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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 2021-22 series features six 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.

Day Date Time Topic Speakers
Thursday 9/23/2021 4-6 pm

Consulting Demystified


Han (XiaoHan) Hu, (PhD, Economics, 2007), Consultant, People Analytics Leader, McKinsey & Company

Ruben Acevedo, (PhD, Mechanical Engineering, 2021), 1st Year Consultant, Boston Consulting Group (BCG)

Brandon Gaitan, (Doctoral Candidate, Bioengineering), President and CoFounder, Maryland Graduate Consulting Club



Wednesday 10/20/2021 3-4 pm

Federal Careers



Abigail Bickford, PhD (Behavioral and Community Health, 2018). ORISE Postdoctoral Fellow, US Army Public Health Command


Beatrice Mao, PhD (Behavior, Ecology, Evolution and Systematics (Interdisciplinary Biology Program, 2017), Postdoctoral Fellow, NIH


Ana Ana I. Sánchez-Rivera, PhD (Geography, 2017), US Census Bureau


Joshua Wood. PhD (Mechanical Engineering, 2016)  NASA Postdoctoral Fellow 




Tuesday 1/25/2022 4-5 pm

Biotech in Maryland

Part of Alumni Career Week


Dietrich Ruehlmann, PhD (EMBA 2005),
Founder and Owner, Oscamo Technology LLC

Berin Parambeethu Varghese, PhD, DVM (Integrated Biological Sciences, Molecular Virology, 2021)

Julia Greenfield, PhD (Biochemistry, 2019)
Research Chemist, NIST

Tuesday 3/8/2022 3-4 pm

Marketing, Communication, & UX Careers


Becca Boya Xu, PhD
(Journalism and Communication Studies, 2018)
UX Researcher, Amazon

Sylvia Guo, PhD
(Communications, 2019)
Research Director, Hanover Research

Stanley Maxson, Doctoral Candidate
Associate Consultant, Esri

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 doctoral 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.