New leadership, support programs to help graduate students thrive, develop critical skills
Two years after she received her bachelor's degree from the University of Georgia, Rachael Hart Earls was excited to return to her alma mater to begin her doctoral studies. But as she prepared for life in a laboratory as a neuroscientist, she worried that she would feel isolated and wondered if there was a way to create synergies between her academic goals and her desire to work with people outside of the lab.
She found the answer in Graduate Scholars LEAD (Leadership, Engagement and Development), a program launched this summer by the Graduate School. Funded by a $495,000 Innovations in Graduate Education grant from the National Science Foundation, the
program fosters the development of critical thinking skills, teamwork, communication and leadership.
"I was sold right away," Earls said of the program, which includes an eight-week summer academy facilitated by faculty from the J. W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development, College of Engineering, Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, and College of Veterinary Medicine. It also includes a follow-up grand challenges course, through which students are working this fall to design a meaningful solution for a community in need.