Your G.I. Jane/G.I. Joe Moment! Tips to Land a Fellowship at the Broad Institute of Harvard & MIT (By Dr. LaTese Briggs)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe following information was shared by Dr. LaTese Briggs (PROMISE Alum, UMBC Chemistry & Biochemistry, Current Program Analyst at Faster Cures.) Dr. Briggs captivated the audience of the 2013 PROMISE SSI on Saturday, August 17, with her call to the audience to have their G.I. Jane/G.I. Joe moments. She called for people to be academically, mentally, and emotionally prepared to step into their moments. Dr. Briggs finished her undergraduate degree at Hood College, her PhD at UMBC, and her Postdoc at the Broad Institute, a collaborative between Harvard and MIT. Dr. Briggs said that she is now in her dream job at an “ACTION” tank.  During the 2013 PROMISE SSI, Dr. Briggs participated in the During her time at UMBC, Dr. Briggs was a Meyerhoff Biomedical Fellow, A Gates Fellow, and a Peer Mentor for PROMISE: Maryland’s AGEP. Dr. Briggs voluntarily provided the information below, after receiving inquires following her segment for the 2013 SSI Alumni PROMISE Talks. We thank her for being so giving of her time and expertise. 

  • SSI 2013, August 17. 9:00 AM: The PROMISE Talks: PROMISE Alumni Discuss Their Research on Healthcare

SSI 2013 PROMISE Talks Photo Banner 9AM FINAL_50


From Dr. Briggs:

Thank you again for inviting me to participate in the 10th anniversary of SSI. It is always an honor to be invited to speak at SSI, but it was truly special to participate in such a milestone event.

I have a had  few students reach out to me to inquire about the Broad Institute and I thought that it might be helpful to share my response to them with the larger PROMISE audience. I have pasted some tips and useful links on the subject below.

Broad page2

1.      Well before you are ready to apply (<1 year prior if possible), please be sure to study the website thoroughly to really get a sense of what is happening at the Broad. Start NOW, well before you are ready to move on to your postdoc. Do this by:

a.      Familiarizing yourself with the website

b.      Review the online  Brochures and Annual reports

c.      Review the Program areas at the Broad

2.      Identify  Faculty at the Broad whose research align with your interests and skill sets. When you select these 2-3 people, make certain that you are very familiar with the work (read their papers, understand the larger initiatives that they might be a part of i.e. chemical biology platform, RNAi platform, etc).

a.      Also try to figure out which conferences these faculty members frequent and get yourself there to meet him/her, and of course when you do, position yourself so that you can strike up a conversation. It can be as simple as “I read about your research in X, and I found Y to be very interesting, can you tell me more about this?”

3.      Develop a research proposal that outlines a project that you would like to pursue in that lab and really make sure that it is comprehensive, well thought out, and is both in alignment  and can enrich the work that is already going on in that lab (Note: this is good to do for any postdoc position that you consider, I guarantee you that it will put you a few steps ahead of most candidates).

4.      Read about the Diversity Initiative which houses the Diversity Postdoctoral fellowship program. Be sure to read this page carefully before submitting the required documents to

5.      Keep in mind that you can also reach out to a faculty member directly if you prefer, or if there are no remaining diversity fellowship slots available.

Here are some other links that will help you familiarize with the organization:

Broad Mindset/Approach

Broad Blog

Broad video library

BE THOROUGH! The key to accessing a training opportunity at the Broad is congruency. You need to be both a scientific and cultural fit – meaning that you are motivated and enthusiastic about being creative and highly collaborative.  This is truly a unique organization, so take your time with learning what the Broad is about and really put your best foot forward in the application. The website is dense and there is a lot of “hidden” information, so go through it more than once. If you are selected for an interview, be prepared to give a talk and to  meet at least 10 people during your interview. The process is intense and competitive, but keep in mind that if you believe that you are exceptional, then you are exceptional, and it will reflect as such at all times. Don’t sell yourself short; however, be prepared to perform exceptionally when they tell you YES, you can join us as a Broadie!

LaTese L. Briggs, Ph.D.

FasterCures |A Center of the Milken Institute

Program Analyst


We thank Dr. Briggs for sharing this information!

Published by Renetta Garrison Tull

Dr. Renetta Garrison Tull is the Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) at the University of California Davis. She previously served as Associate Vice Provost for Strategic Initiatives at The Graduate School at UMBC, and was Professor of the Practice in the College of Engineering & IT. She was Special Assistant to the Sr. Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs & Director of Graduate and Professional Pipeline Development for the University System of Maryland (12 institutions). She is the Founding Director of PROMISE: Maryland’s Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP) –, and Co-PI for the USM LSAMP. Her research on global diversity in STEM continues, and she is an international speaker, covering nearly all continents, for groups and conferences such as the World Engineering Education Forum, the International Federation of Engineering Education Societies, and the Pacific Sciences Congress. Her personal website is: Connect with her on Twitter: @Renetta_Tull;

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