Spring 2018

The 2017-18  Careers Beyond Academia Series is co-sponsored by the Office of Postdoctoral Services, The Graduate School, and the Career Center.



Science and Engineering Seminars

Tues Jan 23, 9:30-11 am

WHAT: Whitsell Innovations Medical Writing Internship Session: “The Scope of Medical Communications”
WHERE: Rm 143 Jones Bldg (light breakfast and coffee provided)
REGISTER: https://tinyurl.com/Spring2018Whitsell

Thinking about your career after completing your PhD or postdoc? Wondering what to do if the bench isn’t for you? If so, please join us to learn about potential careers and a paid internship in medical and scientific communication.

Whitsell Innovations is a certified woman-owned, full-service medical and scientific writing company headquartered in Chapel Hill NC with writers in 11 US states. Robin Whitsell, Founder and President of WI, will speak on, “The Scope of Medical Communications.” The presentation will provide an overview of careers for PhDs who are interested in combining their scientific acumen and writing skills. Ms. Whitsell will also discuss the WI Internship Program. Now in its 7th year, this opportunity is an 18-month, part-time, paid internship available to researchers who are interested in a career in medical writing.

The presentation will take place from 9:30-10:30 am, followed by Q&A.

Thurs Apr 12, 12-1 pm

WHAT: Neurobiology Professional Development Series: Regulatory Affairs Manager Josh Johnson, PhD
WHERE: Bryan Research Building, Room 301 (Lunch will be provided to those who RSVP by emailing Elizabeth Fleming)
REGISTER: elizabeth.fleming@duke.edu

The goal of the Neurobiology Professional Development Series is to provide opportunities for students to engage professionals with training in neuroscience/neurobiology who have successfully followed a variety of career paths, including academic research. We are hosting individuals representative of non-academic sectors and providing a forum for students to discuss navigating the academic job market with Neurobiology faculty at various stages in their careers. Lunch will be provided to those who RSVP by emailing Elizabeth Fleming.

Speaker: Josh Johnson, PhD, Manager of Regulatory Affairs, R&D at Merz North America

Thurs May 3, 9:30-11 am

WHAT: Careers in Regulatory Affairs
WHERE: Rm 143 Jones Bldg (light breakfast and coffee provided)
REGISTER: https://tinyurl.com/Spring2018Regulatory

Regulatory Affairs (RA) has developed from the desire of governments to protect public health by controlling the safety and efficacy of healthcare and related products, including medical devices, pharmaceuticals, biologics and nutritional products. Organizations including major multinational pharmaceutical corporations, small biotech companies, and research universities like Duke and UNC have specialist departments of Regulatory Affairs professionals. RA is a promising field for scientists searching for alternative careers because it offers a multitude of starting jobs and opportunities for advancement.

Speaker: Kelly Barghausen, PhD, is Regulatory Coordinator, Tier 2, at Duke Cancer Institute. Kelly received her PhD in Genetics from Florida State University College of Medicine and is a former Duke postdoc.

Thurs May 31, 9:30-10:45 am

WHAT: Careers in Research, Writing and Technology Development at Affinergy
WHERE: Rm 143 Jones Bldg (breakfast and coffee provided)
REGISTER: https://tinyurl.com/Affinergy2018

Do you want to use your doctoral training to spark translation of original research into new technology? Perhaps you enjoy thinking critically about science and research, but the thrill of bench work has faded? Affinergy, LLC (http://www.affinergy.com) has an exciting opportunity for PhD researchers to remain actively engaged in groundbreaking original research with our team of enthusiastic and collaborative scientists. Affinergy, located in RTP NC, is developing cutting edge assays and research tools that will lead to improved scientific and diagnostic outcomes. Come to this info session to learn more about what PhD scientists at Affinergy do, and about the Technology Development Specialist job currently open to PhDs!


  • Lindsay Marjoram, PhD, Director, Technology Development (former Duke postdoc)
  • Martyn Darby, PhD, Director of Research
  • Emily Vaughan, PhD, Senior Scientist, Biology
  • Aaron Carlson, PhD, Scientist (former Duke postdoc)

9:30-10:15 am: Discussion on PhD career paths and Affinergy hiring process
10:15-10:30 am: Networking and one-on-one discussion with speakers

Fri Jun 1, 8:30 am – 12 pm

WHAT: Networking Event: Career Options for STEM PhDs in RTP
WHERE:  NC Biotech Center, 15 TW Alexander Dr, RTP NC
REGISTER: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/career-options-for-stem-phds-tickets-46323433637
Note: Registration is required for admission. This event is not on Duke campus, but in RTP.  Please do not register unless you are sure you can arrange transportation to the NC Biotech Center.
COST: $10

Want to build connections with the local biotech, pharma, and government community and learn more about these careers? Duke postdocs and graduate students are invited to attend a networking event at the North Carolina Biotech Center. Guests will include bench scientists, business owners, entrepreneurs, consultants, CEOs, venture capitalists, government researchers, tech transfer specialists, and patent specialists from local companies.

This event is a networking and career education opportunity, not a job fair. Business professional attire is strongly recommended. This event is co-sponsored by the North Carolina Biotechnology Center, Sigma Xi, NIEHS Office of Fellows Career Development, Duke Graduate School, Duke Postdoctoral Services, and the UNC Office of Science, Training and Diversity.

8:30-9:15 am: Registration
9:15-9:30 am: Event Overview – Fenella Sanders, Sigma Xi
9:30-10 am: Industry Representative Flash Talks
10 am: Networking with Industry Professionals (light refreshments will be served)
12 pm: Adjourn

Questions? Email Molly Starback, Director, Duke Postdoctoral Services, or Melissa Bostrom, Assistant Dean for Graduate Student Professional Development.

Fri Jun 22, 1-2 pm

WHAT: Clinical Research Careers at Novella Clinical with Nick Rizzo, PhD
WHERE: GSRB 1 Bldg, Room 4002
REGISTER: https://duke.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_0JaTi3JuOCcMqhL

Careers in clinical research, pharma, and contract research organizations (CROs) can be a great fit for PhDs in the biomedical sciences. Nick Rizzo, PhD (’17, Genetics and Genomics) is a Feasibility Research Fellow at Novella, a specialty CRO and part of IQVIA (formerly Quintiles). During this interactive discussion, Nick will discuss CROs, job hunting, leaving academia for industry, and opportunities for PhDs at Novella Clinical.

Humanities and Social Sciences Seminars

Mon Jan 22, 12-1 pm

WHAT: Introduction to ImaginePhD: An Online Tool for Humanities and Social Sciences PhD Students and Postdocs
WHERE: Friedl 225
REGISTER: Email melissa.bostrom@duke.edu

This workshop will introduce you to the ImaginePhD online tool, designed for humanities and social sciences PhD students, postdocs, and alumni. We’ll complete skills and interests assessments, explore the tool’s resources for careers of interest, and begin creating a plan for career exploration and professional development. The session will be interactive and informal; come prepared to ask questions! Our facilitator will be Dr. Melissa Bostrom, Assistant Dean for Graduate Student Professional Development. Pizza provided; please bring a beverage to enjoy. To make the most of this workshop, please bring a laptop.

 Tues Jan 23, 12-1:30 pm

WHAT: ACLS Public Fellows Information Session (VH@Duke Lunch and Learn)
WHERE: Franklin Humanities Institute (Conference room), Bay 4, Smith Warehouse
REGISTER: https://gradschool.duke.edu/student-life/events/acls-public-fellows-information-session-vhduke-lunch-and-learn

The Mellon/ACLS Public Fellows Program seeks applications from recent PhDs in the humanities and humanistic social sciences “who aspire to careers in administration, management and public service by choice rather than circumstance.” Public Fellows are placed in two-year term staff positions at partnering organizations in government and the nonprofit sector.  Salary and benefits are competitive, and a professional development stipend is included.  Fellows are actively mentored for career paths beyond the academy.

Join Maria LaMonaca Wisdom, Director of Graduate Student Advising and Engagement, and Joseph McNicholas, Director of Research Opportunities at FHI, for lunch and a preliminary conversation on nonacademic career paths for PhDs.  At 12:30, we will be joined (via video conference) by John Paul Christy, the Director of Public Programs at ACLS; and by Abigail Langston (Literature PhD ’14), Senior Associate at PolicyLink and an alumna of the Public Fellows program.


Seminars for All Postdocs and Graduate Students

Weds Jan 31, 12-1:30 pm

WHAT: The Elevator Pitch, or Making a Successful Introduction
WHERE: The Graduate School (2127 Campus Drive), room 102
REGISTER: https://gradschool.duke.edu/student-life/events/elevator-pitch-or-making-successful-introduction

The elevator pitch can serve as your introduction in networking opportunities. How can you make it as effective as possible? In this workshop, communication expert Joy Javits, President of In the Public Eye, will help you draft, edit, and practice your elevator pitch. You’ll receive feedback on how to sharpen your pitch and establish your professional image in this limited-enrollment workshop.

Pizza provided; please bring your own beverage to enjoy.

Thurs Feb 1, 11:30 am – 1 pm

WHAT: Advanced Time Management
WHERE: Perkins Library, room 217
REGISTER: https://gradschool.duke.edu/student-life/events/advanced-time-management

Join us for a workshop with Joy Birmingham, Senior Practitioner 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.

Pizza will be served; please bring your own beverage.

Mon Feb 5, 12-1:30 pm

How do you describe your five greatest strengths? How can you leverage this information to communicate your capabilities to colleagues and potential employers? Using the CliftonStrengths assessment, this workshop will help you explore a new way to talk about your skills. We will investigate strategies for communicating your strengths to others, the challenges that your strengths might pose for you, and ways you can use information about your strengths to thrive in a team setting. The online CliftonStrengths assessment is offered to all registered participants in this limited-enrollment workshop. Our facilitator is Melissa Bostrom, Ph.D., Assistant Dean for Graduate Student Professional Development.

Because of the limited seats available for this workshop, all participants must agree upon registration to complete the online assessment by February 2 and to attend the 90-minute workshop from on February 5. A code for the online assessment is provided upon registration submission. Registrants who complete the assessment but do not attend the workshop may be asked to reimburse The Graduate School for the cost of the assessment.

Pizza served; please bring your own beverage.

Thurs Feb 15, 3-4:30 pm

Enhance your public speaking skills with coaching from Joy Javits, President of In the Public Eye. This workshop gives you tools, not rules, and an education, not a critique. Please bring a 2-minute presentation and your questions to this limited-enrollment workshop.

Tues Feb 27, 9:30-11:30 am

WHAT: Managing Your Research Career Using an Individual Development Plan (IDP)
WHERE: Rm 143 Jones Bldg
REGISTER: https://gradschool.duke.edu/student-life/events/rcr-forum-managing-your-research-career-using-individual-development-plan-idp-0

For better or for worse, your experiences and the training you receive as graduate students and postdoctoral researchers can greatly impact and shape the rest of your career.  However, there are strategies and resources that can enhance your chances of getting what you came for. During this program participants will learn how to develop clear and specific goals and objectives, along with a plan for executing them. Topics covered include:

  • The importance of setting goals and developing an IDP
  • Introduction to the SMART goals model
  • Resources for crafting and executing your IDP
  • Strategies for establishing expectations and effectively communicating research and career goals with your mentor/PI

SPEAKER: Dara Wilson-Grant, LPC is the Associate Director at the UNC-Chapel Hill Office of Postdoctoral Affairs and a National Certified Career 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.

NOTE: This Forum provides Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) credit. Duke postdocs are required to take yearly RCR training as outlined at http://ors.duke.edu/orsmanual/rcr-postdoctoral-researchers. If you are a Postdoctoral Associate or Postdoctoral Scholar and have attended either the day-long Postdoctoral RCR Forum or the 5-part Trent Center RCR Course, you are thereafter required to attend one RCR Forum (such as this one) every subsequent year of your postdoctoral training.

Thurs Mar 1, 1:30-3pm

WHAT: Converting a CV to a Resume Workshop for Graduate Students and Postdocs
WHERE: Brodhead Center – 068 Multipurpose Room

Non-academic employers typically request that applicants provide a focused 1-2 page resume instead of a more exhaustive CV. What are the essential accomplishments to include in a resume? How do you identify the relevant qualifications that highlight the best of what you have to offer? In this workshop you’ll learn how to convert your CV into a focused, tailored resume that creates a compelling depiction of your significant skills and experiences. You’ll discover the differences between a resume and CV while gaining knowledge about how to demonstrate a strong professional presence.

Thurs Mar 8, 9:30-11 am

WHAT: “Interviewing in the Real World: What to Expect and How to Prepare” with Dara Wilson Grant
WHERE: Rm 143 Jones Bldg
REGISTER: https://tinyurl.com/Spring2018RealWorld

Are you planning to pursue a non-academic career path? If so, you will need to prepare for a style of interviewing that is quite different than the academic interview process – from the interview structure to the types of questions asked. Special attention will be given to a common HR/industry method of interviewing called behavior-based interviewing.

SPEAKER: Dara Wilson-Grant, LPC, Associate Director, UNC-Chapel Hill Office of Postdoctoral Affairs

*Tues Apr 17, 9:30-11 am

WHAT: “How to Avoid Self-Sabotage and Win at Salary Negotiations” with Dara Wilson Grant
WHERE: Rm 143 Jones Bldg
REGISTER: https://tinyurl.com/Spring2018Salary

Let’s face it, for most of us, the negotiation process is one of the most stressful parts of the job search. Not long after the initial excitement of receiving an offer comes panic followed by dread.

  • Do I negotiate for more money and risk seeming pushy or ungrateful?
  • Will I lose this opportunity if I negotiate for too much?
  • What should I ask for?

If one or more of these thoughts swirl through your head when you think about salary negotiations, you are not alone! This workshop is a step-by-step guide to navigating the negotiation process, especially when it comes to managing your emotions.

SPEAKER: Dara Wilson-Grant, LPC, Associate Director, UNC-Chapel Hill Office of Postdoctoral Affairs

*NEW DATE: Tues Apr 17, 9:30-11 am (originally scheduled for Tues Mar 13)