Carnegie Mellon University

Nisha Presenting: Workshop Image

Our Fall 2019 workshop schedule is now live!

We've also opened up registration for several of these events, so feel free to sign up! Registration is completely free and is on a first come, first served basis. 

Email Communication with Professors and Potential Employers

SEPT 3 & 5, 5:00-6:00PM, IDEATE A (HUNT LIBRARY)

This workshop covers some common mistakes students make when communicating with their professors and potential employers. We will discuss "right" and "wrong" ways to email or speak to your professors about sensitive issues such as missed classes, difficulties understanding course material, or grading concerns. We also touch on some strategies for communicating with potential employers about job inquiries. This workshop will be particularly useful for freshmen and sophomore undergraduates, international students, or anyone concerned about how they are perceived based on their emails.

Register (Sept. 3)

Register (Sept. 5)

Writing an Academic Cover Letter


Going on the academic job market is a time-consuming process that requires producing many documents—including cover letters, research statements, teaching philosophies, and diversity statements. All of these materials require you to talk about yourself and engage in a kind of self-promotion that most people find uncomfortable. This workshop will overview the range of documents typically required of academic job candidates. We will then take a deeper dive into perhaps the most important of these documents: the academic cover letter. As our workshop will clarify, you may need different versions of your cover letter for different types of institutions. The GCC cover letter workshop is designed for PhD candidates who are going on the market in Fall 2019. This workshop will describe the structure and content of a typical academic cover letter, discuss how to read and interpret job ads, explain how to tailor your job letter for different types of institutions, including universities with varying research and teaching loads, and critique strong and weak examples of cover letters.


Creating Effective PowerPoint Presentations


Have you ever sat through a tedious or confusing PowerPoint presentation? This workshop will help you create effective PowerPoint presentations that present your research in a clear and compelling way. We will introduce innovative research on designing visually effective slides that increase audience engagement. We will also practice constructing and revising PowerPoint slides, and discuss other strategies for organizing and delivering your PowerPoint presentation.


Team Communication I: The Fundamentals of Managing Team Projects


Teamwork is central to professional life, but most students don't know how to manage a team project so it flows smoothly. This workshop will teach you how to create a teamwork infrastructure that will help you avoid the most common team problems. You will learn strategies for structuring your collaboration, especially on group documents. This workshop will also cover effective strategies for talking with your teammates when problems do occur. The advice in this workshop is based on Dr. Wolfe's research interviewing hundreds of students and professionals about their team experiences and practices.


Team Communication II: Handling Difficult People and Situations


Even if you do everything “right” on a team project, you can still encounter difficult people and difficult situations. This workshop teaches you to confront difficult team situations in a way that is most likely to give you positive results. You will learn strategies for confronting dismissive or aggressive teammates, how to respond to teammates who produce poor quality work, and how to advocate for a particular role on a project. We will cover both what to say and what not to say in tense situations.


Making the Case for Your Research


This workshop will teach you four steps that make the case for why your research is an essential contribution to the field. These four “moves” turn your research into a compelling narrative and highlight
the importance and innovation of your work, especially when communicating to a non-specialist audience. These well-established moves can help you structure the abstract, introduction and literature review of journal articles and papers, in both the sciences and humanities. They can also be applied in various other contexts, including conference presentations, application materials, and grant proposals.

Making Beautiful Slides (That Work)

OCT 14, 5:00-6:00, IDEATE B (HUNT LIBRARY)

It is easy to look at a presentation slide and appreciate that it is professional, effective, and aesthetically pleasing. It is much harder to create that slide yourself. In this workshop run by visual designer Dr. Suguru Ishizaki, you will learn how to make expertly professional and “beautiful” slides. Dr. Ishizaki will give you implementable strategies, like alignment, consistency and information hierarchy, and help you practice visualizing difficult concepts.

Communicating Data to Non-Experts


In your professional life, you may often have to present technical data to non-expert audiences such as managers, clients, politicians, or members of the general public. This workshop teaches you principles for creating graphs and tables that non-experts can understand. You will learn to think of your data as a story that needs to capture the audience's attention, and you will be introduced to strategies for minimizing distractions to this story so audiences can quickly grasp your main point.

Designing Effective Scientific Posters


This workshop provides advice on designing effective scientific research posters. We will teach you some basic – but effective – visual design principles to create a compelling and memorable research poster. This workshop will help you create a persuasive visual "story" or narrative about your research project and findings. We will also discuss and critique several strong and weak examples of scientific posters.

Writing a Related Work Section


A related work section, or literature review, synthesizes relevant past literature to connect your work to the broader field. It also builds your credibility by showing your familiarity with major developments and trends in the field. However, it is easy for the literature review to become a “data dump” that overwhelms your reader with extraneous or irrelevant information. This workshop will give you strategies and language to connect research into trends and put studies in conversation with each other. We will look at strong and weak examples and focus on the language they use. This workshop is appropriate for students in the sciences and humanities, writing literature reviews in journal articles, research papers, dissertations/theses, and more.

Concision and Clarity


Have you ever been told that your writing is too wordy or is “choppy”? Concision and clarity are core principles of effective communication. Writing that clearly and directly emphasizes the bottom line helps readers easily and efficiently understand your main point. This workshop teaches you simple – but effective – principles for being more concise and improving the logical flow between sentences and paragraphs. These strategies will help an audience follow the progression of your ideas and arguments, in both the sciences and humanities.