The Program Outline
The MSU BEST Program
The MSU BEST Program is focused on helping each individual trainee to develop the necessary skills to forge a professional path which suits his or her interest, skills, and professional goals. It is not a career training program: it is a co-curricular professional development program which provides professional skills development to complement the deep disciplinary training our graduate students and post-docs receive in their home labs. We seek to empower students and build their self-efficacy in pursuing a variety of careers at the end of their training.
The foundation of the program is on four pillars:
Year One: Spheres of Success
Year 1 is focused on building a cohort of BEST Trainees, and professional development and on developing the strengths and competencies students need to build a strong professional foundation for any career. It starts with an Orientation, which will describe the mission of MSU BEST. the training process, expectations of trainees as highly engaged BEST Scholars, expectations of faculty mentors; opportunities and resources, and where to seek assistance if concerns arise. Clear expectations are key for any good experiment, and this Orientation concludes with a contract, the BEST Promise, which articulates the commitment to and by each trainee and his or her mentor.
The professional development Spheres of Success (SoS) workshops cover a variety of topics, including foundational skills necessary for success in all facets of work, such as wellness, team work, and communication. Year 1 SoS will also explore career-related information specific to biomedical careers such as the legal and regulatory environment for biomedical sciences, the role of research and leadership in government or non-profit fields, and others.
These SoS workshops are designed to be responsive to students needs and interests. We tap into the significant and varied resources of Michigan State University and its leadership and expertise to offer dynamic training to BEST Trainees. We also partner with local professionals to encourage them to share their experiences, network with our trainees, and engage with the BEST program in different ways.
Year 2: Expanding the Sphere
In year 2, and subsequent years, BEST Trainees will engage in targeted, intentional externship experiences.
Each student and his or her mentor will, at the end of the first year, design an IDP which lays out professional interests and goals, and brainstorm how to facilitate these hands-on learning experiences. BEST builds upon a large network of MSU alumni, research associates, area employers, and others to provide “real world” opportunities for BEST Trainees to explore multiple facets of biomedical science and engineering. These experiences are designed to help students hone their professional skills, make substantive contributions to the externship provider, and explore diverse professions which utilize the deep content knowledge of Ph.D.-level scientists and engineers.
If you represent a company or organization interested in partnering with or serving as an experience provider for BEST Trainees and Mentors, we encourage you to contact us at MSUBEST@msu.edu.