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February Webinar: Is graduate school right for you?

By February 9, 2016No Comments

Beginning in 2016, NRMN in partnership with the AAMC GREAT Group will be presenting a series of 8 career development webinars focused on the graduate school process.

Join us on February 16th at 3pm EDT where three accomplished researchers discuss the topic “Is grad school right for you?”

This online panel will be most suited to Undergraduate students at the Junior and Senior level, and their Advisors, who are encouraged to participate actively in the Q&A portion at the end of the session.

Webinar Registration:

Please register for Is grad school right for you? on Feb 16, 2016 2:00 PM EST at:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

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About the Panelists:


William “Dave” Wessinger, PhD

Dr. Wessinger is a Professor of Pharmacology and Toxicology at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) in Little Rock AR. He is a well-seasoned career scientist with over 26 years of extramurally funded research under his belt. His main research interest is the behavioral pharmacology of abused drugs.

He was appointed the inaugural Director of the Interdisciplinary Biomedical Sciences (IBS) Graduate Program welcoming an incoming class of 6 students in 2005, and shortly thereafter appointed Director of the UAMS MD/PhD Program. Dr. Wessinger currently directs the largest graduate program at UAMS; overseeing the graduate education of about 60 students. In 2008 he was awarded the Chancellor’s Faculty Teaching Award. He has served as the major advisor for 3 PhD students and 2 postdoctoral fellows and as mentor on NIH training and career development grants for 3 junior faculty members. He participates in all three of the NRSA Institutional Training grants currently on campus and serves on the Steering Committee for “Translational Training in Addictions” Training Grant (T32 DA022981) for the Department of Psychiatry, and on the Internal Advisory Committee and Teaching Faculty for the “Systems Pharmacology and Toxicology” Training Grant (T32GM106999) for the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology. The IBS Graduate Program plays a significant role in all of the campus T32s. He represents the Graduate School on the Chancellor’s Diversity Committee. He is also actively involved in medical school education, serving as a module director for the sophomore class, member of the Curriculum Committee, member of the Academic Houses mentoring team and annually interviews medical school applicants.


Audra Van Wart, PhD

Dr. Van Wart is Director of Education and Training and Assistant Professor at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, where she coordinates research and training initiatives, including developing and co directing the interdisciplinary Ph.D. program in Translational Biology, Medicine and Health, and serving as Co-PI on Virginia Tech’s NIH BEST program grant. She also serves as a Medical Research Faculty Evaluator and Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine for the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine. She is a member of the PhD Outreach Committee for the AAMC GREAT Group, Society for Neuroscience, and the Central Virginia Chapter of the Society for Neuroscience.   Dr. Van Wart earned her Ph.D. in Neurobiology & Behavior from SUNY Sony Brook, and completed her postdoctoral training at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory. Her training was supported by pre- and post-doctoral NRSA fellowships, and her research has been published in journals such as Neuron, J Neurosci, and PNAS. Prior to joining Virginia Tech, Dr. Van Wart worked as a full-time scientific editor at Cell Press for the journal Neuron.


Victoria H. Freedman, PhD

Dr. Freedman is currently Associate Dean for Graduate Programs at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine (Bronx NY). After receiving her Ph.D. in Genetics, she went on to study cellular immunology. Her long term research focused on the cellular immune response to mycobacterial infections (tuberculosis and leprosy). As Associate Dean at Einstein, she oversees all aspects of PhD training and is also Director of the Summer Undergraduate Research Program, Co-Director of the Summer High School Research Program, and Co-Director of the PREP (Post baccalaureate Research Education) Program. She has developed and coordinated a comprehensive approach to the education and training of graduate students including program development, curriculum design and course development, educational evaluation, as well as all aspects of student recruitment, admission and retention. Most recently, she has developed a robust Career and Professional Development Program for graduate students and postdoctoral trainees. She is a past Chair of the AAMC GREAT Group (Graduate Research Education and Training), and is currently Chair of the GREAT Group PhD Outreach Committee. She has spoken widely about PhD education, training and careers in the biomedical sciences and has organized and led panel discussions and workshop sessions at the NIH Graduate Fair, ABRCMS, and SACNAS, as well as other venues. Above all, she is committed to helping all students realize their potential to become “all that they can be.”


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