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Graduate Voice and Influence Program Fellowships

gVIP leaders, Megan Tobias Neely and Aliya Rao


We believe that early training of our graduate students will enhance the long-term success of their careers in academia. The graduate Voice and Influence (gVIP) program aims to empower the voices of women graduate students so that they have more influence at Stanford, within their disciplines, and at their future institutions. Sponsored by the Vice Provost for Graduate Education, gVIP participants are represented from all seven schools on the Stanford campus.

Program Rationale

While women graduate students are achieving increasing levels of academic accomplishment at Stanford, they make up only 39% of doctoral students on campus.  The representation of women as tenure-track and tenured faculty remains lower at Stanford and nationally. At Stanford, for example, women comprise 20.5% of tenured faculty and 26% of tenure-track faculty.  Stanford women graduate students represent the top talent pool for academia. By enhancing the leadership talents of Stanford women graduate students, the gVIP better positions our women scholars to realize academic leadership roles after Stanford.

The Program

Founded in 2015, the graduate Voice and Influence Program uses innovative programming to provide participants with research-based gender knowledge that translates into tools to succeed in the academy.  The gVIP brings together advanced women graduate students, representing all seven schools, to create a strong, interdisciplinary community of scholars.  The year-long program helps women graduate students establish and claim their academic expertise, develop a more expansive view of their scholarship, and gain new skills to move into leadership roles during their academic careers. 

The graduate Voice and Influence Program combines social science research on social influence with highly effective experiential learning techniques to prepare women graduate students for faculty careers as leaders. The Program enables future women faculty to successfully navigate their new academic departments, disciplines, and universities as junior scholars. This program places Stanford as a trailblazer in promoting the success of women faculty. This innovative program provides leadership skills at an earlier stage in the academic career, thus positioning more Stanford women graduates to become faculty members with the skills to pursue leadership roles in academia.

The program itself is designed to impart the skills of influence to students. Over the course of an academic year, gVIP participants attend a variety of sessions and workshops with this goal in mind: They begin the year taking a workshop on how to act with power, both through verbal and non-verbals actions. They then learn about team dynamics and negotiation, before attending a session with faculty across campus about what it means to transition from student to faculty. Later in the year, a two-day workshop on "designing your career" offers students practical tools for uncovering and redefining new and powerful contexts from which to run their professional and personal lives.


Students are nominated by faculty and alumnae of the gVIP program. For more information, contact Wendy Skidmore, Fellowship Manager.