The Human Toxicology Program believes that preparation to be a successful toxicologist requires not only excellent professors and rigorous coursework but students also need to learn the skills and knowledge to excel in their post-graduate careers.
We start during their first year- not when they are nearing graduation. All first year students take Professional Development in Toxicology, a two semester course. Students learn how to prepare Individual Development Plans (IDPs), create resumes and cover letters, use Linkedin, and develop networking skills. They learn methods (from other graduate students in the program) that many will use in their research-including such things as ICP-MS, RNA SEQ, Metabolic Assays Methods, and Lipid Extraction Methods.
The best part of the class is that we host alumni who talk about their jobs and careers, things they wished they would have learned in school, and answer current students' questions. At the bottom of this page is a short video of Tox alumni James Jacobus. James joined us at one of these classes. He is answering a question from one of our current students about what skills are important in not only his position but also in most Toxicology positions. James is a toxicologist in the Health Risk Assessment Unit of the Minnesota Department of Health, working on drinking water contaminants of emerging concern.
In addition to this first year class, we offer professional development opportunities throughout the student's program. These include 3 minute thesis presentations, poster and oral presentation skill development at local and national conferences, grant and proposal development classes, and many others.
Human Toxicology Seminars are held every Friday morning during the school year. Presenters come from not only the University of Iowa but from around the country. Human Toxicology students arrange a luncheon with many of these speakers directly after the seminar. They get to quiz the speakers about their topics in more detail and discuss the path they took to their career. Several seminar sessions per year are devoted to professional development topics. In addition, students get to hear from soon to be graduating Human Toxicology students who give a seminar on their PhD dissertation. Current and upcoming seminars can be found on our home page under Events. Past seminars can be found here.
As you can see on our alumni page, students are very successful in finding rewarding careers.