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Rita B. Leahy Career Series

Rita B Leahy Lectures logo

The Rita B. Leahy Doctoral Career Series for doctoral students brings current students, postdocs, and Maryland alumni together to meet and explore career opportunities. Each session of the series focuses on one broad career area and features alumni from different disciplines doing meaningful work related to that area. The 2020-2021 series features eight sessions focused on careers in: research, data science, biotechnology, federal agencies, policy and advocacy, entrepreneurial ventures, communications, and public health.

Recordings of all past sessions are available on YouTube:

2020-2021 Series - Dates, Topics and Links to Speaker Bios for Each Session

Specific dates and times, registration links, and the names of the alumni speakers for each session are listed in the table below.  

Day of Week Date Time Topic

Link to Page with Speaker Bios (upcoming sessions) and recordings (past sessions)

Wednesday 9/30/2020 3-4 pm Federal Careers


Panelists: Ashley Ruth (Materials Science Engineering '15), Scott Albrecht (Sociology '10), Heather Platter (Public Health '2018)

Tuesday 10/20/2020 3-4 pm Data Science Careers


Panelists: Rachel Adler (Neuroscience & Cognitive Science, 2018), Ranchu Mathew (Physics, 2017), Yuandon Qi (Agriculture and Resource Economics, 2018)


11/19/2020 3-4 pm Research Carers Outside of Academia


Panelists: Aaron Mannes (Public Policy Analysis, 2014), Theresa Kim (Public Health, Statistics, 2017), Crystal Upperman (Marine Estuarine Environmental Sciences, 2016)

Friday 1/22/2021 11:30 am-12:30 pm

Careers in Biotechnology

(Part of the January Graduate Success Symposium)

Registration Link:

This session is part of the Graduate School's January 2021 Symposium.

Panelists: Sarah Ellinwood (Cellular and Molecular Biology, 2017), Chris Frew (CEO Workforce Genetics), 3rd panelist TBD

Tuesday 2/9/2021 3-4 pm Policy and Advocacy Careers More info coming soon.
Wednesday 3/3/2021 3-4 pm Writing and Communication Careers More info coming soon.
Tuesday 4/6/2021 3-4 pm Entrepreneurial Ventures & Start-Ups More info coming soon.
Thursday 6/10/2021 3-4 pm

Careers in Public Health

More info coming soon.

 About Dr. Rita B. Leahy

Photograph of Rita B. LeahyRita Leahy received her PhD in Civil Engineering from the University of Maryland in 1989. She is very grateful for her education at Maryland because it put her in touch with organizations and people who had a big impact on her life and career. Dr. Leahy feels it is very important for Ph.D. students to understand the different career options that are available to them and to build a professional network. In 2018, Dr. Leahy created a fund in the Graduate School to support the professional development of doctoral students and the creation of an annual speaker series featuring UMD alumni working in exciting and meaningful careers outside of the academy. 

Dr. Leahy’s own career path is a testimony to the power of networking - developing and maintaining connections with individuals.  These connections along with an unstoppable spirit of openness took her career in directions she never could have predicted. She believes that success in life is “finding something that you love to do and finding someone willing to pay you to do it.”  According to Dr. Leahy, success is where preparation and opportunity meet.