April’s Away program connects graduate students, postdocs with Nashville resources

Vanderbilt graduate students and postdoctoral scholars met with leaders at four high-profile Nashville destinations through April’s Away, a Career Center program to connect them with local employers and alumni with advanced degrees and insights into the worlds of academia, arts and business.

The program kicked off the month at the new offices of the Nashville Chamber of Commerce, where Kadi Jones, vice president of economic development, talked about why people and companies choose Nashville and outlined the cultural and economic drivers contributing to the region’s growth and prospects.

Then scholars toured the Adventure Science Center with Leah M. Melber, president and CEO, who showcased the science museum’s ever-evolving attention to engaging visitors of all ages in science education. The visiting scholars also sat down with Melber, Morgan Rehnberg, vice president of exhibits and experiences, and Executive Coordinator Lisa Gannon for a discussion about graduate school, Ph.D. careers and museum education.

Philips Healthcare’s Learning Services Delivery Specialist Maya Gulland hosted a group for a tour of their offices and conversations with team members and leadership across departments about their own career experiences. The team focused on the company’s mission to “improve people’s health and well-being through meaningful innovation” and how the moving parts of such a large organization work together.

April’s Away concluded with a visit to the Frist Art Museum, where Senior Curator Katie Delmez, BA’95, Director of Education and Community Engagement Anne Henderson and Educator for Teacher and School Programs Ellen O’Brien shared the museum’s history, ongoing initiatives and vision to “inspire people through art to look at their world in new ways.” Museum CEO Seth Feman then answered questions about the museum’s exhibits, community engagement strategy and archival practices.

The graduate students and postdocs were diverse groups from across programs, from lab sciences and engineering to humanities, social sciences and education. They brought their varied career and scholarly research interests and questions to inform lively conversations.

The Career Center hopes April’s Away is just the first set of interactions that groups of Vanderbilt scholars with advanced degrees will have with area institutions and companies.