Spring 2022

The 2021-22 Careers Beyond Academia Series is co-sponsored by the Office of Postdoctoral Services,  the Graduate School, and the Career Center.


Thurs Jan 13, 2-2:30 pm

WHAT: Senior Leadership Insights: A Conversation with Chini Krishnan, PhD, Founder and CEO, GetInsured.com
REGISTER: https://gradschool.duke.edu/student-life/events

Join The Graduate School for a series of conversations with alumni reflecting on the role that their Duke education played in their careers. Dr. Srinivasan “Chini” Krishnan is the founder and CEO of Vimo, Inc., which created GetInsured.com, an online shopping portal for healthcare products and services. Today, the company is the leading provider of health insurance enrollment technology for the state governments of California, Idaho, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Nevada, New Jersey and Washington. GetInsured technology has enabled more than 15 million enrollments to date. Dr. Krishnan holds a BS in Computer Science from the Indian Institute of Technology and an MS and PhD in Computer Science from Duke University.

Dr. Krishnan will be joined in conversation by Dr. Jeffrey Chase, Professor of Computer Science and Director of Graduate Studies for the PhD program. The discussion will focus on six key questions:

  1. Tell us about your background. What was your path to your current role?
  2. Can you tell us about your organization, and describe a typical day for a PhD-level hire?
  3. What do you see as the value that doctoral training has added to your professional trajectory?
  4. Beyond strong research skills, what other skills, experience and/or training are important for success in your field?
  5. Are there any skills, training, or experiences you wish you’d had in graduate school to prepare you for your current career path?
  6. What can students who would like to work in this field (or explore it further) do to prepare?

Tues Jan 18, 1-2 pm

WHAT: Advanced Time Management
REGISTER: https://gradschool.duke.edu/student-life/events/advanced-time-management-workshop

Join us for a workshop with Joy Birmingham, Assistant Director for Leadership and Professional Development at Duke Learning & Organization Development. An expert with over 20 years in the management training and professional development arena, Joy Birmingham will introduce you to advanced time management tools. This workshop will equip you with strategies to understand your strengths in managing short- and long-term goals. You will also learn ways to build new habits and break with old ones to ensure your success.

This workshop is a perennial favorite, and 2022 marks the fifth offering of this popular topic. Seats for this virtual workshop are limited to 25 participants, so please do not register unless you are sure you can attend. (Note that there is also an offering of this topic on the same date at 3 pm. Please register for only one session.)


Weds Jan 26, 1-2 pm (followed by 30 minute Q&A)

WHAT: Understanding Professional Competency in Your Career Planning
REGISTER: https://duke.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_3ZS1sLwoFLHNjlI

The job you’re applying for lists ‘leadership’ as a required skill. No problem – you can say you helped organize the Summer Picnic for your Postdoc or Graduate Student Association. But in the workforce, employers are looking for a level of performance from new hires. Or what we call competence. So how do you demonstrate competency in your cover letter or interview? And more importantly, how do you take advantage of your current opportunities (like organizing the summer picnic) to build your competency and score your dream job?

Speaker: Garth Fowler, PhD, is the former Associate Executive Director for the Center for Education in Psychology at the American Psychological Association, where he directed the APA’s efforts in producing resources and information to help psychology graduate students, postdoctoral trainees, and mentors improve their training and career success. Before coming to APA, Garth was a faculty member and Assistant Chair in the Northwestern University Department of Neurobiology. His first job after finishing his postdoc was the Outreach Program Manager for Science Careers, the online career resources for Science Magazine & AAAS. Garth has a BA in Psychology from the College of Wooster, a PhD in Behavioral Neuroscience from the University of Washington-Seattle, and was a postdoctoral fellow at the Salk Institute in San Diego, CA.


Weds Jan 26, 8-9 pm

WHAT: An International Management Consulting Career: Insights from Jane Wang, PhD, Associate Partner at McKinsey and Company
REGISTER: https://gradschool.duke.edu/student-life/events

As an Associate Partner with McKinsey & Company, Jane Wang, PhD serves top global high-tech companies and “internet unicorns” in product development and new business building. She also serves top global pharma companies on digital transformation. Dr. Wang received her BS in Biological Technology from Nankai University and her PhD in Pharmacology with a certificate in Global Health from Duke University. In this session, Dr. Wang will share her leadership experience working in management consulting in the US and China and reflect on how a graduate education has prepared her for a career in management consulting. Please bring your questions for a lively conversation!


Thurs Feb 3, 11-11:30 am

WHAT: Alum Zoom with Nathan Rudemiller, PhD, Associate Director (Large Molecule/Gene & Cell Therapy Assay Development and Bioanalysis), Bioagilytix
REGISTER: https://duke.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_3wo7iW8opHY7Fxc

On Feb 3, our guest is Nathan Rudemiller, PhD, Associate Director and Hiring Manager (Large Molecule/Gene & Cell Therapy Assay Development and Bioanalysis), Bioagilytix.

Nathan has worked in the field of immunology since beginning his PhD training in 2010. Nathan spent his PhD training and postdoctoral fellowship elucidating immunological drivers of complex disease using in vivo models, ex vivo primary cell systems, and in vitro immortalized cell lines. Consequently, he has much experience with and a proclivity for developing cell-based assays, including assays with flow cytometric outputs. Following a postdoctoral fellowship at Duke University, Nathan joined BioAgilytix Labs in 2017. At BioAgilytix, Nathan oversees development and validation of PK, PD/Biomarker, ADA, NAb, and Potency assays using a variety of bioanalytical platforms under GxP regulations. Notably, he oversees all flow cytometric assays at the Durham, NC headquarters. Nathan’s team leverages flow cytometry to address emerging bioanalytical challenges for large molecule and cellular therapeutics. Nathan received his PhD in Physiology from the Medical College of Wisconsin.

Nathan will also tell us about the open PhD-level positions at Bioagilytix – he is the Hiring Manager, so please be sure to attend if you are interested in this great local company!

5 Questions:
1. Could you tell us about your background?
2. How did you get your job at your organization?
3. What’s a typical day like at your organization, pre- and post-COVID?
4. What can postdocs and students who would like to work in this field (or explore it further) do to prepare?
5. What is the employment outlook for this field, given the COVID crisis? (please note that the answer to this question may be “We don’t know yet.”)
6. Bonus 6th question: Can you tell us about the open PhD-level positions at Bioagilytix?

Tues Feb 8, 1-2 pm (followed by 30 minute Q&A)

WHAT: Adapting your Academic Presentation to US Industry Culture
REGISTER: https://gradschool.duke.edu/student-life/events/adapting-your-academic-presentation-us-industry-culture

During your graduate school or postdoc career, you’ve become an expert at presenting in the conventions of your academic discipline for other academic researchers. But what should you change when you begin presenting your research in industry? Hear from a communications expert who works with MBA students and business executives about what they seek in presentations. This workshop will help you prepare and present your research to appeal to audiences in the U.S. corporate world. Following the presentation from 1:00 to 2:00 pm, Dr. Flood will host an optional Q&A session from 2-2:30 pm.

Speaker: Tim Flood, PhD, is Associate Professor of Management and Corporate Communication at the UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School. He is also Acting Executive Director of Launch Chapel Hill, a startup accelerator and co-working space, and Managing Director of the Management Communication Association. He teaches courses on presentation skills, global communication, business writing, and US language and culture for international and exchange students. He has consulted with the World Bank/IFC and Egyptian Institute of Directors on issues of corporate governance and educational outreach.


Tues Feb 15, 3:30-4:30 pm

WHAT: Careers in Business Development (BD): A Panel Discussion Featuring Takeda Pharmaceuticals
REGISTER: https://duke.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_e40aijQ8HgUIUm2

In this panel discussion, representatives from Takeda Pharmaceuticals will discuss:

  • What working in Business Development (BD) in the pharma/ biotech industry is like.
  • Pros/cons of BD positions.
  • Advice on how to position yourself for a BD career.
  • How and why our panelists landed a BD role at the Takeda Center for External Innovation.

Watch session (access is limited to the Duke Community. Please email for the link).


Tues Feb 22, 3-4:30 pm

WHAT: Building Your Skills in Intercultural Communication
REGISTER: https://gradschool.duke.edu/student-life/events/building-your-skills-intercultural-communication

How can you communicate more effectively with colleagues and faculty from other cultures? In this workshop, you will learn the three major cultural communication styles. You’ll also build an understanding of how your preferences might interact with those of your team members. By the end, you will gain concrete strategies to collaborate more effectively with colleagues from other cultures.

In preparation for the workshop, all registrants must complete a communication style assessment by Fri Feb 18 at 12 noon. All registrants must agree to attend the workshop in order to receive access to the assessment.

Speaker: Tim Flood, PhD is Associate Professor of Management and Corporate Communication at the UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School. He is also Acting Executive Director of Launch Chapel Hill, a startup accelerator and co-working space, and Managing Director of the Management Communication Association. He teaches courses on presentation skills, global communication, business writing, and US language and culture for international and exchange students. Dr. Flood is the author of MBA Fundamentals: Business Writing and a licensed partner for global and cross-cultural training with Richard Lewis Communications and CultureActive. He received his PhD from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.


Thurs Feb 24, 10-11 am

WHAT: Leaving the Ivory Tower: Managing the Emotional Side of Career Change
REGISTER: https://duke.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_cBAQKJUoUKjqNQq

A large part of how we define ourselves and how others define us is based on what we do for a living – our professional identity. But what happens when we are no longer a [fill in the blank]? How do we deal with the loss of self, the loss of professional status, the loss of affiliation with an elite group that we’ve been aligned with as long as we can remember?

The overall loss of identity that we feel when we decide to leave academia is comparable to healing after the loss of a loved one or after the breakup of a long-term, and possibly dysfunctional, relationship. Letting go can be difficult, but we have to let go and give ourselves permission to grieve before reaching a point where we are ready to commit to making a career change.

In this informative session, participants will learn about the emotional obstacles that can keep us stuck in an academic career path that is no longer fulfilling. Participants will also learn how former postdocs and graduate students found the courage to follow a more rewarding career path.

Dara Wilson-Grant, Associate Director of the UNC Office of Postdoctoral Affairs, will discuss:
– Strategies for letting go and moving on to form, and eventually embrace, a new professional identity.
– Resources that can help you navigate through the transition phase and into a more rewarding career.

Speaker: Dara Wilson-Grant is the Associate Director at the UNC-Chapel Hill Office of Postdoctoral Affairs and a Licensed Professional Counselor. With over fifteen years experience providing career management education and counseling, Dara’s mission is to help individuals develop a framework for choosing a meaningful and rewarding career path, plus develop the skills necessary for a lifetime of career success.


Weds Mar 2, 6-7 pm

WHAT: McKinsey Consulting Duke Alumni Panel
REGISTER: https://jobs.mckinsey.com/events/Rsvp?folderId=60645

The Duke APD Consulting Club invites you to hear from fellow Blue Devils on their journey to McKinsey! Our alumni panel will share their experiences and advice to those interested in a career path at McKinsey. We’ll also lightly cover recruiting tips and guidelines.


Fri Mar 18, 12-1 pm

WHAT: Résumé Workshop for Humanities and Social Sciences PhDs
REGISTER: https://gradschool.duke.edu/student-life/events/r-sum-workshop-humanities-and-social-sciences

The Duke A2i Program is focused on helping Humanities and Social Science PhDs find, apply for, and secure employment outside academia. In this hands-on workshop, you will have the opportunity to work on your résumé for jobs outside academia. This workshop will provide you a framework for getting started and converting a CV to an industry résumé, and it will help you identify ways to increase your likelihood of getting that initial phone screen or interview. Please bring a recent CV or résumé to polish it and get immediate feedback.


Tues Mar 22, 10-11 am

WHAT: Converting Your CV to a High Impact Resume
REGISTERhttps://duke.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_25GPOWymwvbAflk

Are you considering a career outside of academia? If so, you will need to convert your curriculum vitae (CV) into a resume, and this session will show you how. In addition to learning the differences between an academic CV and a resume, you will learn specific steps and strategies to help you craft a resume that effectively promotes your qualifications in a way that appeals to a broad audience.

Topics include:
– Describing your skills and experiences in a way that translates across disciplines, industries, and career fields.
– Tailoring and organizing your information with the reader in mind.
– Choosing the right format, layout, and style.

Speaker: Dara Wilson-Grant is the Associate Director at the UNC-Chapel Hill Office of Postdoctoral Affairs and a Licensed Professional Counselor. With over fifteen years experience providing career management education and counseling, Dara’s mission is to help individuals develop a framework for choosing a meaningful and rewarding career path, plus develop the skills necessary for a lifetime of career success.


Fri Mar 25, 12-1 pm

WHAT: Cover Letter Workshop for Humanities and Social Sciences PhDs
REGISTER: https://gradschool.duke.edu/student-life/events/cover-letter-workshop-humanities-and-social-sciences

The Duke A2i Program is focused on helping Humanities and Social Science PhDs find, apply for, and secure employment outside academia. Cover letters are very common in the US and provide you with an opportunity to communicate both why you are interested and how you can contribute to the organization’s success. In this workshop, you will discover what employers are really looking for, how to analyze a job description and create a persuasive cover letter. The focus of this session will be on non-faculty positions. Please bring a job description of interest and if you’d like to get immediate feedback, a drafted cover letter as well.

Facilitator: Nora Nunn, PhD ’20 (English), International Technical Associate at Education Development Center.


Thurs March 31, 2-3 pm Cancelled due to low registration

WHAT: Career Adaptability: Preparing for and Responding to Unexpected Events in the Job Search
Grad Student Registration: https://duke.joinhandshake.com/events/991735/share_preview
Postdoc Registration: https://duke.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_d4lghdJXulsAOdU
The past two years have taught us the importance of being flexible and ready to adjust to the unexpected. But what does that look like in the job search? How do we increase our versatility so that if we have to change plans quickly, we’re ready to pivot? In this workshop, gain skills critical to becoming an adaptable and agile job seeker. Participants will learn core skills and characteristics for enhancing adaptability as well as strategies to prepare for future career transitions.
Presenters: Rachel Coleman and Christina Plante, Duke University Career Center

Fri Apr 1, 12-1 pm

WHAT: Interviewing Workshop for Humanities and Social Sciences PhDs
REGISTER: https://gradschool.duke.edu/student-life/events/interviewing-workshop-humanities-and-social-sciences

The Duke A2i Program is focused on helping Humanities and Social Science PhDs find, apply for, and secure employment outside academia. Whether conducted in-person, virtually, or via phone, interviews are an opportunity to tell your story while clearly conveying your skills, interest and overall fit for a specific position and organization. In this workshop, you will learn useful strategies to prepare strong responses and also practice answering some of the most common behavioral-style interview questions. You do not need to have an upcoming interview to attend this workshop but please bring along a description of an opportunity (job, internship, etc) that you are interested in.


Fri Apr 8, 12-1 pm

WHAT: Developing a Network: A Workshop for Social Sciences and Humanities PhDs
REGISTER: https://gradschool.duke.edu/student-life/events/developing-network-workshop-social-sciences-and-humanities

The Duke A2i Program is focused on helping Humanities and Social Science PhDs find, apply for, and secure employment outside academia. You may have heard that networking is essential for a career outside academia, but how do you go about it effectively? In this workshop you will get to practice networking techniques and learn strategies to help you become more successful. We will also practice using online tools to make contact with new people and maintain your relationships over time.

Facilitator: Elizabeth Brake, PhD’13 (History), Chief Operating Officer, Venture for America


Fri Apr 15, 10 am – 4 pm

WHAT: Career Immersion Day for Humanities and Social Sciences PhDs
REGISTER: https://gradschool.duke.edu/student-life/events/immersion-day-humanities-and-social-sciences

The Duke A2i Program is focused on helping Humanities and Social Science PhDs find, apply for, and secure employment outside academia. Career Immersion Day is an experiential learning opportunity where you can apply the lessons from the workshops and coffee chats in the Job Search Strategies series. Non-academic organizations will introduce you to their mission, teach you skills that are vital for their employees’ success, and provide advice on how to land a role at their company. Immersion Day is a great opportunity to meet other PhDs considering jobs outside of academia and connect with employers and alums who can provide valuable connections to non-academic roles.


Tues May 3, 10-11 am

WHAT: Networking: How to Build Professional Relationships for Long-Term Career Success
REGISTER: https://duke.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_8eUuagrf5lgOWaO

The world of work and how we navigate our professional lives have changed significantly due to the pandemic. However, networking remains one of the most effective approaches to getting your career on the fast track. It can help to inform your next steps, expand your connections and influence and enhance your professional reputation. This informative session will show you techniques for effective and tactful networking in this post-pandemic era. Participants will leave this session with a networking action plan that can be implemented immediately.

Speaker: Dara Wilson-Grant is the Associate Director at the UNC-Chapel Hill Office of Postdoctoral Affairs and a Licensed Professional Counselor. With over fifteen years experience providing career management education and counseling, Dara’s mission is to help individuals develop a framework for choosing a meaningful and rewarding career path, plus develop the skills necessary for a lifetime of career success.


Weds May 25, 1-2:30 pm

WHAT: Nuts and Bolts of Professional Presentations
REGISTER: https://duke.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_aVhyFWwxLzdzd1s

Being able to clearly communicate your research is a key skill in almost any field. One common way we share the impact of our work is through professional presentations, like seminars that are part of a job interview or short talks that are part of symposia at meetings and conferences. Most of us create our presentations by opening PowerPoint, filling our slides with detailed text and explanation, and then dropping in figures, charts, or images. This results in presentations that are often complicated and filled with jargon that overwhelms your audience as opposed to impressing them. The best presentations are stories – narratives of what motivated the study or research, the approach taken, and the final outcome. Different types of talks require different types of stories, and the type of story you tell determines how you create and use your slides. In this workshop, we will discuss how to approach presentations as narratives that take your audience on a shared journey of discovery and cover basic concepts on how to create and use slides that clearly present information in a logical and easily digestible way.

You will learn:

  • How to prepare different types of professional presentations, including conference presentations, academic job talks, chalk talks, and non-academic job talks.
  • The goals and outcomes of various types of professional presentations.
  • Basic principles of slide design and approaches to describing figures, images, and graphs to keep information concise, clear, and increase your audience’s understanding of the content.

Speaker: Garth Fowler, PhD, is a recognized leader in professional training for early career researchers and scientists. As a former Program Manager for Science magazine’s Science Careers Program, a faculty member and graduate program director at Northwestern University, and an Associate Executive Director for the American Psychological Association, he has delivered well over 200 workshops, seminars, and presentations on career and professional development. A recognized expert in STEM workforce development, he has authored peer-reviewed manuscripts, articles, and whitepapers on preparing the next generation of STEM workers and given expert testimony and served on committees, panels, and taskforces for agencies like the National Academy of Sciences, The Council of Graduate Schools, The National Science Foundation, The National Institutes of Health, The Burroughs Wellcome Fund, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He received his BA in psychology from The College of Wooster, where he was a Howard Hughes Undergraduate Research Fellow. He received his PhD in Behavioral Neuroscience from the University of Washington and completed his postdoctoral studies at The Salk Institute in La Jolla, CA. In his spare time, he enjoys running, cycling, traveling to see symphonies, and writes novels.