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Faculty Career Development Series

Career Development Series

The ITHS Career Development Series consist of monthly lectures and workshops designed to provide junior faculty and investigators with tools, a forum for discussion, and learning opportunities to help advance their careers.


Topics are selected based on an annual needs assessment.

Example topics include:

  • How to Write an NIH K Award
  • Making the Most of your Mentor Relationship
  • Mastering Public Speaking as a Researcher
  • Communicating your Findings Visually
  • What really happens in an NIH Study Review

Where can I find a CDS event?

ITHS partners with several UW campus and WWAMI regional partners to ensure we reach and engage the translational workforce with each series. CDS events occur across the main UW campus, in the UW Medicine South Lake Union building, and are often captured on video and edited for online distribution to our regional partners. Many of our offerings are also broadcast live as webinars to allow for flexible viewing opportunities. Check out the calendar for specific upcoming event topics and locations.

Click here to watch past seminar recordings.

Upcoming and Past Events

Successful Meeting Management: Setting the Foundation @ Online Event
Dec 1 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm


Meetings are necessary for every team to check project progress, discuss new directions and to share key information, but poorly run meetings can be a hindrance to achieving your goals. In this 3rd session of the Team Science Seminar Series, we will help you determine if a meeting is the best use of your team’s time and give you easy-to-apply tools and techniques to set your meetings up for success. We will also share a quick easy-to-use evaluation method to continually improve the value of your meeting.

Learning Objectives

At the end of this session, attendees will be able to:

  1. Identify when to have a meeting
  2. Create meeting agreements
  3. Apply meeting roles and agendas
  4. Use 3 methods of meeting evaluation

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About the Speaker

Jennifer Sprecher is Director of Strategy Development and Deployment with the School of Nursing.  Ms. Sprecher works with organizations to achieve excellence through Strategy development, Lean Project Management*, balanced scorecards, change management, benchmarking, team problem solving, team and leadership coaching and facilitation.

Ms. Sprecher is a strong team facilitator, called upon to facilitate high-level teams where interaction to reach objectives is critical. Her facilitation ranges from groups of 6-200+ individuals working in person and virtually, from central to internationally diverse team locations.  She has worked extensively in the team science arena providing both research, workshop development and delivery, and facilitation to health science research teams.

Ms. Sprecher has a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering, a Master’s of Science in Management Systems, is a certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt and an International Coaching Federation ACC certified Leadership Coach.

Before the UW School of Nursing, Ms. Sprecher focused exclusively on health research in the Institute of Translational Science, also within the University of Washington. Prior to the UW, Ms. Sprecher spent 7 years as Executive Director of the Washington State Quality Award (WSQA), a Baldrige-based non-profit organization. With a background in Industrial Engineering, Ms. Sprecher has been working with process improvement for over 25 years using continuous process improvement methods including Lean, Lean-Sigma, Plan Do Check Act and 6S (5S workplace organization combined with Safety) and Total Quality Management. Her coaching is focused on working with leaders and up and coming leaders within the technical and scientific community.

*Lean Project Management is a methodology developed by UW-based divisions of: ITHS, Organizational Excellence, Facilities and Finance and UWIT that combines project management, agile and Lean to gain project success in terms of on scope, on budget and timely project completion.   This methodology is built on principles of teamwork, customer engagement, continuous improvement and data driven decisions.


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Biosketch 101: Getting (Grant Reviewers) to Know You @ Online Event
Dec 7 @ 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm


The biographical sketch (or “biosketch”) is where you get to show grant reviewers what you—as PI or other key personnel—will bring to a proposed project. In this session, we will discuss how to make your experience and expertise shine through in the Personal Statement and Contributions to Science sections of the biosketch. We will also review the NIH biosketch format so that you can make sure yours complies with the latest NIH policy. After the presentation, attendees will have an opportunity to get feedback on narrative portions of their biosketch from the speakers during a virtual office hours session.

Learning Objectives

At the end of the session, attendees will be able to:

  • Understand the different biosketch formats and when to use them.
  • Learn tactics for demonstrating relevant experience in the Personal Statement.
  • Understand how to structure Contributions to Science section to highlight accomplishments and impact of research activities.


To make the most of this session, have a copy of your current biosketch handy. After the presentation there will be a virtual office hours session for attendees to get feedback from the presenters on the narrative portions of their biosketch.

Pre-Read: NIH Biosketch Instructions (Due dates on/after Jan 25, 2022)

Schedule of Activities

  • 12:00-12:05pm – Welcome/Introduction
  • 12:05-1:00pm – Presentation and Discussion
  • 1:00-1:29pm – Virtual Office Hours
  • 1:29-1:30pm – Thank You and Feedback Survey

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About the Speakers

Melissa Vaught, PhD, is the Director of Research Development for ITHS, facilitating proposal development for strategic initiatives across ITHS. She also provides personalized guidance to ITHS resources for investigators, fellows, and students conducting clinical and translational research. Dr. Vaught earned her PhD in Chemistry at Vanderbilt University and continued research at the interface of biology and chemistry as a postdoctoral fellow in Boston, MA. As a contractor at the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) for almost four years, she managed daily operations of post-publication projects. She joined ITHS in 2018 as the Research Navigator and has served as Director of Research Development since December 2019.

Alysia vandenBerg, PhD, is the Grants Development Manager for ITHS. Dr. vandenBerg has a PhD in Cellular and Molecular biology from the University of Vermont. Her postdoctoral studies took her from New York to Paris, France, where she studied cellular signaling processes involved in cancers of the female reproductive tract. Before joining ITHS in 2020, she worked at Fred Hutch as program manager for a range of efforts that spurred research in strategic areas. She has a dozen years’ experience in grant development, program management, and scientific communications on two continents.


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