It doesn’t take a Rocket Scientist: Succeeding in Non-Traditional Careers

Njema Frazier

What do you do if academia and industry hold little appeal for you? You explore your options. Even if it doesn’t seem like it, an advanced degree prepares you for more than these two traditional career paths. Dr. Njema Frazier will share how and why she decided to pursue a government position instead of going the customary route. Dr. Frazier will describe how she was able to succeed in this unique environment by utilizing her scientific background to advise Members of Congress on policy, serve as technical director for classified scientific exchanges, and develop and teach nuclear security-based courses. Dr. Frazier’s story will give you the confidence to develop your own career strategies and market your unique skill set to future employers as you seek to establish the career of your choosing.

The Importance of Being Connected

Melissa Kaczmarczyk

After spending several years becoming an expert in your field, you may find yourself starting a new job. Suddenly, you are the novice all over again. It is important to harness the skills you learned throughout your advanced degree to help you figure out your new role. Melissa will talk about strategies for developing connections within large companies, and how involvement in external organizations can broaden your network. Personal and professional development does not stop when you take your first job. Successfully engaging with these connections can help you define your perfect position within the company, enhancing your sense of professional fulfillment.

Following Your Path

Joanne Manaster

Society constantly tells us to “find a job you love”. Finding a job you love can be overwhelming, missing out on learning opportunities simply because you don’t know if you will “love” the job. When you accept a job you don’t love, you might feel that you are selling yourself short, settling for a paycheck rather than finding your passion. Joanne will share with us her experiences in creating new paths throughout her career. Instead of seeking out one “dream job”, imagine your career as a winding path, ending somewhere you may not have previously imagined. Joanne will discuss how she followed her passion for teaching and outreach through an unconventional path to academia. She learned to leverage her unique experiences while developing her passions, allowing her to have a unique and fulfilling career. A career is not just about the end result—it’s also about the journey.


The Other Side of Academia

Alexis Thompson

While there are many advantages to working in academia, not everyone longs for a lifelong career dedicated to research. If you like the fast paced, intellectually stimulating environment but aren’t excited by the prospect of developing research; you should consider a career in an academic service-oriented position. After graduating with an advanced degree, Alexis knew she wanted to stay in academia, but realized that her passion was helping others make the most of their graduate education. Alexis chose a service-oriented position where her scientific background provides a unique outlook on career services and professional development. Alexis will discuss the happenstance events that led her to the other side of academia.

Learn How to Talk Their Talk

Eileen Velez-Vega

How many people do you interact with in a given day? Chances are, you interact with quite a few. The tendency toward team based projects and interdisciplinary research only increases interactions with a diverse range of people. As an aviation project manager for Kimley-Horn and Associates, Inc., Eileen has learned to effectively communicate with a variety of people, by learning how to “talk their talk”. People with different personalities communicate differently and it is important to understand how both people prefer to communicate. Eileen will discuss how to build a strong reputation through hard work and great communication skills. Learning to communicate effectively can set you apart from your colleagues and open new job opportunities.


Getting the Most Out of Your Advanced Degree

Rebecca Krone Kramer 

The journey through a graduate degree can seem long and arduous. The phrase “publish or perish,” adopted by some of the academic community, stresses the high importance of academic productivity when seeking tenured faculty positions. With this mindset, it can become easy to forget that life exists outside of the lab or office. Rebecca will share how she juggles personal and professional life while pursing an advanced degree and a tenure track faculty position. She will discuss how she utilized her experiences in graduate school to develop her lab, The Faboratory at Purdue University. With a positive attitude and time for personal well-being, the journey to an advanced degree can be productive and enjoyable.