By Maelia DuBois

The Graduate Division announces the start of its Professional Development Liaison program, which brings together ten Berkeley graduate students from different academic programs as interns.

Funded by the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on Student Services and Fees (CACSSF), Professional Development Liaisons (PDLs) will assist Linda Louie, Professional Development Resource Coordinator, and Linda von Hoene, Assistant Dean for Professional Development, in creating new initiatives for graduate professional development within the Graduate Division. The PDLs will also serve as outreach partners with individual academic departments. PDLs will help departments achieve their self-identified professional development goals and create more extensive resources for their students.

The PDLs are also available to meet individually to help graduate students build skills, succeed in their programs, and launch their careers. Each PDL brings different experiences and skills to their new role. Graduate students can make an appointment with a Professional Development Liaison today, or contact [email protected] with questions about the PDL program.

David Bratt, East Asian Languages & Cultures

As a humanities Ph.D. student at Cal, I have learned so much from the many workshops, conferences, and training sessions related to professional development at Berkeley. I joined GradPro to help further develop these resources, and to help individual students decide how best to leverage the many opportunities that are available to them. I am especially interested in exploring how Ph.D. students at Cal can use internships, externships, and other forms of experiential learning to diversify their professional competencies and learn about different careers.”

Sarah Christofides, French

“My interest in professional development grew out of a desire to explore and understand all that I could do with a Ph.D., both within and beyond the academy. As a PDL, I hope to learn more about academic administration and advising, so as to be able to improve the experiences of graduate students during their time here at Berkeley. I’m particularly excited to work on making Berkeley’s wealth of career exploration resources more visible and accessible to graduate students, while also developing new tools and resources to increase the possibilities for graduate students’ professional development.”

Muna Danish, Journalism

“As a graduate student in a professional program, I’ve learned how important professional development is to making connections, building new skills, and cultivating your career. I wanted to help create that on a broader scale as a PDL with GradPro. I’m excited to collaborate with other departments, develop best practices and help establish new resources for grad students.”


Maelia DuBois, History

I have worked across a variety of divisions and academic units on the Berkeley campus, including Digital Humanities@Berkeley and the Graduate Assembly, and interning with the Graduate Division seemed like the perfect way to tie together what I have learned and take it to the next level of serving the graduate community at large. As a PDL, I aim to learn more about how academic departments can best work together to serve the needs of a diverse graduate student community. I am especially interested in engaging graduate students in early planning of their varied professional development options throughout their time within the academy and how to best take advantage of the many resources available to them.”

Arathi Govind, Music (Ethnomusicology)

My interest in working as a PDL largely grew out of my understanding of the academic job market today. I wanted to learn how Ph.D.s can market themselves more broadly. My work at GradPro is largely oriented around career development and exploration. I aim to create more programming that helps graduate students develop practical skills to find fulfilling employment, whether inside or outside of the academy.”


Chris Hyun, Energy and Resources Group (ERG)

I believe grad school gives us an opportunity for advanced-level exploration and discovery — of course in scholarship but also in terms of our personal lives. GradPro gives me a chance not only to discover more things about myself, but also to help other grad students with their life pursuits while they journey with us here at Cal. I really want to see a year-long workshop curriculum through GradPro that addresses professional development needs across campus. The bigger vision of it would be to empower grad students to more clearly conceptualize what they want to pursue in life and how they can contribute to society. I also would like to see programming that significantly supports the success of underrepresented minority, first-generation, and LGBTQ+ grad students.”

Tanis C. Leonhardi, Earth and Planetary Science

“I joined GradPro because I am interested in career opportunities in both academic and non-academic contexts. My goals are to develop my skills and understanding of what it means and takes to be a professional. I will develop these skills through projects exploring the following topics: science and research communication, experiential education, career exploration in industry and government, and navigating copyright, patent, and export control laws.”


Laura E. Pulido, Education

“I view my work with GradPro as a unique opportunity to learn about and contribute to the ongoing development of university programs, resources, and department collaborations that seek to foster graduate student professionalization. My work with GradPro includes a focus on cultivating graduate writing success and meeting the professional development needs of underrepresented graduate minorities.”

Mark Stepaniak, Molecular and Cell Biology (MCB)

“As a former teacher I’ve seen how helpful professional development can be. Since I made a career change I know that there are skills that I need to independently develop through the resources available on campus in order to be successful in my program and post-graduation plans. I want to further develop skills in mentoring and needs assessment, as well as learn about the resources that I can utilize both on and off campus. I’ve had help making multiple school and job market transitions and developing new skills, and so I want to pass that on to other students.”

Rachel Wallace, Public Policy

I became interested in working with GradPro when I learned about the different professional development programs and resources around campus that could supplement those already offered through the professional schools. I am also interested in working with graduate students of color and first-generation graduate students on topics such as code switching in the workplace/academia and identifying meaningful mentors. Lastly, I am hoping to further my communications experience by working on the GradPro Digest and GradNews.”

About the author: Maelia DuBois is a Professional Development Liaison at the Graduate Division and a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of History with a specialization in German history.