Dr. Roshni Rao (She/Her) is the Assistant Vice Provost for Doctoral and Postdoctoral Life Design at Johns Hopkins University. She plays a pivotal role in reshaping the career trajectories of Ph.D. students and postdoctoral fellows, emphasizing supporting individuals from underrepresented and international backgrounds. Through her innovative leadership, Dr. Rao has established a life design hub to broaden access to career and personal development resources by focusing on scale, impact, and brand.

Her notable accomplishments include orchestrating a global career conference featuring eminent speakers such as Dr. Ibram X. Kendi and Trevor Noah. Additionally, she has launched the university’s first Black and LatinX conferences and the first doctoral hiring event. As a passionate proponent of diversity and inclusion, Dr. Rao launched the JHU Career Impact Awards to celebrate community engagement and founded ‘Empower Your Pitch,’ a research communication competition that has gained traction nationally.

Dr. Rao is an influential speaker, offering her expertise at prestigious institutions like the National Cancer Institute, the University of Michigan, the University of Mississippi, and the University of Illinois. Her commitment to enhancing doctoral and postdoctoral career design has been recognized with numerous awards, including JHU’s Diversity Recognition Award and the Kelly Distinguished Service Award from the National Institute on Aging.

Holding a Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences from the University of South Carolina and a Postgraduate Diploma in Science from the University of Otago, New Zealand, Dr. Rao has become a key voice in the conversation about Ph.D. life design. Her thought-provoking articles in Inside Higher Ed and the recognitions her office has received, such as the Career Excellence Award from the Career Leadership Collective and an honorable mention at NACE, underscore her impact.

Beyond her leadership, Dr. Rao is a mentor whose guidance has helped her mentees thrive in top-tier corporations and academia. Within her team, she fosters a culture of growth and empowerment, continuously advocating for progress and opportunity.

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