How does a student become a scientist, an educator, a consultant, or an entrepreneur?
Graduate school is a very challenging time. Juggling research, classes, writing, and the occasional extracurricular activity can drain even the most organized person out of most of their time. Keeping up with the demands is hard enough that most graduate students don’t even start thinking about their careers post-graduation until the very end of their program.
However, completing a graduate program is not an end goal; rather an additional step to teach students advanced skills essential to work in certain fields and professional roles. Being able to think long-term is an absolute must. The problem is, however, that outside of academic positions, most career options remain obscure for most graduate students.
To help students learn about the many opportunities available in the biomedical field, Dr. Teresa Evans came to speak at EnventureSA’s second “Inspire” seminar.
With about half of Ph.D. graduates in biological, agricultural and environmental sciences end up working outside academia, Dr. Evans showed that those graduates will enter in a very diverse and heterogeneous job market.
However, while choosing a career path can be a very stressful time for senior students, Dr. Evans had some encouraging words. The reality, she explained, is that most career paths are not linear at all. In fact, after graduating from UT Health San Antonio with a Ph.D. in Neuroscience, Dr. Evans worked in very different fields herself, ranging from education, research, investment, consulting, and clinical trials.
Dr. Evans also highlighted the fact that the first job after college does not determine your career, and that students should instead concentrate more on a job’s potential for personal development and networking.
On networking, Dr. Evans mentioned that it is not a formality where you just ask a few questions and check a few boxes. Instead, it is crucial to be genuinely interested and to try to really learn about other people and their careers. These meaningful connections will then create more, and soon a few key people become a vast network which can help you find ample opportunities.
Dr. Evans also explained that it is very important to be proactive and create your own opportunities to explore areas you are interested in. Volunteering work, networking, and other extracurricular activities can go a very long way in terms of giving you experience in specific settings which can then turn in new unexpected opportunities.
In addition to these topics on professional development, the seminar also covered other areas, from the issue of the gender gap in STEM careers, to the ways to balance work and personal life.
Finally, the audience was also able to ask many questions directly to Dr. Evans, allowing the people in the audience to expand more in details certain topics more relevant to their own experiences.
About The Author
Carlo Vanz is an international student from Italy and a first year Ph.D. student in the Molecular Immunology and Microbiology discipline of the Integrated Biomedical Sciences program. He works in the lab of Dr. Elizabeth Leadbetter where he studies the role of iNKT cells and B cells in inflammation related to obesity. He is also a member of EnventureSA where he helps organize events to expose graduate students with professionals from the biomedical industry.