Rowena Woode, DVM, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow in the MU College of Veterinary Medicine Department of Biomedical Sciences and a 2016 graduate of the CVM, recently participated in the Southeastern Conference Emerging Scholars Career Preparation Workshop in Columbia. Mizzou hosted students from each of the 14 universities in the SEC for a three-day career preparation workshop, providing professional development courses and networking opportunities with faculty and other students who are considering higher education as a career path. The yearlong SEC Emerging Scholars Program was developed in 2021, but the in-person workshop was the first of its kind due to COVID-19 precautions.
Woode, who was the first recipient of the Elmer and Virginia Florman Scholarship that fully funds the education of one CVM student every four years, recently completed all the requirements for her PhD and will graduate in December. She was one of five scholars from Mizzou to participate in the SEC Emerging Scholars Program because of her interest in a potential career as a university faculty member. Though she still has decisions to make about her future career path, she says the program provided her with valuable insight. “It’s been an opportunity for me to reflect on how I see my career developing going forward,” said Woode.
The pathway to becoming a university faculty member is not always straightforward. Woode says that fact stood out to her as she participated in the SEC Emerging Scholars Program. “The workshop was a good networking opportunity to talk with different faculty at these universities and learn how winding one’s journey can be to get from point A to point B,” she said. “It’s been great to get encouragement from that angle and to know what life as a faculty member is like, because I have this idea in my head, but when I asked questions, I realized it’s different from what I thought.”
While Woode’s goal is to pursue a position as a faculty member, she is still considering where and what kind of role she will pursue. One aim of the program is to help in that decision-making process. “It’s given me the tools and an opportunity to have time to make the best possible decision,” she said. “I’ve been given a chance to reflect on what I want to do and where I see my career going. As I’m getting more information about what life would be like at different types of universities, as well as the workshops, seminars and network building, it’s been invaluable for me.”
By Nick Childress