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PhD Career Pathways Conference 2020

Virtual Mini-Conference

 May 1, 2020, 9:00 am-12:45 pm, via ZOOM.

Registration Links Below.
Doctoral s
tudents and postdocs can register for one or both panel sessions.

The in-person event has been cancelled due to COVID-10. The University is operating in a partial online environment as of March 18. Starting March 30, 2020 and continuing at least to April 10, 2020, all classroom instruction will be conducted virtually. Click here for more information.


Virtual Mini-Conference Schedule

8:45-9:00                   Participants Log  on
9:00-9:15 am             Opening Remarks
9:20-10:50 am           Session 1: Careers in Non-Profits
10:50-11:00                BREAK
11:00 am-12:30 pm    Session 2: Research Careers Outside of Academia
12:30-12:40 pm          Closing Remarks 


Check the panelists' profiles here (.doc) and here (.pdf)

Panel 1: PhDs in the NonProfit World - The DC metro region has hundreds of “non-profits” focused on the arts and social issues. In addition, DC is the location of a plethora of national associations and “think tanks.” Are there some issues that you would love to apply your research, leadership and communication skills to for change? Learn more about what is like to work in the non-profit sector as compared to other industries.


Anya Fink (Research Analyst, CNA Corporation) 
Jessica Bennett (Assistant Director of STEM Education, Association of Public and Land-grant Universities) 
Katie White (Director of Social Action and English Faculty, Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart) 
Kayla Valdes (Senior Program Manager-NIH/NHLBI Cure Sickle Cell)
Robin Bloodworth (Data Analyst, Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute) 


Panel 2: Research Careers Outside of Academia - PhDs in all disciplines have honed strong research analytical and other transferable skills. But how are these used in the biotech, aerospace, technology, healthcare and education arenas? Learn more about how the skills developed during the doctoral experience translate to challenging careers outside of the academy.


Chandria Jones (Senior Study Director, Westat) 
Haiqiu Huang (Scientist, Jecho Laboratories, Inc.) 
Jennifer Guida (Postdoctoral Fellow, National Cancer Institute/National Institutes of Health) 
Shayandev Sinha (Yield Engineer, Intel Corporation) 
Sidra Montgomery (Senior Researcher, Insight Policy Research) 




Use Your Expertise in Consulting and Entrepreneurial Ventures - Many PhDs do “consulting” - but this can mean a variety of things. There are consulting roles in large established firms as well as smaller boutique organizations. Additionally, have you considered starting your own business or working in a small start-up venture? Learn more during this panel about careers for those with that entrepreneurial spirit.


Becca Xu (User/Customer Experience Researcher, ICF) 
Crystal Upperman (Research Associate, World Resources Institute) 
Hector Lopez (Senior Consultant, NERA Economic Consulting)  

Use your PhD to Change the World - Are you interested in using your knowledge and expertise to solve and/or advocate about big complex issues threatening humanity? Hear how PhDs are out there tackling topics of national and international importance such as poverty, food and water security, education and equity.


Heather Platter (Cancer Prevention Fellow, National Cancer Institute) 
Jazalyn Dukes (Research Structural Engineer, National Institute of Standards and Technology) 
Rachel Golden Kroner (Social Scientist, Conservation International) 
Sarah Blankenship (Child Care Program Specialist, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation) 
Tiffany Jones (Senior Director for Higher Education Policy, The Education Trust)  

Data Science Careers - The shortage of data scientists around the country has been well documented. The August 2018 LinkedIn Workforce Report found that there were more than 151,000 data scientist jobs going unfilled across the U.S., with “acute” shortages in New York City, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. Learn more about possible career paths and how to “pivot” toward this career path.


Aaron Mannes (Senior Policy Advisor, Culmen LLC, supporting DHS S&T)
Benjamin Bengfort (Chief Data Scientist, PingThings, Inc.) 
Lingzi Hong (Assistant Professor, University of North Texas) 
Theresa Kim (Program Officer, Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute)  

Careers that Leverage PhD Communication Skills - Graduate education does so much more than just develop subject matter expertise and research skills -- PhDs hone their written and oral communication skills. What kind of careers enable PhDs to persuade, write, curate and influence others about complex social, political, scientific, and technical issues? Learn more about the types of careers for great communicators.


Ashlee Tipton (Scientific Review Officer, National Institutes of Health - National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health)
Elisabeth Newcomb
Hong Lin (Principal Quantitative Analyst, Capital One)
James Komianos (Data Scientist, Capital One)
Sue Lin (Division Director, US Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration) 

Demystifying Federal Careers - PhDs are employed across agencies and departments of the Federal Government. For many doctoral students and postdocs the thought of a federal career seems intriguing while the process of applying overwhelming. Learn more from these alumni about how they figured out the process for landing a federal job and what their career has been like.


Aaron Bryant (Museum Curator, Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture)
Kyle Jaquess (Research Fellow, Veterans Affairs)
Luc Hebou (Environmental Protection Specialist, APHIS- USDA)
Mona Mirzaei (Electrical Engineer (Process Engineer), SSAI/NASA)
Suma Nair (Director, HRSA)    

Scientific and Technology Careers in Industry - The world of biotechnology has opportunities for PhDs in the sciences and engineering. Maryland is one of the leading biotech centers in the country along with Boston and the Bay area. Learn more about opportunities at and away from the bench.


Alvin Yew (Aerospace Engineer, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center)
David Foote (Production Manager, TOPTICA Photonics)
Keisha McDowell (Principal Investigator/Engineering Consultant, DuPont Engineering Research & Technology)
Kevin Gray (Senior Bioprocess Engineer, NextCure)    

Careers for Those Who Love to Teach - Being a TA and instructor develops facilitation, communication, mentoring, and leadership skills. Have you realized that you really enjoy teaching much more than doing research? Learn more about what faculty life is like in teaching focused roles, small private college settings, community colleges and private high schools.


Anika Prather (Founder and Head of School, The Living Water School) 
Cara Snyder (Postdoctoral Associate, Latin American Studies Center at UMD, College Park) 
Elizabeth Read-Connole (Section Chief Cancer Etiology, National Cancer Institute/ National Institutes of Health) 
James Hanson (Assistant Director, University of Maryland Agricultural Extension Service) 
Sarah Bonnie Humud (Associate Director, University of Maryland) 


This event is a collaborative effort of the Graduate School and 12 campus partners.

2020 Planning Committee Members

Office of Postdoctoral Affairs: Blessing Enekwe (Conference Co-Chair)
University Career Center & The President's Promise: Kenyatta Malloy,  and Susan Martin (Conference Co-Chair
College of Agriculture and Natural Resources: Amanda Cloughert
College of Arts and Humanities: Ralph Bauer
College of Behavioral and Social Sciences: Jenny Kilberg and Navot Naor (Postdoc Senator)
A.J. Clark School of Engineering Career Services: Veronica Perrigan
College of Computer, Mathematical, & Natural Sciences: Amy Chester
College of Education: Judy Foster
International Students & Scholar Services: Gabriella Gillespie
School of Public Health: Brit Saksvig
School of Public Policy: Bryan Kempton
Teaching & Learning Transformation Center: Marissa Stewart
The Graduate School: Amanda Strausser, Anna DeCheke Qualls, Laurie White
Conference Graduate Assistants: Thiago Pacheco (Office of Postdoctoral Affairs) and Jeffrey Yeung (Graduate School Office of Professional & Career Development)