Susanna Wu-Pong, Ph.D.
P.O. Box 980581
Richmond, Virginia 23298-0581
Phone: (804) 828-4328

VCU BEST seeks to transform the culture of biomedical scientist training at VCU by developing AEGDS, a training platform that broadens student awareness of potential careers, provides opportunities to experience career paths, provides guidance for career paths(s) selection, allows students to develop the skill sets necessary to be successful and encourages students to share their experiences, thereby broadening exposure of others in the community.


  1. Create an innovative student/postdoctoral professional and personal development program that puts student on an optimized, individualized career path that incorporates their strengths and personal goals.
  2. Build a sustainable program that builds on existing/volunteer faculty and resources and unique training opportunities already in place at VCU. Each participating unit will be counseled in mechanisms to sustain and continue the program after the funding period in collaboration with a campus steering committee.
  3. Develop mechanisms to engage the entire VCU community, as well as alumni, and community partners — alumni engagement/participation, providing and encouraging interdisciplinary participation throughout schools/programs and with partner organizations, seminars for campus community.
  4. Empower students to engage and take responsibility for their future, improve self-knowledge and self-management, and to mentor others to do the same.
  5. Perform ongoing evaluation to optimize the program and ensure that it continues to meet the needs of trainees and mentors.


Required courses
Select two from:
GRAD   611Professional and Personal Development2
GRAD   615Biomedical Science Careers Seminar Series1
GRAD   617Biomedical Sciences Projects in the Community2
Career or skills electives
Select three credit hours from:
GRAD   610Career and Professional Development Planning for Graduate Students1
GRAD   612Oral Presentation Skill-building for Career Professionals1
GRAD   614Introduction to Grant Writing1
GRAD   616Becoming an Entrepreneur1

In addition, each student seeking the certificate of achievement will participate in vocational counseling and a monthly meeting with their mentor or peer group.