Dr. Viviane Callier
Viviane Callier is a scientist turned science writer. She currently writes for the National Cancer Institute’s Office of Communications and Public Liaison, and freelances part-time. Having been a contractor for the federal government for three years, she has a solid understanding of the many options available to scientists in the federal government and in the government-contracting world, which include careers in science writing, policy, diplomacy, technology transfer, regulatory affairs, and program management. She is excited to help recent STEM PhDs pursue opportunities in these areas.
As a freelance writer, she has written op-eds and news articles for a variety of places including Science, The Atlantic, New Scientist, and others. She has written about biomedical training, funding, and workforce issues for Nature, The Scientist, Chronicle Vitae, among others. She is an associate editor for the National Postdoctoral Association’s POSTDOCket newsletter. Using her freelance writing and editing experience, she enjoys coaching recent PhDs of all backgrounds who are interested in becoming freelance writers.
She graduated summa cum laude from Mount Holyoke College; was a Churchill Scholar at Cambridge University, and earned her Ph.D. in biology at Duke University, before doing a postdoc at Arizona State University. She has published several peer-reviewed articles, including first-author papers in Science and PNAS. @vcallier on Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Viviane’s Consulting philosophy:
As scientist who departed the lab bench not too long ago, I have a clear idea of the challenges faced by graduate student and postdocs in the biological and biomedical sciences. My own departure was precipitated by a re-examination of my values and a search for how I could build a life that is consistent with those values.
I believe the key to alt-ac success is to dig deep and understand the motivations that underlie your goals. For example, if your goal was ever to become a tenure-track professor, your underlying motivations might be things like: the freedom to work on questions you find interesting; the ability to control your own schedule; the prestige/recognition; the money (just joking). The thing is, the tenure track is not the only place you can get these things.
In my current life, freelancing provides me with the intellectual freedom that I loved in academia; my government contracting job pays better than a postdoc, provides a steady stream of work and income, and provides networking opportunities on the NIH campus. The approach I’ve taken is to identify the specific things I value (needs that I want my work to satisfy), and then find ways of assembling work from a variety of sources that will fulfill each of those needs.
As an alt-ac consultant, I will help you systematically identify your values, and help you to find ways to build a work life that is compatible with these values. Then, I’ll provide practical guidance and support for making your transition, networking, building relevant experience, applying for jobs. For those interested in freelancing, I will coach you on pitching and writing for a variety of publications.
Dr. Vania Cao
Vania Cao is a neuroscientist, strategic communicator and enthusiast in many other fields, with professional experience in writing, reporting, video creation and more. She received her Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Brown University and the National Institutes of Health Graduate Partnerships Program in 2013, and is a published writer and illustrator in a variety of mediums. She has written articles for newspapers, interviewed fellow scientists, deans and ambassadors, authored white papers and product descriptions, written blog posts for startups and recorded voiceovers. Scientific illustration and 3D modeling are among her professional artistic skills, along with digital painting and video editing. She sings for fun, and has hosted and MCed a variety of different events. Vania transitioned out of academia after graduate school, and loves her job managing scientific content and training at a biotech startup in Silicon Valley. She firmly believes that the value of scientific know-how packaged in real world skillsets is a devastatingly effective way to launch any graduate’s career, but that especially for those who have primarily wet lab research experience, it’s extremely important to begin preparing for possibilities and opportun
Check out my publications and work on my LinkedIn Page: https://www.linkedin.com/in/
Vania’s Consulting Philosophy:
When you feel like your research skillsets aren’t able to help you get started in a career away from the bench, this can be frustrating and terrifying, especially when you feel alone in your struggles. But never fear; you’re definitely not alone! I’m ready to discuss your background, concerns and ideas, and help you put together a concrete action plan to explore your options in tangible ways. Let’s improve your writing, interview skills, and most importantly, change the way you think about yourself and your options moving forward. I have counseled both native and visiting scholars about their career paths and interests, and have edited and coached on how to create effective cover letters and resumes. Have questions about what kinds of skills employers care about? Wondering what to focus on in interviews? Need advice on how to deal with different relationships that affect your career progress? Curious about the realities of working out in the “real world” with cubicles and coworkers? Let’s get started!
Dr. Karen Cardozo [On hiatus until late Spring 2018]
Karen Cardozo first worked as a career counselor at Harvard in the 1990’s and returned to the field at Williams College twenty years later in 2012. In between, she completed her Masters in Higher Education Administration at Harvard in 1993 and a PhD in literary American studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2005. Before, during and after earning her doctorate she worked as a dean at Mount Holyoke College and taught 18 discrete courses including ethnic, gender, film, literary and trauma studies across the Five College Consortium (Amherst, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke, Smith and UMass). She went on to be tenured as Associate Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in the Berkshires, before taking up a new position in January 2018 as Executive Director of Career Development at Hollins University in Roanoke, VA (a senior staff role reporting directly to the president). Karen identifies primarily as a developer of authentic and whole human beings, and tries to be one herself by meditating, spending time with family and friends, hiking with her dog Sadie, and making music with her indie rock band (www.showofcards.com). Read more about Karen’s bio in this autobiographical post. Contact Karen at firstname.lastname@example.org or find her on LinkedIn. Find her at LinkedIn here.
Karen’s consulting philosophy:
With a Masters in Higher Education Administration and a variety of work experiences on 8 different campuses (R1 and SLACs, public and private, single-sex and coed), I have significant institutional knowledge and expertise on Alt-Ac careers as well as related diversity issues. As a generalist MBTI-certified former career counselor, I’m also well-suited to offer a robust diagnostic approach to broader career change possibilities. And because I’m an interdisciplinary scholar currently located in the tenure system, I am well-placed to help you consider the comparative merits of academic versus nonacademic jobs, as well as the transferable potential of your scholarly background. Finally, as an aspiring yogi, singer-songwriter, and parent, I can empathize with and support your larger efforts to compose a satisfying and meaningful life.
Dr. Maggie Gover [On hiatus until Summer 2018]
Maggie Gover serves as the Director for Professional Development at the University of California, Riverside. Her career is dedicated to helping students successfully complete their graduate degrees and then transition into successful professional lives. As such, she has quite a bit of experience helping students identify industries in which they may be successful and describing their graduate careers in ways that might be attractive to those industries. While she is most knowledgeable in alternative academic jobs, she has helped students transition into private industry, government, and non-profit jobs as well. Maggie’s service to students began when she was an undergraduate at the University of Southern California where she served as an intern in the Office of Admissions. While she was completing her Master’s degree at the University of Oxford she served as a Junior Dean at St. Hilda’s College. When she was a PhD candidate at UCR she was the Coordinator for Academic Preparation and Outreach and then the Graduate Student Mentorship Program Coordinator. While she is now primarily an administrator, she is still researching and publishing in theories of new media and 19th C visual sciences. Get in touch with Maggie at email@example.com
Dr. Laura Graham
Laura Graham began her career in higher education in the UK as a Lecturer at Queen’s University Belfast while completing her PhD in Sociology. Her academic career included faculty positions at Tufts University and Trinity College Dublin. In 2014, she started a copy editing business working exclusively with academic clients on scholarly publications. She later expanded her business to include resume editing and post-academic transition consulting. In 2017, she transitioned out of academia to pursue a full time legal career. She currently holds a position in the judicial branch of government while pursuing her J.D. She is also on the editing team at The Professor Is In. Laura’s prior experience working in the legal profession, NGOs, and government has provided a wealth of knowledge that compliments her consultant work.
Laura’s consulting philosophy:
Having worked closely with academic clients through my editing business and at The Professor Is In, I have significant knowledge of the unique challenges that many academics face in both the American and British-Irish job markets. I have coached a number of clients dealing with the two body problem, contingency, and those wanting to use their doctorates outside the academy. I specialize in helping clients consider their transition to non-academic employment and assembling competitive job application materials that reflect their transferable skills and experience. In addition, I offer interview coaching and negotiation advice that is qualitatively different from the strategies used in higher education employment.
Dr. Richard Graham
Richard is the CEO of the music technology company, Delta Sound Labs, where he used his experience in arts and engineering to guide the formation of a team of specialists who are now developing products for music, film, and game industries. His company was recently resident at the Technicolor Experience Center in Los Angeles where the team worked on a series of spatial audio systems using motion capture technology for music composition and visual effects production. Richard also serves as a consultant on music production and continues to teach in community-based education programs in the mid-south, including recent engagements with Stax Music Academy and Memphis Slim Collaboratory. While Richard’s engagements lie predominantly outside of the academy, he continues to serve as a music and paper reviewer for the New Interfaces for Musical Expression (NIME) community.
Richard earned his PhD (2012) in Music Technology at Ulster University in Northern Ireland. He held a tenure-track appointment at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, New Jersey from 2012-2017. His research concerns performance systems design and spatial audio. During his time in academe, Richard performed and presented his work at venues around the world, including Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Nokia Bell Laboratories, Audio Engineering Society, Berklee College of Music, Korean Electro-Acoustic Music, Sonic Arts Research Centre at Queen’s University Belfast, and Trinity College Dublin. He was also artist in residence at world-renowned electronic music studios, including STEIM in Amsterdam and EMS in Stockholm. In his post-academic career, Richard now finds the time to run a company, as well as compose and perform his own music.
Richard’s Consulting Philosophy:
Having made the decision to leave academia quite recently, I am still very much aware of the anxiety that comes with such a daunting transition, particularly when leaving a tenure track appointment. I will help you establish yourself as an independent artist or musician and to leverage your academic networks in the context of creative industry, including identifying where your skill sets may be applicable in tangentially related fields that increasingly require audio experts, such as the gaming, film, and visual effects industries. I can advise on setting up a business and the entrepreneurial career path, as well as assist with tailoring a curriculum vitae into a job-specific resume. Given my transatlantic background, I am available to work with clients in both European and US job markets.
Dr. Darcy Hannibal
Darcy Hannibal is a behavioral biologist, primatologist, and anthropologist working in applied
primatology on the welfare of captive primates. Her non-traditional career path, post-PhD, started with a continuation of the data consulting work she began while in graduate school, followed by a staff job as a data analyst and laboratory manager at the University of California Davis. She is currently an Assistant Project Scientist in the Department of Population Health & Reproduction at the University of California Davis. Darcy loves working in an on-campus academic job outside of the tenure track, where she gets to work with interesting people and monkeys on a variety of fascinating projects. Along with writing publications and grants, she manages behavioral research projects, which includes recruiting, hiring, and supervising laboratory staff. In addition to mentoring the staff she works with on their career goals and development, resumes, and cover letters, she has reviewed hundreds of job applications and conducted interviews as a prospective supervisor. Darcy sees the mistakes PhDs make when applying for non-academic jobs and she can help you avoid them. Find Darcy at: @DarcyHannibal and Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/
Darcy’s Consulting Philosophy:
Our academic training, hobbies, and other experiences provide us with skills that can translate to non-academic jobs, but it takes some preparation to re-orient yourself and become a contender for these jobs. Your plan B is someone else’s plan A, so you need a B-game brought up to an A-game level. If you are feeling confused and reticent about how and where to start, I can work with you to identify potential career paths and develop an individualized career strategy based on your background, interests, and skills. I am here to help you re-craft your CV and academic letter into a resume and cover letter that will get you interviews for the jobs you want. The best cover letters, resumes, and interviews come from a combination of succinctly presenting who you are as a professional and doing your homework to find out what and who are behind the job ad. There are probably at least a handful of niches you could fill in any one job and love it, but there is one niche a prospective employer most wants to fill and it usually is not obvious from the ad alone. Your best shot at filling a position for a job you would love, is to fine tune your application materials and interviewing skills to make you an obvious top choice for it. Whether you are from a science, social science, humanities, or other background, the principles I employ to help you shift from an academic to a non-academic career path are largely the same. Working with you on your next step forward will be a rewarding and fun venture for both of us.
Dr. Lisa Munro
Lisa Munro holds a PhD in modern Latin American history from the University of Arizona (2015). She considers herself a historian-practitioner, editor, and writer. She recently made the leap to full-time self-employment. She provides editing, writing coaching, and teaching for academic and non-fiction writers.
In addition to helping writers tell their stories, she also helps people in transition tell new stories about themselves and envision new futures. In her post-ac life, she blogs about the emotional process of transitioning out of academia and the discovery of creative, joyful, and fulfilling career possibilities outside of academia.
She has a particular interest in supporting people through emotional process of healing after grief and trauma. She has worked with people in Guatemala traumatized by decades of state violence and with victims of violent crime as an advocate. Both experiences have led her to expand public conversations on issues of identity loss and trauma inherent to leaving the academic life, as well as sparked a deep interest in how people tell their personal stories and integrate new experiences and unexpected journeys.
In addition, she has held a number of non-academic jobs, including being a veterinary technician, a Peace Corps volunteer in Guatemala, a patient representative in a bilingual hospital office for uninsured patients, a study abroad assistant, a temp in non-profits, a crime victim advocate, and most recently, a disaster mental health responder in Puerto Rico.
In 2018, she’s organizing writing retreats, online classes, and dedicating more time to her own writing. Current projects include writing an emotional guide to the writing process, several unfinished novels, an academic book manuscript, and a weekly blog about trauma, transitions, and healing. Her focus word for the upcoming year is THRIVE. See more about her philosophy in this guest post: Leaving Academia: Learning to Grieve and this one:
Leaving Academia: The Trauma of Identity Loss
I strive to create empowering and safe spaces for people to explore new options and ideas. I believe that people are their own best experts on their work, lives, and experiences. I’m at my absolute best when I’m helping people get into the driver’s seat of their lives and supporting them in their efforts to make decisions in their own best interests.
I believe that self-knowledge is self-power. Too often our deep values, beliefs, and talents become crushed under our academic personas. Only by rediscovering who we really are and what we really want can we move forward to become the people we were meant to be. I want to know who you are, what you value, and what you want.
I encourage people to think bigger than academia. I urge people to get out into the world and volunteer, do informational interviews, and think hard and deep about what they really love and want. I want people searching for new career options to use their deepest desires to create a life and career that they love more than they loved academia.
Leaving academia and stepping into the post-ac life often requires a period of grief, adjustment, and healing. The aftermath of leaving the academic life for the unknown is often confusing, messy, and full of unexpected turns. However, our greatest moment of crisis often turns into our greatest moment of opportunity.
I’m passionate about supporting people through difficult emotional processes. Working with victims of violent crime and state-sponsored violence showed me how the stories we tell ourselves are often the most powerful. I don’t believe that we ever get over loss or trauma; we’re healing and moving forward when start to tell our new post-ac stories in ways that empower us.
Storytelling also influences my approach to crafting job materials, which, after all, are just stories about ourselves. I work with job seekers to tell their stories (especially the scattered ones) in ways that make sense to employers as coherent and powerful narratives that highlight people’s originality and strengths.
I value compassion, critical thinking, and creativity.
Dr. Jessica Langer
Jessica Langer holds a PhD in English and is CEO of ideas in flight, a social media and digital marketing agency that specializes in strategy, training and implementation for SMEs. A veteran marketer with a decade’s experience in the field and a seasoned lecturer who’s been teaching since 2006, Jessica currently runs her business full-time and teaches in the Department of Marketing at the Schulich School of Business at York University and in the McMaster-Syracuse Master of Communications Management program. She is also devoted to helping her PhD-holding peers find paths out of academia and into fulfilling, sustaining work in the ‘outside world’. Check out some excellent post-ac content on the ideas in flight site above, and find Jessica on Twitter at
Jessica’s Consulting Philosophy:
I’m a marketer by trade, and I’ve been doing it for a long time; I’m also an entrepreneur who runs a successful, profitable and growing company. And I’ve done it all while balancing family life. My goal is to help you market yourself to get where you want to go, and to help you find and secure the opportunities that will help you get there. Whether you’re looking for a job or looking to start your own business, particularly if you have other aspects of your life that you need to include in the bigger picture, I can give you expert advice from someone who’s been there. Thing is, though, I don’t do nice. I tell it like it is. If you’re barking up the wrong tree, I’ll tell you. My goal for you is to help you find something to do for a living that’s both attractive and achievable for you.
Dr. Jason Tebbe
Jason Tebbe is a former academic who has been teaching for three years at an independent high school in New York City. He received his PhD in German History from the University of Illinois-Urbana/Champaign in 2006, and went on to be a visiting professor for two years and an assistant professor for three years after that before seeing the light. He is the author of the blog Notes from the Ironbound (KK: where he has excellent post-ac content) and still maintains active research projects on the history of memory and travel. Find him on Twitter at @wernerherzbear.
Jason’s Consulting Philosophy:
I am a former academic with experience on both the contingent and tenure tracks who has made the transition to teaching at an independent high school in Manhattan. Having recently made this change, I have a lot of expertise in applying for jobs at private schools, and plenty of advice on how to navigate the culture of private schools, which differs quite a bit from the academic application process. I can provide tips for finding jobs, fashioning application materials, interviewing, and adjusting to life in a new profession.
Dr. Margy Thomas
Margy Thomas, Ph.D., helps people distill their knowledge and skills into cohesive, articulate, distinctive stories. Since early 2013, she has run her own academic writing consultation and editing service, ScholarShape, LLC, where she works with academics around the world and across disciplines on turning their research into compelling publications. Through TPII, she applies this same skill to helping academics articulate, in written form, the work they do (and want to do) beyond the academy.
Margy’s consulting philosophy:
In one-on-one out-ac consultation with Margy, she’ll help you define and articulate the unique value you have to offer the world. You’ll work together to plan, draft, and revise copy for your website, marketing emails, and other important documents that communicate your urgent and authentic message to the world outside the academy. She’ll help you find just the right words to connect with potential clients, customers, and contacts, and move your out-ac career forward. NOTE: Services with Margy are typically booked 6 – 10 weeks in advance.