Opportunities

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Faculty and students in the Bioinformatics and Computational Biology (BCB) Graduate Program at Iowa State interact with a wide variety of people and resources within the university and at other universities and research centers.  Links to just a few of these wide-ranging internal and external organizations and resources are displayed on the Resources page.

Training opportunities for our current students abound !!  Travel to national and international conferences is just one of the activities encouraged as a part of the professional development of our students.   Further information on travel to conferences can be found below.  Just a few of the conferences of interest to BCB faculty and students are listed here.

Our BCB program, our participating Departments, and Iowa State University have many programs to foster professional development for our students. Information on three major professional development opportunities are further described in the links above and here:

  • First, the Graduate Student Organization (GSO) in BCB is very active.  They have created an atmosphere of collaboration and cooperation which fosters a dynamic learning environment for our discipline.  They provide courses, symposia and other events which highlight their excellence and commitment to expanding the body of scientific knowledge;
  • Second, BCB students have access to exciting internships which are available because of the valuable skills and knowledge that comes from this major; and
  • Third, Iowa State's Graduate College provides excellent professional development courses and programs to augment the graduate training experience, while here, and, to improve skills for careers after graduation. 

BCB's Graduate Student Organization

The BCB Graduate Program has an engaged student body which provides many activities and services to BCB and to life science researchers at Iowa State. Students involved with one of their outreach efforts, the BCBLab, take part in consulting experiences for life science researchers on campus.  Students work together to apply computational and bioinformatics solutions to biological problems.  Recent graduates from the program have highlighted this consulting experience on their resumes to their benefit.

Internship Opportunities

BCB students are encouraged to participate in industrial internships as part of their training for careers in industry, government or the public sector. Recent internships for students have taken place with Boehringer Ingelheim and Dow. Past internships have been done with Merck, Syngenta and Novartis. In the past, Pioneer Hi-Bred International offered Graduate Research Fellowships with an eight-week internship during the summer of a student's first year of study. Additional internships in subsequent years were arranged between the student and Pioneer.

Graduate College - Professional Development opportunities

Developing professional skills is an essential component of a graduate student's career; whether it's speaking at a conference, learning how to network with other academics, or preparing your first vitae. The Graduate College has identified 6-essential skills to help graduate students and postdocs become successful in their respective disciplines. The six core competencies are: Career, Communication, Management, Research, Teaching, and Wellness.

Participation in Scientific Conferences and Symposia

Attendance and presentation of research results at professional meetings are an essential part of the BCB graduate training program. Students should attend at least one national or international meeting during their degree program.

Financial assistance is available through Professional Advancement Grants from the Graduate College and the Graduate and Professional Student Senate, from major professors and home departments, and from the BCB program. There may be Students interested in attending a conference should:

• discuss conference opportunities with their major professor and ask about the availability of funding provided through the major professor and the home department;
• plan conference attendance well in advance to ensure the best pricing for registration and airfares, and to secure funding through conference travel awards, your major professor, the BCB program and your home department;
• complete the Professional Advancement Grant (PAG) application for funding from the Graduate College and the Graduate and Professional Student Senate. The form and instructions are available on the GPSS site, a link to which can be found here.
• let the BCB Program Coordinator know you have filed a PAG for funding and provide a copy of it.

If you have published in a PLoS journal, graduate students and postdoctoral fellows can compete for a $500 travel scholarship through them.  See: https://www.plos.org/ecr-travel-awards?intcampaign=plos-1609-ecrtap-ban .

Professional Advancement Grants

The Graduate and Professional Student Senate provides funds not only to support attendance at professional meetings, but also to support graduate student research and childcare. Information and forms are available on the GPSS website, a link to which can be found here.

The copy of the PAG form will serve as the application for BCB conference funding. Funding is available from the BCB program according to the following schedule, up to a maximum of $1,000 over a five-year period for a Ph.D. student or $400 over a two-year period for an M.S. student:

• $200 per year, when presenting research
• $100 per year, when not presenting research

International Experiences

BCB students also are encouraged to enrich their educational experience and establish international contacts by participating in international research experiences. The BCB program has had working relationships with four institutions (three in Europe and one in China) with which international training experiences were arranged in the past. Speak with your major professor about arranging these opportunities.

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