Careers Beyond the Academy: A Workshop and Discussion

Careers Beyond the Academy: A Workshop and Discussion

Careers Beyond the Academy: A Workshop and Discussion

Joel Kastner

October 15, 2018


Joel Kastner, Professor, Center for Imaging Science and School of Physics & Astronomy at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), and a 2017 Merle A. Tuve Fellow, spent the last year as Chair of the AAS Committee on Employment.  He presented timely data and relevant information on career paths outside the world of academic research – some of it drawn from sources like the American Institute of Physics, and some from his own experiences and those of his Ph.D. students out there in industry and/or national labs.  The workshop included discussion/Q&A among the postdocs in attendance.

A few takeaways:

  • Sometimes selection is just being in the right place at the right time.
  • Never burn bridges if you do not get the position.  Always thank your interviewers for their time.  They may end up calling you back.
  • Statistics for tenure track positions in astronomy are flat.
  • If the prospect of fighting for grad students, postdocs, and summer salary seems overwhelming, consider industry.
  • Search outside the AAS for posted industry jobs.
  • Strengthen the skills industry looks for:  i.e., Python coding or programming skills.

Check out the American Institute of Physics (AIP) for statistical information and the American Astronomical Society (AAS) for articles and books on Nonacademic Career Advice.

In attendance:

Postdocs:  Jessica Arnold, Jaehan Bae, Asmaa Boujibar, Stephen Elardo, Zach Geballe, Doug Hemingway, Helen Janiszewski, Amol Karandikar, Amanda Lindoo, Kathleen McKee, Mijanur Rahaman, My Riebe, Shi Sim, Nate Sime, Wan Si Tang, Jonathan Tucker, Sharon Wang, Matthew Ward, Jing Yang.   Others:  Alan Boss, Rick Carlson, Janice Dunlap, Steve Shirey, Alycia Weinberger