Trainee Leadership Opportunities

Trainees sometimes assume that starting a new organization on campus is the only way to make real connections and demonstrate leadership experience on a CV/resume. And, they also see it as easier than “cold email” connecting. However, many employers bemoan the fact that some of these initiatives look more like “padding” on a resume and, if the initiatives are short-term, they do not necessarily represent successful leadership. In fact, contributing to an already existing group provides a true team experience, established connections, and a community of peers.

Should you decide to create your own program/event or trainee organization, consider the following:

  • Is this a completely new idea, or is there an opportunity for collaboration with already existing offerings?
  • If nothing similar exists, are you sure there is a need among a majority of your peers for what you are offering? What have you done to thoroughly assess this need?
  • What is your mission and/or what are your objectives? What assessment have you completed to determine the route you suggest is the best one?
  • How much time exists for you to develop this idea? Do you have the time to see this through to fruition and, in the case of a new group, sustain it long term?
  • Have you discussed this time constraint with your PI? What other support will you need–money, content knowledge, connections, administrative support, etc.?
  • Have you reviewed the Student Activities and Leadership (SAL) policies to ensure your idea is in line with University expectations and recommendations?


BioSci Careers supports the academic, professional and career development of all Stanford Biosciences trainees and, because our office came into existence from trainee advocacy, we recognize that part of this mission is empowering trainees to try out their own leadership styles and innovative ideas for connections. Many opportunities for this exist:
  • Take one of BioSci Careers’ Preparation and Practice or CEO courses, which provide you with sector-specific skills and alumni/employer connections.
  • Complete an internship to learn more about your skills, interests, and values and to try these out within your career of choice.
  • Collaborate with BioSci Careers to suggest, develop, and/or produce a new or existing program or event.
  • Hold informational interviews with alumni and/or employers; keep in touch with them via social media outlets afterward.
  • Attend professional, career development, and networking programs or events held by various departments across campus.
  • Join and contribute to one of the Biosciences and Stanford organizations on campus.