In the Fall, as part of our bi-weekly PREP/IMSD/Carver forum, several speakers visited to present, network, and offer tips related to grad school and careers in biomedical sciences. The topics of discussion were, "What can you do with your PhD?" and "Reflections: Surviving the early years of Graduate School"

dr turner

Dr. Peter Kennelly  discussed job opportunities for biomedical sciences PhDs and the challenges faced in graduate school. Dr. Kennelly focused a lot on how each scholar needs to pay attention and use the PhD to start building a successful career. Some of his advice was "...Career building is an active choice. Once you start on a position you are building a resume for the next one. To build a successful career you need to do a mature self assessment. Always be persistent and when choosing on who to work with for you PhD, always ask the potential mentor "Where are your former students?"


Dr. Alexis White (IMSD Alum, Van Dyke Lab) discussed her work as a Consultant at Newry Corp. With your PhD, "do not close the door on opportunities like consultancy in industry. Dr. White's advice to our scholars was " not give up, because things work out at the end. Also if you plan on going the industry route, keep in mind that even with a PhD you will start at a middle/low position, but it will be very easy to be promoted."


Dr. Diane Kawa (Director, Scientific Affairs @ BD Life Sciences)  spoke about confronting challenges both in graduate school and as a research scientist in industry.  She counseled that you should "be mindful that a successful career in industry and anywhere else  does not follow a straight line."  To be successful, "you should take the opportunities that are presented to you".


VT alum, Dr. Tanea Reed (Associate Professor and Chair of the Chemistry Department at Eastern Kentucky University) advised the trainees to not be afraid of changing paths to accommodate situations and challenges that may arise. Seek out mentors and appreciate their support and counsel.


Shakarr Wiggins (PREP Alum, VandeVord Lab), PhD candidate in Neuroscience at Weill Cornell  Medicine. Shakarr spoke about her journey in PREP and her success in the early years, but yet difficult, in graduate school. Some advice that she provided to our scholars was "....During the early years, communication with your advisor and committee is important. Also make sure you manage your time wisely and stay active."

ms blake

Dr. Kacie Blackman (IMSD Alum, Zoellner), currently an Assistant Professor at California State University Northridge met with our scholars in October. Dr. Blackman spoke about her transition from a research analyst in the Department of Public Health in LA County to a career in academia. 

Other Speakers included:

Simone Campbell (PREP Alum, Sewall), PhD candidate in Neuroscience at Emory University,

- Dr. Charlotte Amenkhienan