Expert challenges students to create professional plan


Siddhartha Dhakal

Olivia Barfield

Siddhartha Dhakal plans to apply for graduate school soon, and he knows he’s got a lot of work to do.

Dhakal, a junior biology major, attended ULM Culture Connection lecture “Taking Ownership of Professional Development in Graduate School,” last Thursday to
help himself prepare.

Shyam Sharma, assistant professor of English at Stony Brook University in New York, visited campus to give the lecture aimed at preparing students to plan out their professional career.

Sharma has studied how international students transition and succeed in U.S. institutions. While in graduate school at the University of Louisville, KY, Sharma developed a “PLAN” for all students who wish to develop professionally.

Sharma’s PLAN was presented at his lecture Thursday. In it he highlights how students should aim to grow in more ways than just academically in order to achieve their goals.

Sharma said students should focus on growth in 4 different categories: professional development, life skills, academic development and networking.

Sharma gave several other pieces of advice to students who attended his lecture. He instructed students to plan backwards, to write their plans down and to be “searchable” on the internet.

Dhakal found the lecture to be very helpful.

“I liked the way he emphasized backward thinking as a necessary component for professional development,” Dhakal said.

Sharma was invited by Kris Bista, assistant professor of Education, to come speak at ULM.