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From PhD to Life

Beyond the Professoriate conference preview


My conference is coming up fast! Beyond the Professoriate will bring together 25 PhDs from a wide variety of disciplines – engineering to ethnomusicology, genetics to German – who are working in a variety of fields. The two-day conference will be presented entirely online. All are welcome to register and attend.

On Career Day, Saturday, 2 May, my co-convenor Maren Wood and I will host four panel discussions with doctoral degree holders working in higher education, business, nonprofits, government, and elsewhere. On Professional Development Day the following Saturday, 9 May, we’ll host six special presentations aimed directly at PhD job seekers and career explorers.

As was true last year, I’m thrilled with the group we’ve assembled. Participants will hear from recent and not-so-recent PhDs, including Rebecca Schuman, education columnist for Slate who first made a splash with her “Thesis Hatement” piece; Katharine Bullard, a former professor who left academia after her tenure application was denied; Elizabeth Keenan, an adjunct professor turned New York real estate agent; networking skeptic Dominique Morneau, who embraced the process and landed a job as a science journal editor; biotech consultant Melanie Nelson, author of Navigating the Path to Industry: A Hiring Manager’s Advice for Academics Looking for a Job in Industry; Andrew Miller, now Strategic Leader for the City of Mississauga, Ontario; and many more. And that’s just the first day.

The second day of the conference focuses on what PhDs can do to make the most of their job searching time. The day begins with a workshop by Catherine Maybrey, career coach and Graduate Career Strategist at McMaster University, on reverse-engineering your search. (Read a preview of this session on the Beyond the Professoriate blog.) Later sessions cover transferable skills, resumes, interviewing, small business development, and networking. It should be a great day of learning! For the full list of speakers, session titles, and times, check out the conference program.

The conference is now in its second year; last year participants came from across Canada and the United States, and one or two joined us from the UK. Maren and I are excited to do it again and hope many of you will join us! For more information, please see the conference website or get in touch with me directly. Registration closes 29 April at 5pm EDT.


Jennifer Polk
Jennifer Polk is a career coach and entrepreneur. She earned her PhD in history from the University of Toronto in 2012. For more information and resources, check out her website:
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