Focus Group 8 June: Career Prospects & Optimism

We had a very successful focus group last Wednesday, 8 June! The topic was “Career Prospects and Optimism”, and the attendees all had a lively discussion.

Here’s an executive summary of the proceedings:

Executive summary: The focus group met to discuss GAP action with respect to the results of the recent graduate student experience survey. In many dimensions of student experience, the School of Physics scored worse than Georgia Tech as a whole. The particular topic covered by this focus group was SoP pessimism about employment opportunities. After some discussion about the sources and (un?)justifiability of this pessimism, the focus group tentatively approved three interrelated proposals for Gabe and Chris to offer in their presentation to the Chair:

  1. We (the GAP and SoP leadership) should investigate the possibility of a more formal co-op/internship and career services program, perhaps modeled on successful such programs within the College of Engineering.
  2. We should undertake to foster a culture of alumni involvement so as to afford mentorship and network connections between former and current SoP graduate students.
  3. Graduate students should seek regular career advisement from their advisors and other SoP faculty/leadership. Surprisingly few of us (at least as represented in this focus group) actually do that, and an institutional initiative might help encourage these relationships.

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