Skip to content

Graduate Student Seminar Series: March 17, Pre-seminar Training Session


The ME Department has a new initiative to reform its graduate program. The reformed graduate program allows the Department to enhance the professional development of our 3rd- and 4th-year ME Ph.D. and 2nd-year Master’s students and help them pursue diverse post-graduation careers, including academic, non-academic positions entrepreneurial career paths. The Department hosts a student-centric seminar series as part of this initiative. In the seminar, several graduate students are invited to give 3-min elevator pitches on their research projects to ME alumni from industries, startups, and national labs, assuming an audience of non-experts in their fields. Each elevator pitch talk addresses three key questions in 3 min: (1) what real-life problem your research addresses, (2) how you solve it in a unique way, and (3) what impact it would have on society. Graduate students and their advisors are invited to participate in this exciting event.

March 17, 5:00 – 6:00 pm, In-person meeting at 2505 GGB
Pre-seminar Training Session
Topic: Delivering an Effective Elevator Pitch

Guest Alumni: Neha Pankow (NSF Associate Program Director)

Neha Pankow is an Associate Program Director in the Division of Atmospheric & Geospace Sciences at the National Science Foundation. Her work includes the development of data-informed strategy for overseeing and planning funding opportunities in basic science.

As a Graduate student at the University of Michigan- Ann Arbor, Neha performed single-molecule biophysics experiments to study transport mediated by the motor protein, kinesin. She used the mechanical engineering knowledge from her undergraduate training to build custom microscopes for cutting-edge experiments. As an American Cancer Society post-doctoral fellow at the University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill, she applied her biophysics findings to cell biology questions. In 2018, the AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellowship provided the perfect opportunity for a transition into her current role.

Both in India and the U.S., Neha has volunteered through non-profit organizations in areas including sanitation, mental health, STEM outreach, gender equality and prevention of child abuse. These outreach experiences in conjunction with her aptitude for science, inspired her to work on data-informed policy-making in the realm of basic science research and education.

Video Recording:

See the full ME Grad Student Seminar Series

Story tags

seminar students