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Professional Development

A key aspect of the MIRS program is the emphasis on peer learning and the cohort experience. The program offers a variety of community-building and professional development activities specific to the needs and interests of MIRS students.

Career Track Working Groups

  • MIRS students have the opportunity to participate in academic and professional working groups. These two groups meet monthly to discuss topics of interest and plan professional development events specific to those pursuing careers in either academia or professional fields.
  • The academic working group collaborates on PhD application workshops, write-togethers, and panel discussions on topics from choosing a discipline to public scholarship. The professional working group focuses on organizing events and workshops around opportunities for networking, internship and job applications, and leveraging social media professionally, among others.

Professional Development and Networking Opportunities

  • Past professional development events have included a workshop on incorporating diversity, equity, and inclusion skills into academic reading, led by Professor Samer Ali, director of the Center for Middle Eastern and North African Studies and the Global Islamic Studies Center.
  • MIRS students have been invited to participate in academic conferences at the International Institute, including as panel discussants at the Conference on Migration (February 2020), and as presenters at the U-M/University of Puerto Rico Symposium (March 2020).
  • MIRS students helped organize the International Institute's Globally Engaged Career Panel in April 2020. The event featured alumni of U-M’s area studies programs speaking about their career paths, and was one of the first fully online events organized at the International Institute following the U-M campus shutdown due to COVID-19.
  • MIRS students are active participants in prospective student recruitment visits, including as presenters of "lightning talks" on their research and experiential learning activities.

Social Events

  • MIRS students get to know each other outside of classes through monthly events, including happy hours, lunches, and study breaks.
  • During the 2020-21 academic year when in-person gathering has been difficult, MIRS students have been connecting through social media, weekly virtual meetups, and socially-distant gatherings outdoors.

In addition to MIRS-specific programming, students are encouraged to take advantage of the ample opportunities for professional development and community building offered to graduate students across the International Institute and the University of Michigan. Each of the II centers offer a robust schedule of events including lectures by expert guest speakers, panel events, film screenings, and arts and culture events. Rackham Graduate School holds several events each week including professional and skill development workshops, social events, student organization meetings, and interdisciplinary academic workgroups.