Diana Elizabeth Burden is a rising 4th year PhD student in the department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. Diana is an NSF Graduate Research Fellow and her dissertation research investigates the relationship between material failure and defects, interfaces, and stress concentrations.
Diana is a graduate of both the PhD Plus Business in Society skill series and the PhD Plus Consulting skill series.
Q. Please summarize your experiences within the Consulting and Business in Society modules.
The Consulting and Business in Society skill series were full of engagement and collaboration with other UVA graduate students and faculty far outside of my research area. I enjoyed the expansion into a true "university" setting. I was able to utilize and apply my critical reasoning skills within less technical spaces.
Q. How did the Consulting and Business in Society modules assist in your professional development?
My PhD training and research reach far beyond a high level of knowledge and include identifying problems, organizing testing and analysis, and communicating succinct conclusions. The PhD+ courses worked on problem identification and rapid communication. The questions posed by the course instructors heightened our ability to develop and deliver meaningful answers promptly. As a result of these courses, I have expanded my professional network to include business professors whom I would have never known without taking the PhD+ courses.
Q. What is your advice or recommendations to peers on how to best leverage PhD Plus program?
PhD Plus is a beneficial tool to better prepare for the pivot out of research towards navigating the beginning stages of a career. As a STEM PhD student, there are more obvious career paths, and the PhD Plus program aids students in all areas gain the skills and knowledge to be successful in the future.