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From PhD to Life

Beyond the Professoriate’s 6th annual online career conference for PhDs

In addition to how-to workshops and panel discussions, this year’s career education conference will include a series of career spotlights from PhDs working in a variety of fields.


Maren Wood and I are excited to announce our 6th annual online career conference for PhDs! It’s happening live, May 4-11, 2019. Many thanks to Mitacs for partnering with us again. More details below, but first let me say a few things about the what and why of this fantastic event.

Five and a half years ago Maren contacted me about an idea she had: to deliver career education to graduate students and PhDs across North America via webinar technology. She and I knew each other from when we were both Master’s students at Carleton University; now, after receiving our PhDs from the University of Toronto (me) and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Maren), we discovered we were once again colleagues, each with our own small businesses helping doctoral degree holders navigate challenging career transitions.

I thought her idea was awesome, and the conference was born! Our first event was in May 2014, and we welcomed about one hundred attendees to join us for panel discussions and seminars about finding great jobs outside academia.

Last year over 600 graduate students, postdocs, and other PhDs registered for our conference. Individuals from across disciplines and over a dozen different countries attended.

This year we’re once again presenting how-to sessions delivered by career education professionals who work with graduate students and PhDs every day. That’s happening on Saturday, May 4. Then the following Saturday, May 11, we’re hosting four panel discussions, each highlighting the work doctoral degree holders do in a wide range of fields, in higher education, government, the non-profit sector, and in the business world.

We’re doing something new for our 6th annual conference: a series of career spotlights. These will cover exciting career fields including freelancing and independent consulting, biotechnology, UX (“user experience”) research, and policy. Anyone interested in learning more about jobs in these fields can add a spotlight (or two or three or four) to their registration.

Beyond the Professoriate


May 4, 2019 : Strategies for Career Success

Demystify the non-academic job search process! Learn successful job search strategies for PhDs from career education professionals.

Opening Remarks
11:00 a.m. – 11:15 p.m. EDT

Jennifer Polk, PhD, and L. Maren Wood, PhD  Beyond the Professoriate

How to Deal with the Emotional Aspects of Leaving Academia
11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. EDT

Hillary Hutchinson, MA, MEd  Transitioning Your Life

How to Network for Career Success
12:45 – 1:45 p.m. EDT

Joseph Barber, PhD  University of Pennsylvania

How to Leverage Your Graduate Education and Experience to Research Career Options
2:00 – 3:00 p.m. EDT

Stephanie Warner, PhD  University of Calgary

How to Effectively Present Your Strengths and Skills in Resumes and Cover Letters
3:15 – 4:15 p.m. EDT

Clarence Anthony, Jr., PhD  Georgia Institute of Technology

May 11, 2019 : Career Panels

Hear what it’s really like to work beyond the professoriate. Panelists live and work in cities across the United States and Canada and hold PhDs in the humanities, social sciences and STEM disciplines.

Panel: Careers in Higher Education Administration
11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. EDT

Amber Bloomfield, PhD  University of Maryland College Park
David McDonald, PhD  Duke University Graduate Career Center
Marian Toledo Candelaria, PhD  Wilfrid Laurier University Press

Panel: Careers in Non-Profits
12:15 – 1:15 p.m. EDT

Jennifer Chain, PhD  Oklahoma Blood Institute
John Marks, PhD  American Association for State and Local History
Dominique Riviere, PhD  MaRS Discovery District

Panel: Careers in Business
1:30 – 2:30 p.m. EDT

Daniel Bubb, PhD  American Water
Vincent Picciuto, PhD  Morgan Stanley
Erika Y. Spear, PhD  Hilton

Panel: Careers in Government
2:45 – 3:45 p.m. EDT

Ryan Cobb, PhD  U.S. Small Business Administration
Clau González, PhD  Candidate National Institutes of Health
Clark Richards, PhD  Bedford Institute of Oceanography

May 6 – 9, 2019 : PhD Career Spotlights (Opt-In Sessions)

Learn more about select exciting career paths for PhDs. These sessions are presented by PhDs with years of professional experience in their respective career fields.

Freelancing & Independent Consulting
May 6, 2019, 8:00 – 9:00 p.m. EDT

Katie Rose Guest Pryal, JD, PhD  Pryal Consulting, Inc.

May 7, 2019, 8:00 – 9:00 p.m. EDT

Adam Ruben, PhD  Biotechnology industry

UX Research
May 8, 2019, 8:00 – 9:00 p.m. EDT

Nichole Carelock, PhD  Ad Hoc LLC

May 9, 2019, 8:00 – 9:00 p.m. EDT

Craig Roxborough, PhD  College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario

Want to attend? Register for the conference on our website.

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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