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Beyond the Professoriate

BY JENNIFER POLK | August 25 2017

Ms. Steel explains that the days of staying at one company for an entire career are gone. So accept it, take risks, always learn, and see where it leads.

BY JENNIFER POLK | July 14 2017

Niem Huynh earned her PhD from Wilfrid Laurier University in geography (geography education). She is currently enjoying her role as manager, graduate student recruitment at Concordia University where she works with stakeholders to implement timely and meaningful connections with prospective graduate students. Niem is an explorer of career opportunities, having worked in the high school, […]

BY JENNIFER POLK | June 28 2017

Self-described as intellectually restless, Daniel has pivoted his career to focus on innovation policy.

BY JENNIFER POLK | May 25 2017

“There are no limits to what a PhD can prepare you to do, and what matters most is that you are doing work you find fulfilling and that meets your practical needs, not whether or not your advisers approve or your school sees you as a ‘success.’”

BY JENNIFER POLK | May 18 2017

Since their last Q&As, both Mélanie’s and Kyla’s portfolios have grown, giving them the opportunity to work with a variety of departments.

BY JENNIFER POLK | April 28 2017

I’m gearing up to co-host the Beyond the Professoriate conference once again this May. It’s the fourth annual event, and there’s a great lineup of speakers presenting. I asked our Day 1 (Career Day) panellists to share advice they have for graduate students and PhDs who are seeking – or at least considering – non-faculty careers. How can they […]

BY JENNIFER POLK | April 12 2017

This year’s online career conference for PhDs promises lots of helpful information for both the academic and non-academic job search.

BY JENNIFER POLK | March 31 2017

“I knew what the government needed — someone to help them better respond to the public through thoughtful research design.”

BY JENNIFER POLK | March 21 2017

As a PhD, you can think of research as one of your many useful skills, but it is not necessarily your primary identity.

BY JENNIFER POLK | March 02 2017

Dr. Lisa Bélanger is an award-winning researcher, innovator, and she is CEO of ConsciousWorks, a consulting firm that teaches people how insights from behavioural science can improve their personal and professional lives. Dr. Belanger holds a PhD in behavioural medicine from the University of Alberta, is a certified exercise physiologist, a published author of Inspire Me Well: […]

BY JENNIFER POLK | February 23 2017

“As an anthropologist, I would never have access to the hospital in such ways.”

BY JENNIFER POLK | February 14 2017

Hillary Hutchinson earned a MA in social anthropology and a MEd in higher education administration from the University of Texas at Austin. She’s now a career coach specializing in academic writing and the transition out of academia.

BY JENNIFER POLK | February 01 2017

In early January I travelled to Denver to attend the American Historical Association meeting. I went to represent Beyond the Professoriate — the professional development business that I run with Maren Wood, a fellow history PhD turned entrepreneur. We spoke with graduate students, recent PhDs, and other historians who are interested in non-faculty careers. Many […]

BY JENNIFER POLK | January 18 2017

Joseph Fruscione (PhD, English) contributed to the Transition Q & A series in December 2013 and August 2015. You can read his interviews here and here. After 15 years teaching literature and first-year writing in the Washington, DC, area, he left academia in 2014 for a career as a freelance editor and post-ac consultant. He […]

BY JENNIFER POLK | January 05 2017

A client shared this bit of wisdom with me a while back: Instead of admonishing herself with “I should…” she replaced it with “What if I…?” Reframing the sentiment as an open question turns it into something positive and future-oriented. The answer focuses on the benefits of taking an action, rather than the guilt or […]

BY JENNIFER POLK | December 12 2016

Lino Coria earned his PhD in electrical engineering from the University of British Columbia. He’s currently a computer vision engineer at Wiivv Wearables and partner at Scribble Consulting. Find him online here and follow him on Twitter @linocoria. What did you hope for in terms of employment as you completed your PhD? I wanted to […]

BY JENNIFER POLK | December 01 2016

Jennifer Askey earned her PhD in Germanic languages and literature from Washington University in St. Louis and then worked as an assistant, then associate professor of German at Kansas State University, followed by stints as a special project coordinator at Wilfrid Laurier University, and associate professor in Humanities at McMaster University. She’s currently working part-time […]

BY JENNIFER POLK | November 24 2016

Maura Elizabeth Cunningham earned her PhD in modern Chinese history from the University of California, Irvine in 2014. She’s currently social media manager at the Association for Asian Studies in Ann Arbor, MI. Find her online at and follow her on Twitter @mauracunningham. What did you hope for in terms of employment as you […]

BY JENNIFER POLK | November 18 2016

I work for and largely by myself, and I love it. My graduate school experience was similar in important ways: I worked at home without much externally-imposed structure. It was challenging, and remains so. Even so, this is how I work best. But I do have support. I do have community. These days I have […]

BY JENNIFER POLK | October 19 2016

This may seem like a facile question. A PhD is a doctorate (thanks Google), the terminal degree in many fields. It’s what else it is that’s hard to pin down and get people to agree on. Earlier this month I posed a similar question on Twitter, in the form of a poll. “My PhD is […]