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By JENNIFER POLK | March 31 2016

Nathaniel Bean works at the Detroit Symphony Orchestra’s Wu Family Academy of Learning & Engagement as their education librarian & program assistant. At the DSO, he is part of a team that manages a large youth orchestra program that serves nearly 450 metro Detroit youth. Nathaniel is in the fourth year of the Doctor of […]

By JENNIFER POLK | March 21 2016

Jennifer De Mello earned her PhD in Chemistry from the University of Georgia (USA). She’s currently a senior business analyst at Manheim Wholesale Auto Auctions. You can find her on LinkedIn. What did you hope for in terms of employment as you completed your PhD? I had expected to go into industry after my PhD. […]

By JENNIFER POLK | February 24 2016

One of the pieces of advice I give people considering their options after a PhD is to take risks. Not big ones, but small ones. One at a time. These risks can take the form of drafting a resumé, just for yourself. Or conducting an informational interview, even with someone you already know. Or perhaps simply […]

By JENNIFER POLK | February 11 2016

I recently spoke with a humanities PhD who’s having difficulty securing meaningful employment. After a one-year stint as a professor soon after he graduated, he’s worked for a private company for the past 18 months. “General office work,” he told me. “This used to be a summer job, and they hired me full-time in part […]

By JENNIFER POLK | January 28 2016

Occasionally I’m asked about quitting, particularly “quitting” a PhD program. This happened several times last week, when I was in Vancouver. Contrary to what you may hear or what your own internal critics tell you, there’s no shame in moving on. I remember a long post on a Versatile PhD forum from “PJ,” an ABD […]

By JENNIFER POLK | January 19 2016

Earlier this month I attended the American Historical Association conference in Atlanta. Although I earned my PhD in history, this was my first time at the annual event. I didn’t go to present a paper or otherwise talk about my research, and I didn’t go to interview for an academic job. I went to co-host […]

By JENNIFER POLK | December 16 2015

My friend Lisa Munro, a fellow history PhD who works as an academic editor and writing consultant, cut right to the chase in a recent blog post. “Sticking to a writing schedule is difficult because it requires me to prioritize myself,” she wrote. This resonates with me because – lo and behold – I’m not […]

By JENNIFER POLK | November 25 2015

Alison Norman earned her PhD in history from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto. She’s currently a Research Advisor in the Ontario Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs. She’s also a Research Associate in the Frost Centre for Canadian Studies and Indigenous Studies at the School for the Study of Canada, […]

By JENNIFER POLK | November 10 2015

In this post I’m going to tell you how much money I’m making and how I’m making it. I’m doing this because I think it’s important to have conversations about money, especially among freelancers. I want to help potential business owners learn more about the process of starting out, and I share my own experience […]

By JENNIFER POLK | November 04 2015

Kenna Barrett earned her PhD in English with a specialization in rhetoric and composition from the University of Rhode Island. She returned to her doctoral studies after 12 years in nonprofit fund development, nine of those at Yale University in New Haven. She’s currently Director of Development for the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) […]

By JENNIFER POLK | October 28 2015

Last week the US National Endowment for the Humanities announced a major new funding initiative for career preparation programming for graduate students. In response, professor and higher ed commentator Marc Bousquet argued that there was little need for these programs: While no one is going to argue against supporting degree holders who search for nonprofessorial […]

By JENNIFER POLK | October 19 2015

Last week I participated in an event for engineering graduate students at McMaster University. I was interviewed over Google Hangout by three students. They asked me excellent questions about my career. It was a fun experience, and one that got me thinking. I went “straight through”: high school, BA, MA, PhD. By the time I […]

By JENNIFER POLK | October 06 2015

Paul Hartley trained as an ethnomusicologist at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, where he is currently a PhD candidate. He worked on music production practices in the Turkish film industry with the help of an IIE Fulbright grant, but now works as Sr. Resident Anthropologist and Head of Human Futures at Idea Couture, a […]

By JENNIFER POLK | September 29 2015

Christine Buske earned her PhD in cell and systems biology from the University of Toronto. She is a recovering academic who spent about ten years in research, studying the effects of low dose embryonic alcohol exposure on the development of social behavior and the brain. Little did she know she would be moving to a real life […]

By JENNIFER POLK | September 23 2015

When I finished my PhD, my dissertation turned into a book manuscript. I worked on it for several months, on and off, even writing a book proposal that I aimed to send to academic publishers. My intention back then was to publish a book based largely on my dissertation. The closest I came was to […]

By JENNIFER POLK | September 15 2015

Pablo Dominguez Andersen earned his PhD in modern history from the Humboldt University of Berlin. He currently works as a content manager at interactive tools, a digital agency in Berlin. Find Pablo online here, and follow him on Twitter @palmo_imhoff. He’s also on LinkedIn and What did you hope for in terms of employment […]

By JENNIFER POLK | August 25 2015

Sara Langworthy earned her PhD in developmental psychology from the University of Minnesota. She’s currently an educator at University of Minnesota Extension’s Children, Youth and Family Consortium and an organizational consultant and co-founder of The Exchange Loop organizational consulting firm. Sara is the author of Bridging the Relationship Gap: Connecting with Children Facing Adversity. Find […]

By JENNIFER POLK | August 17 2015

Joseph Fruscione (PhD, English) contributed to the Transition Q & A series in December 2013. You can read his interview here. He was then teaching first-year writing in George Washington’s University writing program and beginning a post-academic career as freelance editor, writer, and tutor. Since leaving academia in May 2014, I’ve done a lot of […]

By JENNIFER POLK | July 27 2015

Kimberley Yates (PhD, English) contributed to the Transition Q & A series in March 2013. Read her interview here. She was then associate director of the Jackman Humanities Institute at the University of Toronto. I am still employed as associate director, Jackman Humanities Institute, University of Toronto.  My job duties have developed into a greater […]

By JENNIFER POLK | July 15 2015

John Robertson earned his PhD in medical biophysics from the University of Western Ontario in 2011. He currently works for the Techna Institute in Toronto as a Research Communications Officer. John also recently published a book on investing for regular people called The Value of Simple: A Practical Guide to Taking the Complexity Out of […]