Create Your Own Activity

There is no cost to attend most events listed on our calendar if you let us know you are interested. Careers Beyond Academia has a budget for participant-initiated activities and encourages creative approaches that might combine your current research with a desired career experience. We encourage innovative, collaborative projects that are outside the box intending to broaden opportunities for participants as well as the Cornell Ph.D. and postdoctoral community at large. On occasion, we also offer to reimburse travel to non-Cornell associated events. We also hope to augment and facilitate participants’ work by making opportunities available that were not otherwise accessible.

Submissions for funding are considered on a rolling basis. Please contact us at gradcareers@cornell.edu to have a conversation before submitting an application. We will work with you to hone the request and ensure it is in alignment with our mission. We might also be able to help direct you to other sources of support.

Application Process to Request Funding Support

Start with your intention: Why do you want to do this, and why is this the best way to get this experience, skill, or knowledge? How will it impact your career choice? Have you spoken to  Careers Beyond Academia staff to make sure it aligns with our mission?

Have you looked into competitive offerings? Are there any? How is this one better than another existing opportunity on campus, or within a three hour drive?

Have you already made use of local or free online resources (classes, events, speakers, mentors, etc.) that provide some background knowledge? How have these experiences led you to understand what is required and valued in this career path?

Funders want to know the impact their investment will have and that you will not be the only one to benefit. Don’t make them wonder what you will get out of it, how you justify the value, and why it’s absolutely essential for your future success. Can you offer to teach others what you learn after the experience? Is this of interest to a larger community? Will you work together with others who have also shown an interest? When you send a request that sounds like it’s ‘nice to have’ as opposed to something closer to ‘I can’t succeed without it’, it gives an easier way for supporters to say no.

Like with any investment, no one wants to take all the risk. They want to know you have some skin in the game. Are you willing to find/offer your own free housing or carpool with others? Have you contacted the organizer(s) to inquire whether they have sponsorships/discounts for students or funds from the organization? How about the sponsors listed, would they consider a request? If they have all said no, or at least you are intending to ask them, then it is more clear you have explored other avenues and exhausted other possibilities. If they have already said yes, then indicate clearly the total cost and who will cover what aspect. Don’t make anyone do any work to find out how much you are asking for. Have a budget spreadsheet on the total cost (airfare? meals? hotel? ground transport? registration? what’s included? what are you paying for? who else has committed to supporting you?)

How will you provide feedback to determine the value of the experience for you and others? How will you share the outcomes?

Also, do include a deadline for a response, especially the deadline for early registration, for example, and send it in a timely fashion so reviewers have a reasonable time frame within which to work.

We follow the standards and practices as developed by the National Society for Experiential Education (NSEE), whose eight principles were presented at their 1998 annual meeting.

Still interested? Ready to apply for funding? Please submit your Funding Support Request.

Examples of participants’ previous activities:

  • Leading a group trip to Albany to meet with policymakers, legislative staff, and researchers whose work is regulated by policy.
  • Leading a graduate student organization, garnering sponsorship, organizing a communication workshop, connecting with alumni, and rallying an Ithaca contingent to march for science in Washington, D.C.
  • Leading a team to co-organize the 4th ComSciCon-Cornell, get a grant to support it, present the results at a national AAAS meeting, rebrand the communication conference ComSciCon-NY, and pass the torch to next year’s team.
  • Organizing a panel as part of a symposium.
  • Meeting an industry speaker at a panel, then leading a shadowing experience at the company.
  • Attending an industry conference, then presenting takeaways at a departmental seminar.
  • Pitching an idea, selecting applicants from multiple fields, organizing logistics, and traveling together to a career exploration conference, then leading debriefing discussions and summarizing what was learned.
  • Creating a career panel for peers: Identifying a career pathway, researching potential speakers (preferably alumni), creating a topic of discussion, and inviting and facilitating relationships with speakers; working with a team of your peers to manage the event from invitations to registration, and moderating the panel and follow up with participants on customer satisfaction.
    • Creating a career panel involved reaching out with emails, private messages through social media, or phone calls to ask if the panelists would be interested in speaking with Ph.D. students and postdocs at Cornell University; explaining what the key points are to share; and thinking about the job demands, tasks, and how their jobs make a difference.
  • Moderating a panel discussion (we can provide guidance with pro tips to be a great moderator).
  • Inviting speakers to discuss their careers in governance, risk, and compliance.
  • Support for membership to a career related trade organization or professional society (e.g. Licensing Executive Society, Public Communication of Science and Technology (PCST) to network with members in a geographic region.