Hamline News

HIPAL Builds Professional Skills Within Sciences

After years of research and development, a unique program is available to help students studying in the sciences prepare for life after college. The Hamline Initiative for Professional and Academic Liaisons (HIPAL) is a four-year program that helps a cohort of students develop professional skills together through seminars and networking events. HIPAL aims for members to be accepted to graduate school or professional positions before they graduate.

The program is a great opportunity for first-year students interested in majoring in natural sciences. Upon acceptance to the program, students join a cohort that meets every other week for seminars. Some seminar topics include cover letters, LinkedIn, resumes, strengths finder, professional portfolios, and research internships. Beyond the seminars, HIPAL organizes mixers and networking events that allow students to meet with professionals in the field. Students receive personalized professional development with encouragement to take advantage of opportunities like study abroad, internship, and unique curriculum offerings.

“HIPAL hosts a lot of networking events, and that’s helped me hone my professional development skills,” said Marten Thompson, a senior majoring in physics and mathematics. “Part of that was getting an internship out in California with a startup software company.”

The program began when Hamline received a grant to connect academics with the professional world. As a part of the grant, Hamline faculty interviewed 25 professionals and published a list of valued characteristics of recent graduates in the workplace. Professor Olaf Runquist envisioned a 4-year professional development program for science students as a result of the grant research. He recruited Professor Deanna O’Donnell to serve as director of this developing program, which he called Hamline Initiative for Professional and Academic Liaisons. The pilot program began in 2013 when 18 students were taken through the 4-year program. Now applications are open for the next generation of HIPAL students.

“For me, the opportunity to learn how to do cover letters, personal statement, join LinkedIn, and do our mixers—which is a network event—were things I hadn’t previously considered as a freshman in college, but I still needed to be thinking about,” said Meghan McCaskey, a senior majoring in biochemistry. “It exposed me to everything I needed to be prepared later on.”

If you’re a committed, hard-working first-year student who is intending to major in the natural sciences, you can find application materials on the HIPAL website. Applications are accepted until March 18, 2016 by 5 p.m.