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Arjun Banergee 2019

Professional Development Awards (PDA)

March 12, 2020. The Professional Development Awards will no longer accept application for this academic year. New GSS Professional Development Awards will not be issued, but we will honor awards already made as long as they conform to university travel guidelines and restrictions. If you are having difficulty getting answers related to UT travel, contact Sharon Foy at

Please visit the official UT corona virus website for current, up-to-date information regarding travel restrictions. 

This webpage will remain online as an archive of the 2019-2020 Professional Development Award. 


The Graduate School, in conjunction with the Graduate Student Senate (GSS), is continuing a popular program to support students who need financial support for professional development opportunities. An ad hoc committee, the GSS Professional Development Awards Committee, will work with the GSS President and Dean of the Graduate School to select awardees.

To learn more about these awards, please review this 2019-2020 Informational Document or view the FAQ page.

Starting on January 15, the Professional Development Travel Awards is dropping “Travel” from its name! If you have workshops that do not necessarily require travel – e.g. online workshops pertaining to industry skills – that is now within the purview of this award. The committee email and link to this webpage will stay the same until the next school year.


Ready to Apply?

Click [here] to access the application. You must be logged into your UT Volmail to start the application process. Please read the sections below to ensure that you have all of your materials ready for the application.

NOTE: Due to the nature of the source of the funding, all travel must be completed by May 31, 2020 in order to be considered. Special considerations may be made for travel happening in June- please ask!

Starting March 12, 2020. The Professional Development Awards will no longer accept application for this academic year as a response to COVID-19. This award is suspended until further notice. This page will be kept as-is as an archive to the 2019-2020 awards. 



Application Checklist

  • Completed signature page. [Download Signature Page]
  • Information of “workshop,” such as date, location, and sponsor.
  • Summary of the workshop indicating its positive impact on the applicant’s professional development. Indicate specific skills to be gained through the experience. (250-1000 words)
  • Demonstrated net financial need such as lodging cost, airfare, auto mileage. (No per diem expenses such as food can be covered by this award.)
  • Amount of supplementary assistance from the applicant’s department, college, advisor, grants, etc.

Download the Mock Application (Word Document) [GSS PDTA 2019-2020 Mock Application].


Application Timeline

  • Application must be submitted two (2) weeks prior to the starting travel date.
  • Applications will receive a notification on acceptance or rejection within four (4) weeks of submission.
  • Reimbursement requests should be filed within two (2) weeks of completing your travel.



Frequently asked questions are answered at the end of the informational document linked above. After reading this document, if you still have questions, please contact


Image description: Sharing the same frame with some of the most dedicated women in nuclear security at the International Safeguards Course organized by the Center for Nonproliferation Studies at Monterey Bay, California was an honor for UTK Political Science Ph.D. student and Govt. of India Customs officer, Arjun Banerjee (2018-2019 PDTA Recipient). 

From Right to Left: Oum Keltoum Hakam (Morocco), Marwa Ibrahim (Egypt), Linnet Nyamweya (Kenya), Arjun Banerjee (India), Nomsa Ndongwe (Zimbabwe), Anastasiia Nechytailo (Ukraine).