Diverse Career Paths

Diverse Career Paths

Diverse Career Paths

Erika Nesvold, T.J. Rodigas, Shoshana Weider, Cecily Wolfe

May 15, 2019


On 15 May 2019, four former DTM Postdoctoral Fellows gathered in the Abelson Collaboration Center to lead an informal Postdoctoral Development discussion regarding their respective career choices. 

  1. Erika Nesvold: Former Carnegie Fellow in Astrophysics from 2015-2017, currently an Astrophysicist and Video Game Developer at Universe Sandbox
  2. T.J. Rodigas: Former Carnegie and Hubble Fellow from 2013-2017, currently a Senior Imaging Scientist at Applied Defense Solutions
  3. Shoshana Weider: Former Carnegie MESSENGER Fellow from 2011-2014, currently a Program Officer, Planetary Science Division, at NASA Headquarters
  4. Cecily Wolfe: Former Carnegie Harry Oscar Wood Fellow (1994-1996) and former Adjunct Investigator (1998-1999), currently the ANSS Coordinator and Associate Program Coordinator for Earthquake Hazards, Global Seismographic Network, and Geomagnetism Programs at the U.s. Geological Survey

Our panelists took turns introducing themselves and talking about the paths that took them to their current place/type of employment.  Some of the advice they provided for our current postdocs:

  • If you are interested in a career outside the teaching profession, google the jobs in which you are interested as a first step in information gathering
  • Find out what skills are needed to make you employable outside academia:  coding, python, C++, writing, blogging, editing
  • Create a resume vs a CV and include many of the skills you gained while being a postdoc; don't hold back and don't go light, make it detailed
  • Remember to sell yourself as someone who can learn very quickly (after all you do have a PhD, even if the position does not require a PhD) and are self disciplined
  • Don't get discouraged if you need to apply to many jobs, you just end up getting better at doing so!
  • Prepare for your interviews
  • Have a good website
  • Volunteer as much as you can, be a reviewer on a panel; attend meetings, that is how you network with others
  • Sometimes, it just comes down to luck:  being at the right place at the right time for that particular position 

Discussions included the prospect/pros/cons of having a "boss," work hours, and time sheets.