DEEPenn STEM Weekend 2022

October 7-9, 2022
Group Photo 2022

The Diversity Equity Engagement at Penn in STEM weekend, or DEEPenn STEM, is a special event that focuses on providing opportunities for students of underrepresented groups in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) to learn, explore, and pursue a graduate degree in STEM.


Friday, October 7th, 2022
Session name: Keynote by Donita Brady

Keynote by Donita Brady presenting over ZoomDonita Brady, PhD is a Presidential Associate Professor of Cancer Biology and Assistant Dean for Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity in Research Training in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. Her independent laboratory at Penn is founded in a new paradigm in nutrient sensing and protein regulation, termed metalloallostery, where redox-active metals control kinase activity, and is advancing our knowledge in basic science and disease-focused areas. Their focus lies at the intersection of kinase signaling and copper (Cu) homeostasis with the goal of defining the mechanistic features of Cu-dependent kinases to target them in cancer via drug repurposing or development. Dr. Brady is committed to valuing, engaging, and embracing the diversity of identity within the Penn Medicine research community and ensuring access to opportunities to individuals from marginalized identities to grow, contribute, and develop within it.


Saturday, October 8th, 2022
Session name: Overview of the PhD Application Process

Intro to DEEPennSTEM presentationWhat is a “PhD” and how do you apply to Penn graduate programs? In this session, students receive a brief overview of Penn, as well as an introduction to STEM graduate programs within the three schools (SAS, SEAS, PSOM). Students will then delve deeper into an the application process timeline and learn more about the specifics of preparing a strong application for graduate school (i.e. Letters, statements, TOEFL, GRE, etc.). Additional topics of discussion include:

  • How to navigate your interests and choose a school
  • Funding opportunities
  • Fee waivers
  • Umbrella programs


Session name: Personal and Research Statement Overview

Presentation on the application processPersonal statements are different from research statements, but both are common and crucial parts of most applications for graduate school. In this session, students learn how to articulate their goals and achievements and paint a holistic picture of why they are a great fit for their chosen graduate program. Additional topics of discussion include:

  • The “do’s” and “don’ts” when writing personal and research essays
  • Strengths and strategies of authentic storytelling
  • Common/typical outline and sections to suggested to include in the essays


Session name: Requesting Letters of Recommendation, Interview Process & CV

Presntation on the application processLetters of recommendation are the one part of the graduate school application that a student doesn’t have to write. Often overlooked and an after-thought, the letter of recommendation is still just as important as all the other components of the application. Students are introduced to the general “do’s” and “don’ts” when requesting letters of recommendation. Students also learn about formatting their CVs and graduate school interviews. Additional topics include:

  • Brief overview and purpose of letters of recommendation
  • Advice and tips on how to ask for letters of recommendation
  • Overview of a graduate school interview and how it fits in the graduate school timeline
  • Purpose of a CV and how to format a detailed yet organized summary of all your experiences and education


Session name: Faculty Chat Session & Lunch

Faculty lunch discussionsIn an informal networking session (“chat session”), students discuss their interests with Penn faculty, current graduate students, and postdoctoral scholars. Assigned “talking circles” based on discipline and interests provide an opportunity for students to establish authentic connections and relationships with the Penn community. Topics include:

  • Interdisciplinarity science within field of study and/or interest
  • Career pathways and exploration opportunities
  • Graduate school at Penn
  • Life in Philadelphia


Session name: Faculty Research Talks

Faculty Research Talk by Ottman TertulianoIn this session, participants have the opportunity to select and attend short scientific talks presented by Penn faculty as a chance to explore some of the cutting-edge research that can be found within SEAS, SAS, and PSOM. Topics include:

  • Faculty research focus and journey overview
  • Interdisciplinary science within field of study and/or interest


Session name: How to Navigate the PhD life and Build a Support Network

Graduate Student PanelA day in the life of a PhD student! This session provides students with an opportunity to learn more about the daily life of a graduate student, introducing and emphasizing the importance of creating a healthy work-life balance while in school. Additional topics of discussion include:

  • Brief introduction into what is expected of a grad student
  • Addressing finances, mental health, and community-based support for building a comfortable lifestyle as a PhD student
  • Additional sources of support for graduate students at Penn
  • Time management strategies
  • The “hidden curriculum” of graduate school
  • Common options for funding graduate school


Session name: Poster Session, Career & Resource Fair

Poster Session, Career & Resource FairAt this tabling event and reception, students explore and interact with various campus groups and organizations. Students also have the opportunity to learn about different scientific research topics at Penn and how to get involved through a number of Penn research programs. Additionally, students:

  • Network with current Penn graduate student, postdoctoral fellows, staff, and faculty
  • Learn about common career paths in their field
  • Identify potential areas of interest
  • Learn about science and interdisciplinarity research at Penn
  • Learn about resources and support services available at Penn for students
  • Discover opportunities to further prepare for applying to graduate school, such as summer REUs and post-baccalaureate programs


Sunday, October 9th, 2022
Session name: Breakfast with Penn graduate students

Ashley Wallace presenting at closing breakfastDuring this informal session, students are presented an opportunity to eat, share experiences, network, and build community with each other and future peers. This is an especially important moment and provides students with an opportunity to ask any lingering questions.


Session name: Graduate Student 1:1 & Lab Tour

Graduate Student 1:1Having a mentor has been identified as one of the key steps to success. In this session, each participant is matched with a graduate student based on research interests. This meeting is a chance for participants to ask questions, receive feedback (ex: CV, personal and/or research statements), exchange information, tour research labs, etc. Students are encouraged to explore opportunities to grow relationships with the graduate student beyond the event.