top sliver


Career Advancement Program for Engineers and Scientists

The CNS Career Advancement Program for Engineers and Scientists (CNS CAPES) is designed to improve the competitiveness of Cornell graduate students and postdoctoral scholars entering the workforce, in part by providing training in the important "real-world" skills that are often overlooked in traditional graduate programs, such as public speaking, proposal writing, and effective interview techniques. The CAPES program will also give students a realistic and unbiased view of academic and non-academic career opportunities.

To be added to the CAPES mailing list, please send an e-mail message to CNS.

Comments, questions or suggestions about the CAPES program should be directed to:
Prof. Edwin Kan.

Other CAPES Link

Fall 2011

Thursday, September 1, 2011 - "Mastering Public Presentations."

Tim Miller



The scientific process is not just about generating ideas; it is about freely sharing those ideas with the broader world.  Now, more than ever, the ability to recruit students, attract colleagues, garner attention, and secure funding is tied to your ability to successfully communicate the results of your work, both to peers and to the general public.  In this seminar, you will learn some fundamental tips and tricks for speaking publicly, obtain some valuable tools for crafting and delivering powerful presentations, and be introduced to a method of critique that will help you in giving and receiving constructive feedback from your colleagues.


Spring 2011

Wednesday, April 6, 2011 - "What was I thinking? A perspective on an academic career."

Prof. Lincoln J. Lauhon

Department of Materials Science and Engineering
Northwestern University

Fall 2010

Thursday, November 18, 2010 - " Academia search: Make the case to hire you and fund your work"

Prof. Edwin Kan
School of Electrical and Computer Engineering,
Cornell University   
Prof. John Marohn
Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology,
Cornell University

700 Clark Hall
12:15pm - Pizza at Noon


This is the third seminar in series with what was given in 11/2007 and 10/2005 (please view slides from CAPES web site).  We will first briefly review the general principles behind academic job search, and share and comment on real examples of successful and unsuccessful job proposals (sanitized, of course).  We will then go through exercises on how to write your job proposals and grant applications in the positive voice.



Thursday, October 14, 2010 - " A Life in Science: Some things to consider"

Speaker: David J. Skorton, MD, Cornell President

700 Clark Hall
12:15pm - Pizza at Noon


David J. Skorton, MD, Cornell president, cardiologist, and professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering on Cornell’s Ithaca campus and in the Departments of Medicine and Pediatrics at Weill Cornell Medical College, will talk about his career path from medicine to biomedical research to academic administration, with lessons learned along the way.



Spring 2010

Tuesday, May 4, 2010 - "What I Wish I had Learned While in Graduate School - Perspective from a Hiring Manager "

Speaker: H.-S. Philip Wong
Center for Integrated Systems and
Department of Electrical Engineering
Stanford University

700 Clark Hall
12:15pm - Pizza at Noon


It is often said that the education really starts once you get out of school. In a way, there is a grain of truth in this. In highly competitive schools such as Cornell, students are often focused on getting good grades in class and doing ground-breaking research. And the accomplishments are clear: you all get excellent grades and your research is highly cited and respected in the technical community.

Have you ever asked yourself: are these accomplishments and learning what your future hiring manager would look for? Have you gotten the “right” education during your years here so you are well prepared to join the “real world”? Before you get out of here, what other classes should you have taken? What other experiences should you have gained? Let’s say you are now hired (which I believe you all will be), what are the things you can learn now that can help you succeed in your career?

I have spent sixteen years at IBM Research, with seven years of management experience, hiring all sorts of employees with PhDs from materials scientists and chemists to physicists and electrical engineers. Currently, I hire graduate students, post-docs, and interview faculty candidates. In this seminar, I would like to share my experiences as a hiring manager with you. Come with your questions that you would like to know the answers to but have been afraid to ask – or simply forgot to ask.




Thursday, April 22, 2010 - "Advancing Faculty Diversity in the STEM Disciplines: Michigan's ADVANCE Effort"

Speaker: Prof. J. Wayne Jones
Arthur F. Thurnau Professor
Dept. of Materials Science and Engineering
Associate Director, Univ. of Michigan ADVANCE Program

700 Clark Hall
12:15pm - Pizza at Noon

Abstract: This presentation will describe the work of the University of Michigan’s ADVANCE Program, from its creation as a five-year NSF-funded program in 2001 to its institutionalization as a UM-funded program in 2006, to its present role in university-wide efforts to increase faculty diversity.  In particular, the role senior faculty can play in educating their colleagues about the negative consequences of evaluation bias, even non-conscious bias, especially as it relates to recruitment and retention of women and underrepresented minorities will be discussed.  Finally, best recruiting practices, gleaned from the efforts at the University of Michigan and other institutions, which increase the effectiveness of recruiting for diversity will be presented.



Wednesday, April 7, 2010 - "Preparing for your Academic Career in Science and Engineering"

Speaker: Dr. Richard Reis, Stanford University

700 Clark Hall
12:15pm - Pizza at Noon

Absract: In this presentation, Dr. Richard Reis author of Tomorrow’s Professor: Preparing for Academic Careers in Science and Engineering and editor of the Tomorrow’s Professor eNewsletter will talk about the critical steps graduate students and postdocs need to take now to prepare for future academic careers.  He will begin with an overview of the academic enterprise and what distinguishes science and engineering professorships from those in other disciplines.  He will then explore in detail the Three-Way Stretch preparation strategy that will give you a significant leg-up on your competition in the academic job search.  He will then outline the steps you need to follow in finding and getting the best possible academic position – for you.  Reis concludes with a quick look at the Tomorrow’s Professor eNewsletter and how you can use it now and for the remainder of you’re academic career.

Bio: Richard Reis is currently the director of special programs and lecturer at the Product Realization Network at Stanford University. From 1990 to 2007 he was the executive director of the Alliance for Innovative Manufacturing at Stanford and a consulting professor and lecture, respectively, in the Electrical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering departments. From 1997 to 2000 he was the director of academic partnerships at the Stanford Learning Laboratory, now part of the Stanford Center for Innovations in Learning. From 1982 to 1997 he was the executive director of the Stanford Center for Integrated Systems, a major research partnership between Stanford and 15 industrial companies.

Reis is also the founder and editor of the Tomorrow’s Professor Mailing List, a bi-weekly electronic publication with over 30,000 subscribers at over 750 institutions in over 100 countries. He is the author of Tomorrow’s Professor: Preparing for Academic Careers in Science and Engineering (IEEE Press 1997).




Fall 2009

Thursday, October 22, 2009 - "Preparing a Graduate Fellowship Application a roundtable discussion by graduate students and faculty"

700 Clark Hall
12:15pm - Pizza at Noon

Graduate students and senior undergraduates can apply directly for national fellowships to fund their graduate work in science and engineering.  These fellowships are very prestigious, and usually afford the student an increased stipend and a reduced teaching load in graduate school.  The Society of Physics Students and the Career Advancement Program for Engineers and Scientists are teaming up to offer a  workshop on preparing graduate fellowship applications.    

A short list of national fellowships (with deadlines) is given below.   A more comprehensive list of undergraduate and graduate fellowships is maintained by the Cornell Physics Graduate Society and can be found at

The Hertz Foundation Graduate Fellowships Due: October 30, 2009 Eligibility: US citizen or non-citizen national; college seniors + 1st-year grads
NSF Graduate Fellowship Due: November 2-12, 2009, depending on field of study submitted to Eligibility: US citizens; college seniors + 1st-year grads 
Department of Energy Office of Science Graduate Fellowship (new!) Due: November 30, 2009 Eligibility: US citizens, college seniors + 1st-year grads + 2nd-year grads; min cumulative undergrad GPA of 3.3/4.0 req'd.
National Institutes of Health ~ Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Awards for Individual Predoctoral Fellows (F31) Due: December 8, 2009; April 8, 2010; August 8, 2010; and so on. Eligibility: UA citizen or non-citizen national
National Defense Science and Engineering Fellowship Due: January 4, 2010, but note that GRE scores are due December 10, 2009 Eligibility: US citizens, college seniors + 1st-year grads + 2nd-year grads

Friday, October 9, 2009 - "Science Communication: Experiments and Transitions with Words"

Speaker: Rachel Petkewich, The Shaw Group

700 Clark Hall
12:15pm - Pizza at Noon

Abstract: Scientists and engineers play key roles in conveying information among technical professionals and to the general public. Sometimes the scientists and engineers get help with proposals, journal articles, press releases, and presentations from science writers and technical editors. In other cases, those scientists and engineers decide to switch into careers as writers and editors.  I will talk about my transitions between industrial science research, science journalism, and technical editing; share some of my writing and editing experiences; and offer suggestions on how scientists and engineers can interact with the media. I am currently a technical editor at Shaw, a global technology and engineering firm. Over the past decade, I have worked in a chemistry research lab at DuPont; held staff positions at magazines such as Chemical & Engineering News, Environmental Science & Technology, and Analytical Chemistry; and freelanced for magazines including Science. I have a master’s degree in science and medical writing from Johns Hopkins University and a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Ithaca College.

Thursday, October 15, 2009 - "Alternative Careers in Science and Engineering - Policy and Civil Service (There are no Wrong Choices)"

Speaker: Jesse DeAro, U.S. National Science Foundation

700 Clark Hall
2:30pm - Refreshments will be served.

Abstract: After receiving a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from U.C. Santa Barbara, Dr. DeAro began a career in civil service and education policy.  After serving as a Presidential Management Fellow at the U.S. Department of Education, she went on to oversee national programs at the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. National Science Foundation.  She presently directs the U.S. National Science Foundation’s ADVANCE program, whose goal is to increase the representation and advancement of women in academic science and engineering careers in the United States. In November, she will start a detail in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.  In this CAPES seminar, Dr. DeAro will share her experiences transitioning from bench science to national service.


Tuesday, November 10, 2009 - "The Entrepreneurial Scientist and Engineer"

Speakers: Bruce Ganem, Dept. of Chemistry and Chemical Biology
Mike Thompson, Dept. of Materials Science and Engineering
Rajit Manohar, Dept. of Electrical and Computer Engineering

700 Clark Hall
1:15pm - Pizza at 1:00pm

Abstract: How do you decide to become an entrepreneur?  A technical degree and a good idea is a start, but what other talents and skills are required to start a company?  Once you’ve decided to become an entrepreneur, how do you go about starting a company?  Why do some ventures succeed while others fail?  Join us as three distinguished faculty share their experiences starting companies and answer your questions.



back to the top


Spring 2009

Thursday, March 5 - "The Ethics of Scientific Writing: How to Write and How Not to Write a Paper"

Speaker: Prof. Gary Christian, Department of Chemistry, University of Washington

Abstract:  Scientific writing for peer-reviewed journals is how scientists communicate their work to the world.  It is important to tell a clear and compelling story, beginning with justification for the work, placing it in the context of prior work, and its significance in advancing the field, i.e., what problem is being addressed?  Manuscripts are submitted to peer-review by experts, selected by the editor.  Only a select number will be published, depending on novelty, significance to the field, demonstrated applicability, appropriateness for the journal, and so forth.  Peer-review is for the benefit of the author as well as for the editor, and helps improve the quality and impact of the paper.  Ethics in publication is of paramount importance, and has become more of an issue for editors in recent years, particularly with the advent of the electronic age.
I will relay my experiences as an Editor-in-Chief for /Talanta/ over some twenty years, providing guidance on how to structure and present a paper so editors, reviewers and readers will have a good understanding of your accomplishments, and pitfalls to avoid.  Real-world examples of manuscripts that do not follow established and ethical guidelines will be given, along with cases of outright scientific fraud in the chemical literature.  And hints will be given of how authors can use peer review to their advantage. 



Friday, January 23 - "PUT YOUR SCIENCE TO WORK - Practical Advice and Proven Techniques to Land the Job of Your Dreams", Speaking on Scientific Careers for Scientists and Engineers

Speaker: Peter Fiske, Ph.D

Abstract: Young scientists in nearly every field are finding today’s job market a confusing and frustrating place.  More new PhDs, postdocs and master’s degree holders are considering a wider range of career in and out of science, but feel ill-prepared and uniformed about their options.

Peter Fiske, PhD. Is CEO of PAX Mixer, Inc. and the author of Put your Science to Work: The Take Charge Career Guide for Scientists.  Fiske received his Ph.D. in Geological and Environmental Sciences in 1994 from Standford University & an MBA from U.C. Berkely in 2002.  In 1996 Fiske was awarded the White House Fellowship & served one year in the Clinton Administration as Special Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Special Projects.  He is the author of 22 technical articles, and a former member of the technical staff of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. 

Learn about and discuss the latest industry topics!

•  Current and Future Employment Trends and Your Options •  Overview of Effective Career Planning and Job Hunting •  The TRUE Breadth of Career Opportunities for Ph.D.s •  Sought-after Skills and Experience •  Developing a Compelling CV, Resume and Cover Letter

                                               AND MUCH MORE



Fall 2008

November 13 - "Perspectives on a Research Career at a National Laboratory from the Point of View of Someone who has Also Worked at an Industrial Laboratory and at a Research University"

Speaker: Dr. Julia W. P. Hsu, Sandia National Laboratory

October 23 & 24 - "Preparing an Effective Resume"

Speaker: Dr. Jay Rappaport, ENLITEN Consulting
Everyone needs a resume! This seminar is an opportunity to get detailed resume advice from an experienced industrial recruiter.

The workshop on 10/23 will consist of a morning seminar, followed by afternoon individual meetings during which Dr. Rappaport will critque your resume and help you improve it.

The seminar and meetings will repeat on 10/24.

To reserve an individual meeting please contact Kim Cotton (


back to the top


back to the top

Spring 2008

April 15 - "The Elements of Graphical Style "

Speaker: Michael Duncan, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Cornell University

April 29 - "Research at an Undergraduate Institution"

Round Table Speakers: Prof. Yutan Getzler, Kenyon College, and Prof. Suely Black, Norfolk State University

May 6 - "A Career in Intellectual Property Law"

Speaker : Michael Dzwonczyk, Sughrue Mion, PLLC

Video and Slides
back to the top


Fall 2007

October 17 - "Research Proposals - Maximizing Your Chance for Success"

Speaker: Frank DiSalvo, Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Cornell University

Video and Slides

October 24 - "Writing a Resume that Works"

Speaker: Geoffrey Nunes, DuPont Central Research & Development

Video and Slides

November 8 - "How Research Universities Evaluate Faculty Applicants"

Round Table Speakers : Prof. Dan Ralph (Physics), Prof. George Malliaras (Materials Science & Engineering), and Prof. John Marohn (Chemistry and Chemical Biology), Cornell University

Video and Slides
back to the top

Spring 2007

A Career at the Interface Between Science and Public Policy

Speaker: Joel Schwartz, Visiting Fellow, American Enterprise Institute

Video and Slides

Public Speaking for Scientists and Engineers

Speaker: Prof. Melissa Hines, Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Cornell University

Video and Slides

Leading a Life of Research in a U.S. Governmental (and military) Laboratory

Speaker: Dr. Debra Rolison, Senior Research Scientist, Surface Chemistry Branch, Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, DC

Video and Slides

back to the top

Fall 2006

Message from a Born-Again Writer: Edit Your Butt Off

Speaker: Prof. David B Collum, Dept of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Cornell University.

Professor David B. Collum will discuss how he prepares journal articles and proposals.  He will chronicle his transition from dysfunctional illiterate to functional author.  His description of why writing is important and how he approaches the problem will leave only scraps for the imagination.

Video and Slides

Preparing an Effective Resume

Speaker: Dr. Jay B. Rappaport, President, Enliten Consulting, Director, Intellectual Assets & Licensing, PhD Recruiter, DuPont Company (now retired).

back to the top

Spring 2006

The Schön affair: scientific misconduct at Bells labs

Speaker: Don Monroe, Science Writer

Video and Slides

Scientific poster presentations

Speaker: LiLynn Graves, Cornell Center for Materials Reserch


back to the top

Fall 2005

Applying for Academic Positions

Speakers: John Marohn, Chemistry and Chemical Biology and Edwin Kan, Electrical and Computing Engineering, Cornell University

Video and slides (will open in new browser window)

Tips from a science writer: explaining tough science in compelling writing

Lauren Gold, Science Writer, Cornell University

back to the top

Spring 2005


Speakers: Dr. Douglas Allan, Corning Inc., Dr. Charles Black, IBM and Dr. Liesl Folks, Hitachi

Click here for the presentations: pdf Allan, pdf Black, pdf Folks

Click here for a video recording in mp4 format.


Speakers: Kathy Berggren, Sr. Lecturer, Communications, Cornell University

Click here for the pdf slides presentation in pdf format.
Click here for a video recording in mp4 format.


Speaker: Mark Cardillo, Executive Director, Camille & Henry Dreyfus Foundation

Click here for the pdf slides presentation in pdf format.


Speakers: Prof. David Tanenbaum, Pomona College, Prof. Beth Parks, Colgate University, and Prof. Stephen FitzGerald, Oberlin College

Click here for the presentations: pdf Tannenbaum,pdf Fitzgerald in pdf format.

back to the top

Fall 2004

Preparing an application for academia

Speakers: Bob Buhrman, Applied & Engineering Physics Paul Houston, Chemistry & Chemical Biology and George Malliaras, Materials Science & Engr.

pdf Slides are available in pdf format.

For a video recording of the event click here.

The academic Environment for women in science and engineering

Speakers: Barbara Baird, Chemistry & Chemical Biology, Paulette Clancy, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering, Sheila Hemami, Electrical & Computer Engineering and Lois Pollack, Applied & Engineering Physics

For a video recording of the event click here.

Academic interviews: Tips for success

Speakers: Shefford Baker, Materials Science and Engineering, Barry Carpenter, Chemistry & Chemical Biology and Tyler McQuade, Chemistry & Chemical Biology

pdf Slides are available in pdf format.

For a video recording of the event click here.

The art of scientific writing:  From proposals to papers

Speakers: Roald Hoffmann, Chemistry and Chemical Biology, N. David Mermin, Physics, John Silcox, Applied and Engineering Physics

For a video recording of the event click here.

back to the top

Spring 2004

From Graduate Student and Postdoctoral Scholar to University Professor (and the strategies you need to get there)

Richard M. Reis , Stanford University

Click here for the Video and pdf slides of the presentation

Public Speaking for Scientists & Engineers

Melissa A. Hines , Chemistry and Chemical Biology

Click here for the Video and pdf slides of the presentation

Writing a Successful Proposal

Panelists: Sandip Tiwari (ECE), Bruce Van Dover (MS&E), and Farhan Rana (ECE)

Click here for the Video of the presentation

Which research Environment is Right for You - Industry, Academia or a National Lab ?

Panelists David A. Muller (AEP), Melissa Hines (CCB) and Lisa Wickham (AEP)

Click here for the Video of the presentation

A mentoring program for graduate students in engineering and the physical sciences

Back to the Top