

This Halloween, instead of turning into a ghoul, BEST recommends pushing yourself beyond your comfort zone via exposure to business and management skills, useful in whatever career you will end up in. A good investment of your STEM PhD and postdoc time. We suggest to prioritize your professional development goals on an equal level with your research goals. Incorporate these skills into your individual development plan. They might even help you achieve your research goals faster!



Wednesday, October 26, 2016
BESTie completes MIT certificate course for Big Data and Social Analytics

Jessica Duke (Chemistry and Chemical Biology) received support from the BEST Program to complete this 8-week online course.

Read her review and feedback here. Congratulations Jessica!


Monday, October 24, 2016
BEST Program contributes to Quality of Grad Student Life

The GPCI (Graduate and Professional Community Initiative) was created in 2013 by the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly. The GPCI is a framework for strategic discussions to identify and address issues related to graduate and professional student life. The below report (October 2016) is organized by topic areas identified in the 2013 initiative. The report covers:

Advancements in the Quality of Graduate Student Life in Recent Years

Student Center
Sense of Community


Wednesday, October 19, 2016
Apply to Become a AAAS Fellow!

AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellowships (STPF) provide scientists, social scientists, engineers, and health/medical professionals a unique opportunity to contribute to federal policymaking in Washington DC . American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Policy fellows gain hands-on policy experience, help develop and execute solutions to address societal challenges, and become a member of a strong and influential network of 3,000+ fellows. Application


Wednesday, October 19, 2016
Why should you step out of your comfort zone?

BESTie Zhengchun Lu (Baker Institute) will tell you why...  Funded by the BEST Program, Zhengchun attended the 2016 BIO International Convention and experienced first hand what it means to be in a non-academic environment with BIO industry leaders and thousands of attendees.

See the BIO 2016 Infographic: 40% C-level attendees; 1800 exhibitors; 192 company presentations; 35,700 one-on-one partnering meetings!

"As the largest meeting of Biotechnology, the 15,000 attendees to


Wednesday, October 12, 2016
Cornell BEST Program


Have you considered a career beyond academia?

Learn what the BEST program is all about, how we are changing the culture, and what BEST trainees, faculty and guest speakers have to say about taking charge of one's career future. Click on the image to see the slide presentation.



Wednesday, October 12, 2016
Product Management Training Program

See more info: Product Management Training Program

Wednesday, October 12, 2016
What is a Data Scientist?

David Drummond, a PhD in Physics, is now Director of Data Engineering at Insight Data Science.  The information session about Careers in Data Science included how he transitioned from his academic field to the field of a Data Scientist.   Students who were present had lots of questions about this exciting and challenging field and how they can apply to the fellowships Insight offers.  If you missed the session, here are the presentation slides

We asked students what


Friday, October 07, 2016
October BEST Newsletter


Tuesday, September 20, 2016
The most important things I learned today

in Navigating Your Future: BEST Careers in...Governance, Risk and Compliance

"I learned about contacts right here on campus that can help me with the next phase of my career exploration."

"I learned the real importance of finding the buzzwords to make your resumé fit - and how to think about my transferrable skills in those words."

"I learned the importance of how you market yourself. We are constantly surrounded by super-smart people. Sometimes it is nice


Tuesday, September 20, 2016
Waiting for perfect

"I have come to believe that the quest for perfect is an empty hunt. There is no such thing as a perfect career, a perfect time to do something or a perfect opportunity. Every career comes with its own dose of hardship, and every opportunity is what you make of it."

Read BESTie Divya Shiroor's last NIH Blog. Divya is a PhD student in Biological and Biomedical Sciences. This is her last entry in a six month journey. Thank you Divya!!


Monday, September 19, 2016
Finding your Scientific Voice participants' take aways and an award!

 What is the most important knowledge or skill you gained?

"How to defeat the curse of knowledge and make my research accessible for the general public by making simple changes in my presentation."
"How to compartmentalize portions of my talk to tell a better story. Beginnings are very important too."
"I learned more about my research by making it concise and clear to the audience."
"Ability to express myself and methods of framing my research story


Thursday, September 15, 2016
Chelsea Gregg Awarded AIMBE Scholarship

BESTie Chelsea Gregg has been selected for the prestigious American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) award for post-doctoral scholars to combine regulatory and policy expertise at the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). 

AIMBE is an honorific society of the top 2% of medical and biological engineers responsible for medical discovery and innovation. For more details please visit

Excerpts from the Press Release (to read it in full, see


Saturday, September 10, 2016
September BEST Newsletter


Tuesday, September 06, 2016
BEST Summer School with Tokyo Institute of Technology

BEST trainees stretch interdisciplinary skills, cross cultural divides

Three Cornell graduate students participated last week in an international summer school co-organized by the Tokyo Institute of Technology and Cornell's BEST Program. Finding common ground to broaden experiences in scientific training, the two universities joined at the Weill Cornell Medicine campus in NYC to foster cross-cultural communication and teamwork across disciplines. The Tokyo Tech ACLS (Academy of Computational


Tuesday, August 23, 2016
Biological and Biomedical Sciences Symposium connects participants

The 15th annual student run BBS Symposium was a resounding success. This year's theme: "Connect, Collaborate, Create." encouraged participants to use their skills to reach across disciplines and jargon to learn from each other. New sessions included breakfast breakouts to learn about careers, clubs, techniques, and tips for navigating your first year as a PhD student. A dynamic poster session prompted students to use '3 Minute Thesis' skills and a networking lunch ensured great


Friday, August 19, 2016
Slides for Building Professional Relationships available

Slides from the presentation by BEST & ASBMB on "Building Professional Relationships: Pragmatic advice for the human scientist" are now available. This concludes the three part summer series hosted by the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Broadening Experiences in Scientific Training (BEST) program. 


Tuesday, August 02, 2016
BEST Newsletter August 2016


Read the August Newsletter to news about our program and see upcoming events.

See the archive of all BEST Newsletters here.

Questions or comments about the newsletter, please contact the newsletter editor.


Saturday, July 30, 2016
Is Lean Six Sigma Certification for you?

BESTies Victoria Sorg (Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering), and Zhengchun Lu (Baker Institute) and Melissa McDowell Ledet (Comparative Biomedical Sciences) have earned Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Certification awarded by Binghamton University's Watson School of Engineering.  Read below what they have to say about their experience, and their advice if you are considering taking this course.

"The Lean Six Sigma management is a commonly used technique to improve


Wednesday, July 27, 2016
Crossing the finish line

 "We as graduate students can do plenty to strive for a healthy work-life balance from the get-go. While graduate school gives us all the training we need to succeed academically, no one teaches us the importance of taking care of ourselves."

Read Divya Shiroor's latest contribution to the NIH BEST blog.  Divya is a BEST Trainee and first year PhD student in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences program who was selected among two dozen applicants across the 17


Friday, July 15, 2016
BESTies attend MSL conference

What is an MSL? A medical science liaison.  If you love science communication, this career might be for you. Here's more insight from BESTies Ezen Choo (Molecular Medicine), Jocelyn  Wang (Pharmacology), and Jocelyn Marshall (Biomedical Engineering) who attended the MSL trainee conference in Atlanta.

"The opportunity to attend the first ever Medical Science Liaison Society's Candidate Career Conference was phenomenal. Although I brought a healthy dose of


Wednesday, July 06, 2016
BEST Newsletter July 2016


Read this month's newsletter to see upcoming events in July and news about our program.

See the archive of all BEST Newsletters here.

Questions or comments about the newsletter, please contact the editor.


Wednesday, June 22, 2016
The Career Conundrum

Read the latest NIH BEST blog by BESTie Divya Shiroor and her view on changing career paths.

"What makes this such a hard decision for so many people? For starters, I feel like a majority of us that embark on a Ph.D. begin with the notion of chasing the ultimate dream of a tenured professor in a big research institution. We are often trained with this outlook and it seeps into our psyche. When I was transitioning from veterinarian to researcher, I was doing it with the academic end in mind


Wednesday, June 15, 2016
Slides available from Careers in Industry webinar

The ASBMB-BEST Careers in Industry webinar slides are now available for download at: Attendees from 26 states and three countries were mostly graduate students and postdocs (37% each). 88% rated the webinar as good or excellent, with the most comments indicating they liked the Q&A session and panelists' advice the best.

"The conversational tone made the topics very approachable, and the different perspectives of the people in the discussion were very valuable."


Monday, June 13, 2016
Regeneron Science to Medicine Forum

A new initiative, the Regeneron Science to Medicine Forum, was held for the very first time in 2016 all day on Friday, June 10.

Several BESTies were selected to participate: congratulations to Siddarth Chandrasekaran (Chemistry and Chemical Biology), Madhura Raghavan (Genetics, Genomics and Development), Evgeniya Nazarova (Microbiology and Immunology), and Jianjun Xie (Biomedical Sciences).

Regeneron gets frequent requests from local academic institutions to bring cohorts of graduate


Friday, June 10, 2016
Cornell BEST talk science policy in Washington, D.C.

Select BEST trainees who took Chris Schaffer's Science Policy Bootcamp course traveled to Washington, D.C. to meet with federal legislators and advocate for science.

Read the Cornell Chronicle article here. "A group of Cornell graduate students and postdocs with an interest in science policy visited Washington, D.C., June 9 with Chris Schaffer, associate professor of biomedical engineering.  

Schaffer, who spent a year on Capitol Hill as an American Association for the


Wednesday, June 01, 2016
BEST Newsletter June 2016

Read this month's newsletter to see a summary of upcoming June events and news about our program. In addition, registration has just opened today for the joint ASBMB-BEST summer webinar series. The first one is June 14 and is on Careers in Industry.

See the archive of all BEST Newsletters here. Questions or comments about the newsletter, please contact the editor.



Thursday, May 26, 2016
BESTies to commercialize their research

The six new Commercialization Fellows will bring entrepreneurship and innovation together with engineering to test the business side of science. Read the full Chronicle article at the link below.  

Two of the fellows are active BESTies: Mitchell Ishmael, and Madhur Srivastava.

Congratulate them if you see them!

Read the Graduate School Spotlights on all of the Commercialization Fellows:

Madhur Srivastava:


Thursday, May 26, 2016
Fraternizing with failure

Divya Shiroor's latest NIH BEST blog is an insightful and candid perspective on how to face and deal with failure.


Tuesday, May 24, 2016
BEST Day in Albany

A select group of BESTies traveled to Albany to learn more about state-level policymaking and advocacy. See the event description.

See the summary by Sabrina Solouki and Susi Varvayanis which describes some hits and misses, the long and short on the New York State Department of Health, and some inspiration and power.


Monday, May 23, 2016
BEST Program at the Biotechnology Symposium

The BEST Program was represented this year at the 8th Annual Biotechnology Symposium by Susi Varvayanis, BEST Program Senior Director, and BESTies Kathleen Hefferon (Nutritional Sciences), and Bhavya Sridhar (Comparative Biomedical Sciences).  

Kathleen Hefferon's abstract was chosen in the Biotechnology & Health session for an oral presentation on "Plant-derived Pharmaceuticals for Developing Countries". See list of speakers here.

Bhavya Sridhar was an


Friday, May 20, 2016
BESTie alumnus Darvin Griffin named one of the nation's top engineers

Darvin J. Griffin, PhD 16, Biomedical engineering researcher at Bonassar Research Group, is one of 12 engineers recognized as one of the nation's top young engineers by DiscoverE. See the full feature article in the May 16 issue What's is Hot magazine p. 16, and congratulate him if you see him.


Thursday, May 05, 2016
Invited speaker recruits BESTies to test policymaking waters

As an outcome of Charles Kruzansky's and Zoe Nelson's visit to campus they have created a job offering for you to test the waters in policymaking prior to committing to a career in this area from June 2016 to May 2017, to fill in for Zoe Nelson while she is on maternity leave. Title: STATE RELATIONS ASSOCIATE in University Relations. More info on the position description here

With direction from Associate Vice President, work on various projects:

College Affordability Report


Sunday, May 01, 2016
BEST Newsletter May 2016

Get (more) involved in Broadening Experiences in Scientific Training to become your BEST. Read our May newsletter to see a highlight of upcoming events and deadlines and to read about recent successes. Interested in Science Policy; Science Communication; Industry, Entrepreneurship and Management; Consulting or beyond? Check out the resources found on our website: Join the Cornell_BEST LinkedIn group, follow us on Twitter @Cornell_BEST and start or update your


Wednesday, April 27, 2016
Be Your Own Cartographer

NIH BEST blogger and Cornell BESTie Divya Shiroor shares the value, importance, and reasons why she chose to make an individual development plan long before looking for a job. A first year PhD student in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences Program, Divya was selected from applicants across the 17 institution BEST consortium to share her experiences 'as they happen' with others early in their graduate career and professional development training. Read her latest blogpost below.



Friday, April 22, 2016
Cornell brings its BEST to national science policy workshop

BESTies Charlotte Levy, ecol. & evol. biol. and Steve Halaby, molecular biol. & genetics, were selected to represent Cornell as one of over 50 institutions nationwide who participated in the AAAS Making our CASE Workshop held in Washington, DC, from April 17-19, 2016. They joined a dozen Cornellians in Washington D.C. for Hill visits the following day (see the "Cornell graduate students march on Washington" Chronicle article here).

The two and a half-day CASE workshop,


Friday, April 22, 2016
Lab Crawl

The Graduate School invited BESTies to host a visit to their lab for a show-and-tell, mini-TEDtalk about their science and research, possible demonstrations and a Q&A. Small groups of grad students were welcomed to this 'Lab Crawl' where two labs were on tour within an hour, followed by further interdisciplinary discussions over food and beverages at the Big Red Barn.

BESTie Dario Mizrachi, a postdoc in the DeLisa Research Group in Chemistry and Biomolecular Engineering led a crawl tour


Wednesday, April 20, 2016
#1 skill, perspective shift, & money

The bottom line in science policy: Communication skills are essential, both written and oral. Money drives more decisions than the science behind a policy. Scientists need to embrace this perspective change to be successful in this field.

Three panelists with a passion for science policy shared their perspectives and advice with a broad audience of grad students and postdocs who are interested in learning more about how to incorporate their budding enthusiasm for translating their research to


Wednesday, April 20, 2016
Preparing PhDs for a Range of Career Paths

"...BEST encourages students to work with mentors in a variety of areas and contexts. Not only will students receive the highest standard of technical and research training, but they will benefit from career and professional development, along with experiential opportunities that will make them more attractive to future employers."
See the full article featured in the Spring 2016 Graduate School Newsletter.


Wednesday, April 13, 2016
Reflections on building a career in pharma (Novartis)

Carlo Nalin has worked in five different areas during his tenure at Novartis, moving from research and discovery to project management, to drug development, to the regulatory side in safety and efficacy, and to executive management. His advice and perspectives on the skills needed along the way were invaluable to a packed audience of grad students and postdocs filled with questions on how they can acquire the experience needed to get their foot in the door to an industrial career.

His slide


Monday, April 11, 2016
Catalyzing the Modernization of Graduate Education

Avery August presents a poster at the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) Symposium on Catalyzing the Modernization of Graduate Education, entitled "Integrating career development and graduate training at Cornell University: A BEST example."


It is increasingly being recognized that a small proportion of current biomedical graduate students and postdoctoral trainees will find careers as academic scientists. This has emphasized the need to provide trainees


Monday, April 04, 2016
BEST newsletter for April


Thursday, March 31, 2016
Science benefits from early business input

Cornell BEST Trainees Sarah Adeyemo, Andrew Gipson, Colin Jermain, Jin Liang, Paméla Nasr, Lanre Omotayo, Mitch Pender, and Madhur Srivastava contributed to the 2016 Ithaca Pre-Seed Workshop teams. By helping consider the potential commercial applications of the research-based ideas, these graduate students and postdocs are getting a feel for whether they would want to be involved in entrepreneurial efforts in their future careers. In addition, they put into practice broad scientific


Wednesday, March 30, 2016
Improv Workshop is for scientists too!

BESTie Sri Raj, postdoc in Molecular Biology and Genetics, attended the six hour Improv Workshop on March 12. This workshop was the presented by Erica Marx, Cornell Alumni , NYS certified conflict mediator and adjunct faculty at Ithaca College.

"I absolutely recommend the class. There were only a few people there from all different backgrounds, and no one from Cornell BEST, but I really think we can benefit from these types of classes. As scientists we are taught to be critical


Wednesday, March 23, 2016
Blogging about science and career development

A Cornell BEST trainee was selected from among two dozen applicants for the NIH BEST consortium blog. Graduate student Divya Shiroor, first year in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences program, kicks it off with her first piece entitled:


The PhD/Postdoc blog series features two scientists at different stages of career development as they explore and plan for their next steps.  Over the course of six months, Lydia Morris and Divya Shiroor&


Tuesday, March 22, 2016
Jocelyn Marshall completes Good Clinical Practices Course

Congratulations to BESTie, Jocelyn Marshall, for completing the Good Clinical Practices Course.

 "I recently completed the online course in Good Clinical Practices offered through Technology Ed. The course was held in 9 modules, each with a brief homework assignment reviewing the material covered in the module as well as a final exam that brought together all the knowledge learned in the course. The course covered the ethical and legal practices for clinical research as well as


Wednesday, March 16, 2016
It is time for PhDs to lean in!

Pamela NasrPhD Candidate at Cornell University (as posted at the BEST LinkedIn Group)

Three years ago, I received an email about a pilot program targeting advanced degree candidates interested in alternative careers. At that point in time, I had no idea what "alternative" entailed, yet I was intrigued. I filled out a survey, and within a few weeks, I was a so-called "BESTie". That was a turning point in my life as a graduate student as I realized the breadth


Tuesday, March 15, 2016
Silicon Valley Entrepreneurship Trek

The BEST Program and the College of Engineering sponsored students to participate in a Silicon Valley Entrepreneurship Trek organized by Michael Roach, the Clark Professor of Entrepreneurship at the Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management. The trek took place on March 6-8 to expose PhDs to various companies and organizations, including university spinouts, incubators/accelerators, venture capitalists, and large innovative firms. The event included a full day of site visits and


Thursday, March 03, 2016
Read how we are rethinking PhD training

and how they are sculpting their futures in “One BEST Opportunity Leads to Another



Wednesday, March 02, 2016
BEST Newsletter March 2016

BEST Newsletter March 2016 by Victor Aguilar, Ph.D. student in the Cosgrove Laboratory, Meinig School of Biomedical Engineering. The newsletters will be archived here: See the archive of all BEST Newsletters.



Wednesday, February 17, 2016
Networking and Careers in Physics Beyond the Lab

From data management to publishing in physics journals, participants interested in careers and skills beyond the lab learned what it takes to be a successful graduate student in physics, and how to translate their skills to entice future employers to hire them. 

After a brief overview and collective definition of networking and why it might be important to your career, participants rolled up their sleeves to give it a try. The first pairwise introductions were flat and uninformative, e.g.


Friday, February 12, 2016
Tips for BEST careers in Governance, Risk and Compliance

The most recent Careers for PhDs in Governance, Risk and Compliance panel discussion revealed varying perspectives on the way graduate students can use their skills in fields beyond academia. Sharing their personal stories and generous advice, alumnae Eldora Ellison, Director in the Biotech/Chemical and Litigation Practice Groups at Sterne, Kessler, Goldstein, Fox and Amy Godert, Associate Director of Cornell's Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE), along with Colleen McLinn,


Monday, February 08, 2016
Communicating your passion

The weekend science communication workshop, Comm5660, kicked off with a personal and informative panel discussion by four experienced women who are involved in science education and outreach to the public, science writing for a predominantly alumni audience, freelance writing for the public, and who shared their passion for the field. Michelle Kortenaar, Director of Education, Sciencenter @SciencenterLinda Rayor, Entomology, founder of Insectapalooza @


Friday, February 05, 2016
Boston Entrepreneurial Ecosystem trip

The BEST Program joined the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management for The Boston Entrepreneurial Ecosystem trip which took place January 21 & 22 in the Kendall Square area of Cambridge, home to MIT and dozens of start-ups and leading technology firms in the life sciences, energy, software, IT, nanotechnology, and more.  The tour was co-organized by Michael Roach, the Clark Professor of Entrepreneurship at the Dyson School of Applied Economics and


Tuesday, February 02, 2016
BEST Newsletter February 2016

BEST Newsletter February 2016 will be archived here: See the archive of all BEST Newsletters.



Wednesday, January 27, 2016
Time to sign up for interns/internships

Entrepreneurship at Cornell's thriving summer internship program connects students with small to mid-sized employers throughout the U.S. and abroad. The experiences help prepare our next generation of Cornell business leaders, innovators, creators and entrepreneurs. Companies and students can sign up here. E@C has been connecting 3rd/4th year undergrads and 1st year MBA students to meaningful internship experiences for many years; the BEST Program collaboration has


Monday, January 25, 2016
BESTies serve as facilitators and participate in campus-wide RCR Symposium

Responsible Conduct of Research: Plagiarism

The fourth Annual Winter Symposium on Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) took place under the faculty leadership of Professor Maurine Linder, Chair, Molecular Medicine, CVM.

"Plagiarism: misrepresenting someone else's creative work (e.g. words, methods, pictures, ideas, or data) as one's own." from: Glossary of Commonly Used Terms in Research Ethics, D.B. Resnik, NIEHS, NIH, May 2015. Based on Shamoo AE and


Monday, January 11, 2016
BEST recommended business & entrepreneurship courses

Forget about trying to wade through the whole course catalogue. Here's a short list of the BEST business and entrepreneurial courses that specifically welcome PhDs and are relevant to scientists and engineers. Choose one of these eight courses to push yourself beyond your comfort zone this spring. Also a great way to enlarge your network with business-minded individuals. Enroll NOW!

  • NBA 5070 Entrepreneurship for Scientists and Engineers (3cr. B. Treat)--Non-Johnson Students ONLY--

Sunday, January 10, 2016
Tembo Takeaway #2 : science and theatre

BESTie Dumi Tembo, postdoctoral scholar in the immunology lab of David Russell, recently participated in the Finding Your Scientific Voice workshop led by Theatre and Performing Arts Professor at Missouri State Melanie Dreyer-Lude and Cornell Physics Professor Itai Cohen.

Read her bottom line recommendations to those who could not participate.


Monday, January 04, 2016
BEST Newsletter January 2016

The BEST newsletter-January 2016 by Victor Aguilar, Ph.D. student in the Cosgrove Laboratory, Meinig School of Biomedical Engineering. See the archive of all BEST Newsletters here.



Friday, December 11, 2015
NIH Common Fund has a Face-to-Face with Avery August

In a Q&A interview with Cornell's BEST Program Principle Investigator, the National Institutes of Health program aims to humanize research, familiarize readers with the breadth of research supported by the Common Fund, and motivate interest in various scientific disciplines.

See for more information.

Thursday, December 10, 2015
Postdoc led business enhanced through NSF funds

Cornell Postdoc and Ecolectro co-founder Gabriel Rodriguez-Calero was awarded a $150,000 Phase I SBIR grant by the National Science Foundation to enable low cost, durable fuel cells through novel material innovation.

The original idea was vetted in a Pre-Seed Workshop held at High Tech Rochester in November 2014, where BEST Program participant Rodriguez-Calero made contacts to round out the business side of his team. Together they were awarded a NEXUS-NY grant to talk to their first


Thursday, December 10, 2015
Tembo Takeaway #1: product design

Bottom-line lessons from Product Design

Dumi Tembo, Postdoctoral Scholar in David Russell's lab, Immunology, recently attended a lecture by Adam Wrigley, Senior Engineer of Frog Design, hosted by the College of Engineering and JGSM. She shares her impression and take-away lessons for those who did not have the chance to listen in.

Read the story here to learn about the importance of the team, observation, questioning, and your network of experts.


Friday, December 04, 2015
Biogen CEO talks of Risk/Reward in Biotechnology

Biogen's CEO and Cornell alumnus George Scangos visited Cornell at the invitation of Alumni Affairs and Development. The talk was moderated by Provost Michael Kotlikoff, former Dean of the Veterinary School. His videotaped talk "Risk/Reward in Biotechnology: Can We Afford to Innovate ?" is now available via CornellCast.

About the video:

Biogen CEO Dr. George A. Scangos ’70 presents an overview of the company's business model, drug development and strategy for future innovation,


Tuesday, December 01, 2015
BEST Newsletter December 2015

The BEST newsletter for December by Victor Aguilar, Ph.D. student in the Cosgrove Laboratory, Meinig School of Biomedical Engineering. See the archive of all BEST Newsletters here.


Monday, November 23, 2015
Cornell BEST Science Policy Bootcamp's Outcome Transcends Generations

Professor Chris Schaffer's Science Policy Bootcamp: From Concept to Conclusion course has a lasting effect on its participants, the community, and the next generation.

Code-4-Kids is but one project emanating from the Broadening Experiences in Scientific Training (BEST) Program initiated course to address the need for scientists and engineers to become more involved in science policy. Read how Code-4-Kids came about. BEST trainees are rethinking their doctoral training, acquiring new skills,


Wednesday, November 18, 2015
A Day in the Life: Cornell Students Shadow Biogen Employees

“What’s it like to work in industry?” 
“How does a typical day look for you?” 
“How does research at a company differ from academia or industry?” 
“What makes your work interesting and challenging?” 

These were some of the questions asked of Biogen employee Cherié Butts when she served on a panel at Cornell University as part of its BEST (Broadening Experience in Scientific Training) program symposium earlier


Monday, November 16, 2015
Exploring administrative careers in higher education

We heard the personal stories and perspectives of a diverse set of accomplished panelists who have successfully navigated non-faculty academic positions in the Navigating Your Future luncheon to explore administrative careers in higher education. The event was co-sponsored by the Office of Inclusion and Student Engagement, the Office of Postdoctoral Studies, Cornell Career Services and the BEST Program. SPEAKERS (r to l):

Andrew GossenSenior Director for Social Media Strategy, Alumni


Wednesday, November 11, 2015
Industry, Entrepreneurship & Management panel shares key tips

A full room of interested graduate students and postdocs from across campus eagerly lapped up insider tips from the perspectives of industry leaders, entrepreneurs and faculty at the BEST Program's panel discussion on Industry, Entrepreneurship and Management this week. What follows are some of the questions fielded from the audience and managed by BEST Advisory Board Member Aaron Joiner, PhD student in Molecular Biology and Genetics.

What does industry look for in an intern? "We love


Sunday, November 01, 2015
BEST Newsletter November 2015

BESTie Victor Aguilar, graduate student in Ben Cosgrove's lab in Biomedical Engineering, has initiated the Cornell BEST newsletter

In an eye-catching and condensed format, the newsletter covers major upcoming events, a trainee spotlight, and a summary of a recent experience facilitated by the BEST Program. We hope you enjoy it and then go to our website to learn more! See the growing archive of all BEST Newsletters here.


Friday, October 23, 2015
Today’s BEST PhD Students Are Tomorrow’s Workforce

The Cornell BEST Program is featured in the MedTech 2015 Bio/Med Industry Report.  BEST Advisory member Kenneth Yancey,, highlight how the program enhances opportunities for BEST trainees:  

"The BEST program gives trainees the opportunity to seek mentorship, ask questions, and determine what skills they need to become competitive candidates in the future.  Companies gain a pipeline of pre-trained and experienced potential recruits, who can also bring fresh


Tuesday, October 13, 2015
Public Voices bring to light diverse viewpoints

Scientists should look for ways to use their knowledge to make a tangible impact on the world

"As scientists, we need to think about how our work impacts society. We need to be able to engage with society more," said Prof. Avery August, immunology, chair of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology in the College of Veterinary Sciences. Avery August participated as a Cornell Public Voices Fellow and was recently interviewed by the Cornell Daily Sun. He said writing op-eds "


Friday, October 02, 2015
BEST Consortium publishes a new paradigm for PhD training

In this report, we describe the state of the U.S. biomedical workforce and development of the BEST award, variations of programmatic approaches to assist with program design without BEST funding, and novel approaches to engage faculty in career development programs. To test the effectiveness of these BEST programs, external evaluators will assess their outcomes not only over the 5 yr grant period but also for an additional 10 yr beyond award completion.

Link to the abstract in The FASEB Journal


Thursday, October 01, 2015
GE Global Research recruiting

More than 80 masters and PhD level students came to the GE Global Research recruiting talk on September 8th, and even more had the opportunity to interact with representatives from GE Global Research during the Career Fair days.  For those who missed it, here is the presentation about the GE Global Research Center in Niskayuna, NY. All the slides for public viewing were included in this posting.


Friday, September 25, 2015
GREAT/GRAND Professional Development Meeting takeaway lessons

Sharing some highlights of the meeting sessions, 'as if you were there but in much less time'.  About the GREAT Group  About GRAND  About BEST

2015 GREAT Group and GRAND Professional Development Meeting held Sept. 9-12 was a success. Read all the highlights

Communicating: Recognizing and Telling a Good Story

  • Find commonality with your audience and connect with them on a personal level.
  • Make the audience the hero or center of your story.
  • Create

Thursday, September 17, 2015
Cornell-Cancer Resource Center establish a certificate program

As announced at the recent Cornell-Cancer Resource Center (CU-CRCFL) Wednesday seminar, we have received a curriculum development grant through the Engaged Cornell initiative to offer a ‘Certificate of Engagement in Public Communication of Science and Technology’  This curriculum is designed to give PhD students doing cancer research guidance and training in how to effectively interact with cancer patients and survivors in our local community and how to communicate


Wednesday, September 09, 2015
Business as a Second Language course gets the nod to grow

Robert Karpman and the BEST Program created the Business as a Second Language: from Molecules to Moolah course in partnership with Entrepreneurship@Cornell to address the needs of PhDs and postdocs to learn business and management life skills. It was recently highlighted (see page 16 of the link below) in the inaugural BME Newsletter celebrating the $50M gift that enabled the creation of the new MEINIG SCHOOL OF BIOMEDICAL ENGINEERING.

The "knowledge gained in this class is


Tuesday, September 01, 2015
Cornell President Garrett on Graduate Student support, funding, and BEST

(From the Cornell Daily Sun, by Phoebe Keller)

President Garrett Expands Graduate Student Support, Funding

In her first address to the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly in McGraw Hall Monday, President Elizabeth Garrett announced several initiatives to promote graduate student diversity, create new graduate student housing, provide workers' compensation to injured graduate and professional students and increase funding to graduate students. Garrett’s initiatives include


Tuesday, September 01, 2015
Eurofins CSO shares urgent advice for industry job seekers

Eurofins Microbiology Laboratories, Inc.'s Chief Scientific Officer Douglas Marshall (LinkedIn profilespent time over lunch before his scientific seminar to the Food Science Department sharing with graduate students, postdocs and undergrads a brief history of the company, his own career story, some of the career opportunities, and a hefty dose of personal advice.

"They don't teach you how to be an entrepreneur when you get your Ph.D.," referring to his own experience


Friday, August 28, 2015
Summer Success Symposium presentations available


Monday, August 24, 2015
Lessons to navigate your future

The synopsis below is shared by Stephanie Hilz, BEST Program participant and Ph.D. candidate in Molecular Biology & Genetics about the 2015 BBS Symposium: "Engage your future in science" chaired by David Gludish and Evgeniya Nazarova. The symposium committee that helped organize the event included Karen Barnard, Heather Callaway, Jennifer Fricke, Erika Gruber, Rebecca Harman, Melissa McDowell, Matthew Pennington, Tam Tran, Jocelyn Wang and Angela Yan.

"A biosciences


Friday, August 21, 2015
Enroll in Business Management Fundamentals

The BEST Program "Business as a Second Language" offering has evolved from a 7 week mini-course to a full-fledged course now entitled "Business Management Fundamentals" BME 5960. It will meet 8:40-9:55am Mondays and Wednesdays throughout the fall semester for 3 credits. It is open to PhDs and postdocs in any STEM field and is not strictly for biomedical engineers. Enroll in class number 18892. Entrepreneur Robert Karpman, MD MBA is the instructor, and will bring his vast


Thursday, August 13, 2015
Interested in using science to inform public policy?

Consider taking BME 4440, Science Policy Bootcamp: Concept to Conclusion

Instructor: Prof. Chris B. Schaffer (Biomedical Engineering) 

Offered: Fall, 2015 (3cr.) TR 1:45-2:40pm

As scientific and technological discoveries continue to change our world and society at a rapid pace, it has become imperative that our policymaking approach be informed by science. From energy policy to climate change, from health care to bioterrorism, from science education to technology innovation it has become


Tuesday, August 11, 2015
NBA 5690 (Management Consulting Essentials)

Shared by BESTie Pamela Nasr (CGCC):  

Take the opportunity to explore management consulting classes offered across campus! One class is NBA 5690, which serves as a great introduction to the consulting process.

NBA 5690 (Management Consulting Essentials), 1.5 credits, Fall 2015 Meets twice a week, first half

This half-semester course will help students learn about consulting and the skills required to be a successful consultant using a combination of lectures, case work, individual


Wednesday, August 05, 2015
Making the Most of BEST

Opportunities aren't found, they're made.  BEST Advisory Board Member Alex Coots' key point summarizes what he has learned as a participant in the BEST Program at Cornell. Alex published his thoughts in an article "Making the Most of BEST," highlighted in the AtlantaBEST Magazine, 4th issue.

Here's what he wrote:


Saturday, August 01, 2015
Osteoarthritis treatment on the horizon of two Cornell grad students

Grad students Kirk Samaroo & Mingchee Tan of Dynamic Boundaries won $1k for their first place pitch at Life Changing Labs. The People's Choice award went to Belle Apps. Excellent presentations by all the teams, including Maidbot, Craftcloud, UPursuit, and Navo made the decision very difficult for the judges. Tompkins Weekly highlights all the teams in "Nurturing New Careers at CU" by Eric Banford.

With help from the entrepreneurial mentors at Life Changing Labs


Friday, July 31, 2015
Phase 2 NEXUS-NY accelerates Cornell technology

Cornell BEST trainee Gabriel Rodriguez Calero, following his involvement in early evaluation of his technology in the Pre-Seed Workshop, wondered where he could get help to further develop his idea while continuing his part-time postdoctoral research, co-advised by Geoffrey Coates and Hector Abruna at Cornell. 

Using connections developed in the Pre-Seed Workshop, Rodriguez Calero formed a team and applied to the NEXUS-NY program, now in its second year of operation. NEXUS-NY is a clean


Wednesday, July 22, 2015
Reflecting on ComSciCon-Cornell

BESTies Kristin Hook and Robert MacDonald organized the ComSciCon Cornell 2015 event which took place in May. Read their thoughts about the experience and consider organizing the workshop for 2016.

The regional workshop for upstate New York was inspired by their attendance at the national Communicating Science Conference of 2014. The culminating session had one goal in mind: appeal to attendees to hold a local version of the workshop back at their home institutions. This goal was


Thursday, July 16, 2015
Summer incubator helps grads with business development

Cornell BESTie Wisler Charles is taking the next step to flesh out his business idea by interning part-time at Life Changing Labs. The summer incubator program allows him to get first-hand experience from others who will help him learn what it will take to get his immune system-based video game off the ground.

BESTie Alberto Purwada is part of the Resources Team at Life Changing Labs.

Read Kathy Hovis' Cornell Chronicle article via the link below.


Wednesday, July 15, 2015
Cornell alumni magazine highlights BEST outcome

BEST program paves way for PhDs to explore new career options

 “Graduate students have control of their own destinies,” Charles said. “But most of them focus on what’s been done by our predecessors. It’s a linear way of thinking that if you do this, this, and this, it’s going to be fine. It doesn’t work that way anymore.” -- Wisler Charles

"I think the BEST program is important for building those skill sets they need." --


Tuesday, July 07, 2015
Cornell BESTies reimagine the postdoc experience

Postdocs Reimagined

As part of their NEXTGEN VOICES series, Science asked young scientists if the idea of the postdoc position is obsolete. If so, what should replace it, and if not, how can it be improved? From over 300 submissions, two Cornell BEST Program participants’ responses were selected for their ideas, published in the July 3rd issue. Other BEST awardee institutions NYU, UCSF, University of Colorado Denver Anschutz, UC Davis, and Vanderbilt also had published responses. Read


Friday, June 19, 2015
Code-4-Kids helps elementary school students get a leg up

Code-4-Kids is a BEST Program outcome emanating from Chris Schaffer's Science Policy Bootcamp course.

Read how it came about, and click on the link below to read the Ithaca Journal article.

See for more information.

Monday, June 15, 2015
Individual Development Plans are useful and empowering for trainees and PIs

Share with your mentor the message that your IDP is not just more paperwork, but can increase productivity. See this excellent article in Molecular Cell.


Wednesday, June 10, 2015
BEST travel award allows postdoc to immerse in a new culture

"The meeting was fabulous. Never had I encountered such a diverse group of highly knowledgeable people who specialized in agricultural biotechnology. Not only were there people from academia, but many came from industry, government and non-for-profit groups. We had environmental people, entomologists, sociologists, and business folks. I left the meeting with a far more sophisticated view of what the challenges are and what roads are to be taken forward."

Kathleen Hefferon, a postdoc


Wednesday, May 13, 2015
Biotechnology Symposium at BNL includes tours of NSLS-II

The 2015 Biotechnology Symposium at Brookhaven National Lab featured Cornell grad student speaker Ken Yancey and tours of the most advanced synchrotron in the world. A kickoff on day one by Ken White, Manager of the Office of Educational Programs at Brookhaven National Lab; and Bryan Allinson, Vice President for Innovation and Partnerships for the Research Foundation for SUNY, set the tone for a variety of engaging presentations on novel approaches for water quality improvement,


Monday, April 20, 2015
Deepening Understanding through Science Communication

Cornell BESTies Sheila Saia and Ben Brown-Steiner published in the AtlantaBEST magazine on how communication experiences help understanding of science. This publication highlights the experiences and outcomes of BEST participants across the 17 institution consortium.

See for more information.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015
Bringing your entrepreneurial idea to reality

Bringing Your Idea to Reality: Funding Your Aha Moment, a panel discussion sponsored by the BEST Program and Arts and Sciences, featured speakers Alison Gerlach, Sacha Ross, and Tim Novikoff at the Entrepreneurship@ Cornell Celebration event. Read a summary of the take-home messages here.


Wednesday, April 08, 2015
BEST Advisory Board honored for exemplary service

The six members of the Cornell BEST Advisory Board were honored April 7, 2015 for their dedication, exemplary service, and for shaping the Cornell University BEST Program.

From left: Kristine Kolkman Champion, Neurobiology; Tiffany St. Bernard, Biomedical Engineering; R. Alex Coots, Nutritional Sciences; Lena Bartell, Applied Engineering & Physics; Kenneth Yancey, Biological and Environmental Engineering; and Wisler Charles, Biological and Biomedical Sciences.

Avery August,


Tuesday, April 07, 2015
Annual Report of the BEST Program highlights early successes

We are pleased to share our 2015 annual report with our participants and supporters!


Wednesday, April 01, 2015
Video of careers in industry, entrepreneurship and management panel

If you missed it-here's the video of the panel discussion with: 

  • BJ Bormann, CEO and Director, Harbor Antibodies (formerly in Global Strategic Development at Pfizer)
  • David Putnam, Associate Professor, Biomedical Engineering, Cornell University
  • Stephen P. Smith, VP Business Development, General Manager Tech Valley, CYC Technology Group
  • Chris Thomas, CTO, Widetronix

as they share their perspectives and advice for PhDs interested in going into industry, entrepreneurship and


Thursday, March 26, 2015
TTI podcast-Science and Creativity with Chris Schaffer

Listen to this Tabletop Inventing podcast featuring Chris Schaffer where he discusses science, creativity and what it means to be educated. Chris also underscores the reason that scientific information holds a privileged place in society, due to the rigorous process by which it is constantly reviewed, questioned and tested to stand the test of time, in contrast to other ways we gather information that guide decision-making such as gut feeling, religious belief, etc.

“The growth


Sunday, March 22, 2015
GPSA provides tax filing guidance for grads

April 15th is the deadline for filing your taxes, and many grad and professional students trying to figure out what to do.  Since grads are paid a variety of ways, filing can be a confusing process.  Here’s a short cheat sheet that highlights the important forms needed and some of the resources available to answer tax related questions.

Your first stop should be the workday site that provides your W-2, showing taxed wages


Tuesday, March 10, 2015
Pathways to a PhD features BESTie Gabriel Rodriguez-Calero

BEST participant Gabriel Rodríguez Calero is featured in this nice piece describing the various career pathways and some challenges overcome by trainees at Cornell.

written by Kathy Hovis

Follow the link below to read the article.

See for more information.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015
BEST trainees author Times Union article

Dairy Farms Can Help Energy Woes,

by grad students Catherine Spirito, Ismail El Baggari, Zhen Han and Shih-Chi Hsu. 

An outcome of the BEST Program Science Policy track, this op-ed urges New York legislators to support anaerobic digestion on dairy farms.


Tuesday, January 27, 2015
ASCB awards BEST PI Avery August with EE Just lecture

The American Society for Cell Biology honors Cornell immunologist Avery August with award in memory of Ernest Everett Just (1883-1941), one of the first African-Americans to earn a doctorate in biology.

Read the Cornell Chronicle article here: August Overcomes Odds, Receives EE Just Lecture Award

And read his compelling personal story: "People's instinctive travels and the paths to science"


Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Get Industry Experience at Smaller, Entrepreneurial Companies

Small and Medium Sized Businesses can Hire Interns at Cornell

Summer Internships provide entrepreneurial students with opportunities to gain essential experience in small to mid-sized businesses located throughout the US and abroad.

During the internship, each Cornell student brings the latest in entrepreneurial thinking from their classroom and applies it to their assignment. The business assignments are designed as hands-on experiences that will expose the intern to small business operation


Friday, December 12, 2014
BEST partners with CU-CIRTL to help postdocs communicate research

Presenting with Confidence

Using theatrical techniques, trainees learned to hone their presentation skills through exercises, practice and peer input. Facilitated by Melanie Dreyer-Lude, Professor of Acting and Directing at Missouri State, this workshop was one of three individual events to respectively engage women engineering graduate students, postdocs in MBG, and faculty across campus to improve communication skills. 

Select postdoctoral scholars in the department of Molecular Biology


Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Panelists share career advice for industry and entrepreneurship

"I once knew a man who could win any chess game using only two pieces. Can you guess which ones? None of us comes pre-equipped to achieve such a feat, which requires a meticulous calculus of anticipation and adaptation. A likeminded economy of resources benefits the industry leader, whose own playing field, while vast on the whole, is winnable yet by effective command. Cornell’s BEST..." Read the full article written by Tyran Grillo

See the flyer for the event. Click here


Saturday, November 08, 2014
High Tech Rochester Pre-Seed Workshop hosts Cornell team

Cornell postdoc Gabriel Rodriguez-Calero is one idea champion among 13 teams accepted from over 30 applicants to High-Tech Rochester's latest Pre-Seed Workshop. Ranging from MEng-led UofR students to experienced ex-Kodak executives, each innovator is capitalizing on the collective expertise of over 100 participants who are helping research and analyze the commercial potential of each high-tech idea. At the end of the two day session, enough intelligence will be gathered to answer the question


Wednesday, October 08, 2014
Register for Business as a Second Language 2nd offering

Starting after Fall Break! BME 5950

ENROLL NOW! If you were not able to make the first session, here is another chance to enroll in this minicourse to get you up to speed prior to jumping in to a Johnson Graduate School of Management (JGSM) class.

Here's what the first crop of participants had to say:

"BME 5950 gave me a broad spectrum overview of key topics in business. Although the length of the course precludes it's ability to delve into depth in any specific topic, the


Monday, October 06, 2014
BESTie selected for GE Global Research Innovate

BESTie Marie Godla, 2nd year graduate student in Biomedical Engineering, was nominated by Cornell University to participate in an Annual Networking Event at GE Global Research center, the world headquarters for all of GE’s ongoing research efforts.  The center employs over 1,800 technologists who strive to uncover technological breakthroughs that will change the landscape for the GE businesses and improve the lives of GE’s customers around the world. 


Monday, September 22, 2014
BEST Advisory Board wows NIH officials at first site visit

BEST Advisory Board Members, (l to r): R. Alex Coots, Division of Nutritional Sciences; Tiffany St. Bernard, Biomedical Engineering; Ken Yancey, Biological and Environmental Engineering; Lena Bartell, Applied Engineering & Physics; Wisler Charles, Biological and Biomedical Sciences. Not pictured: Kristine Kolkman Champion, Neurobiology.


Monday, September 22, 2014
Cornell Brings its BEST to Science Communications Panel

by Tyran Grillo Read the full article

credit: Michael P. Carroll

Impressions of attendees:

     "1. Importantly, the panel gave hope to the grad students who weren't quite sure they wanted [to] have careers in academics.  2. The speakers made it clear how important our roles are as science communicators. 3. Many of the insights given to the audience by the speakers gave subtle steps necessary to progress into careers in science communication."--Wisler Charles, Ph.D. candidate, Biomedical


Sunday, September 21, 2014
Allowable activities for grad students and postdocs

From NIH BEST Program Leader, Patricia Labosky:

I'm writing to share some relatively recent info on allowable activities for postdocs and grad students. We have this link on our web site (left side near the bottom) under "Allowable Student and Postdoc Activities"

This link sends you to a PDF of questions asked of the OMB (Office of Management and Budget). If you page down to section .400-2 (page 19) you will find the following text:

.400-2 Dual Role of Students and Post-Doctoral


Monday, September 15, 2014
MedTech releases Bio/Med Industry Report 2014

BioMed Breakthroughs: Advancing New Yorks' Innovation Economy

In partnership with Battelle’s Technology Partnership Practice and KJT Group, who independently conducted the quantitative and qualitative analysis, MedTech released its inaugural issue of Bio/Med Breakthroughs, which provides a comprehensive snapshot of the industry’s economic impact and growth potential in New York with a primary focus on Upstate New York. This first Bio/Med Industry Report highlights the contribution


Monday, September 08, 2014
BEST Program trainee and communication mentor coauthor article

From catchy soil-pun headline to by-line, BEST Program trainee Ashley Campbell is practicing research communication first hand by adding to her repertoire a Cornell Chronicle article covering a recent soil health workshop. With diminishing assistance from her BEST Program mentor, Merry Buckley, education and outreach program coordinator for the Baker Institute for Animal Health, Campbell conducted interviews and wrote drafts, incorporating workshop director modifications for the


Friday, August 29, 2014
BEST Co-PI Schaffer will engage students in 'Learning Where You Live'

As a new Faculty-in-Residence, Schaffer will promote intellectual engagement in students’ daily lives through one-on-one, informal mentoring to discuss potential career paths. He will also bring in guest speakers to serve as role models. As part of Learning Where You Live Schaffer will teach courses to promote lifelong learning and to explain that science is a creative and collaborative process of discovery. Part of the experience will include shadowing a postdoc or


Monday, August 25, 2014
Business as a Second Language course to provide management life skills

In response to BEST survey/applications we have developed this course to address your business management life skills. Please tell all your colleagues about this opportunity, see info below. We expect this will be an important pre-requisite for you to get the most out of any future business classes taken at the Johnson Graduate School of Management or future industry/business “BESTernships”.

BME 5950: Business as a second language: From molecules to moolah!

Instructor:  Robert


Friday, August 22, 2014
Course on science policy

If you haven’t already taken Chris Schaffer’s class “Science Policy Bootcamp: from concept to conclusion” now is the time to enroll. If you already have, please let your colleagues know about it and pass on this announcement. Info below:

BME 4440: Science Policy Bootcamp

Prof. Chris B. Schaffer; Tu, Th, 1:25 - 2:40, Phillips 307

Email Prof. Schaffer at for permission to enroll

As scientific and technological discoveries continue to change


Tuesday, August 12, 2014
Several opportunities to look at the business side of science

Commercializing University Technology

How do scientists take their research to the marketplace? How do scientists and entrepreneurs find and create market opportunities? Commercializing University Science and High Technology (NBA 6520 2cr. meets Sept 19, 20, 26, 27 @8am-3pm) will tackle these issues and apply our learning to projects drawn from Cornell labs and local high-tech firms. This course is designed to help students identify, evaluate, and obtain control over technology opportunities.


Thursday, August 07, 2014
Start or revisit your IDP

Beginning in October 2014, graduate students and postdocs funded by the NIH will have to include a section in the annual report to describe how individual development plans (IDPs) are used to identify and promote their career goals.

Why not get ahead now and start or refine YOUR IDP? Go here:

See for more information.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014
BEST Program mentor and trainee share authorship


BEST program gives Ph.D.s insights into nonacademic jobs...By Merry R. Buckley and Ashley N. Campbell Cornell Chronicle The Broadening Experiences in Scientific Training (BEST) program, which offers career resources about non-academic jobs, is now available to all Cornell Ph.D. students and postdocs.

About 100 Cornell Ph.D. students and postdocs curious about jobs outside the academic world have enrolled so far in Broadening Experiences in Scientific Training (BEST), a


Thursday, May 29, 2014
BESTernship offered to help acquire industry team experience

Employers tell us they seek individuals who can work cooperatively on real teams. Here is an amazing opportunity for a hands-on experience with an industry led real-life problem that will be solved (by you!) in working teams assembled from across the country and crossing the disciplines. Solutions may involve prototyping, non-traditional market research, UI design, business intelligence and more...

Based on input from the BEST application, you have indicated to us you would really like to


Thursday, May 15, 2014
NYBIO panel highlights NY BEST programs

BEST = Let’s Change the Culture Together 



According to an NIH study, only 23% of PhDs trained in the life sciences become tenure track academic scientists. Despite this fact, the PhD training model remains focused almost exclusively on academic careers. It’s time to rethink how we train today’s


Tuesday, March 18, 2014
Program Helps Researchers Find Non-Academic Careers

Cornell kicked off its new Broadening Experiences in Scientific Training program — which is aimed to help postdoctoral scholars in the sciences pursue careers outside academia — Tuesday with a panel and networking event in the Biotechnology Building.

The BEST program is funded by a five year, $1.8 million National Institutes of Health award and geared towards postdoctoral scholars and graduate students studying biomedical sciences, according to Prof. John Parker, veterinary


Thursday, March 13, 2014
Cornell Chronicle Highlights BEST Program

BEST Program will train PhDs for nonacademic careers

Only 23 percent of biomedical science Ph.D.s get academic tenure track positions, and just 43 percent end up in academic research jobs, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

To address this disconnect between available positions and how Ph.D.s in biomedical fields are trained, the NIH has funded 10 universities, including Cornell, to start Broadening Experiences in Scientific Training (BEST) pilot programs. Eight additional


Monday, February 24, 2014
NIH Program Trains Scientists for Nontraditional Careers

Science Careers: The Job Market by Luda Shtessel

A love of science can inspire a career in research, but it is not enough to deliver the goods: Only about 15% of biomedical Ph.D. researchers ever secure a tenure-track position. The rest end up—often after a long, uncertain transition—in a very wide range of careers. In 2012, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) committed to doing more to help this other 85% by (among other initiatives) providing some training for Ph.D.


Thursday, January 23, 2014
BEST grant ensures paths less travelled will be explored

A new program will give graduate students and post-doctoral scholars at Cornell University new opportunities for exploring both traditional and nontraditional career options. The Broadening Experiences in Scientific Training (BEST) program will provide information, internships, and other resources to prepare students for careers in industry, government, and communication in addition to traditional academic careers, according to Cornell officials.

The Cornell BEST program has received a [$1.8]