Center for Power Optimization of Electro-thermal Systems

Future Technical Leaders Program



The POETS Future Technical Leaders Program is a new professional development opportunity designed specifically for POETS PhD students in their final years of their graduate program. Fellows who complete the program will be able to take a holistic approach to solving today’s most pressing tech challenges in industry. They will have strong technical skills as well as the soft skills to be ideal candidates for tech companies’ top leadership positions.

Classes will be held on Mondays for 8-10 weeks every fall and spring semester. Webinars will be taught by experts in the field and provide students with a basic understanding of strategy, finance, risk and uncertainty, as well as help students understand their unique leadership skills. At the end of the program, a select few will be able to engage in a job shadowing experience at one of POETS IAB member companies.

Why Apply?

Doctoral students in science and engineering are seldom provided training to prepare them to:

  • Self evaluate their personal leadership style and weaknesses
  • Manage and lead teams and budgets
  • Communicate with business-oriented colleagues
  • Transition from scientific to commercialized research

This year long program equips promising students with the necessary leadership and business skills to be prominent leaders in their field. 

Program Features

  • Seminar Course. This program seeks to distill the most critical information needed to help our fellows stand out to company recruiters and be stellar candidates for C-suite tracked positions. Modules will cover the following topics: self-assessment and management, business economics & strategy, influence and agents of change, team development, operations management, innovation management, business communications, and risk assessment
    • Semester I: September 14th - Dec 3th , 2021
    • Semester II: Jan 11th – April 22th, 2022
  • Personal Portfolio. The Personal Portfolio will support students in their personal and professional development. It will contain several completed worksheets and assessments including the results of the Clifton StrengthsFinder assessment, a peer leadership assessment, and a 5-year individual development plan. The portfolio will be the final deliverable of the program and support students in continuing to improve their leadership skills.
  • Perfect Pitch. Fellows will compete to represent POETS at the NSF ERC Biennial Perfect Pitch Competition 
  • Job Shadowing.  A select few travel to one of the program sponsor’s facilities for an onsite job shadowing experience.


  • Graduate students or postdoctoral researchers, with a strong preference for PhD students in their last year or two of graduate work
  • Applicant has worked on a POETS project within the last two years
  • Strong interest in pursuing leadership position at technology focused companies
  • Demonstrated leadership potential
  • Students from underrepresented minorities groups, women, persons with disabilities and veterans are strongly encouraged to apply

Application Process

Applications will be accepted beginning July 7th with an application deadline of July 30th.

The FTL Fellows are chosen through a selective admission process that includes an application and faculty recommendation. Successful applicants must demonstrate knowledge of and commitment to the FTL program, an ability to work effectively in teams, and excellent interpersonal skills.

If you are interested, please submit your application here. If you have never used the POETS application system before you will need to click “Create new account.”

The application materials consist of:

  • A 500-1000 word Personal Statement: Please describe your career goals and how the FTL program will help you to achieve these goals
  • List of previous leadership experiences
  • At least one professional reference
  • Confirmation of research advisors' support for your participation
  • Optional supplementary materials upload (anything you feel the review committee should review)