Our Moving On Team



Dr. Matt Bakker

Dr. Matthew Bakker has spent many years working for the Federal Government. Beginning with a term Research Associate position (equivalent to a post-doc at a university), he subsequently competed successfully for a principal-investigator-level staff scientist position with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. After 6 years with USDA, he has just transitioned back to academia and he is now an Assistant Professor in the Department of Microbiology at the University of Manitoba, Canada.  His background is in Plant Pathology (University of Minnesota).  Dr. Bakker’s research addresses questions in microbial ecology, microbiomes, and connections between microbiology and the productivity and sustainability of crop production.

Find Matthew on LinkedIn at: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mattbakker/

Matthew’s Consulting Philosophy:

None of us have the breadth of experience to be able to intuitively know what our ideal career would look like; it is important to remain open to new possibilities and to be willing to reimagine ourselves in unexpected roles. As a graduate student, surrounded by people who had chosen the academic track, some of the damaging propensities and baggage associated with this career path became obvious over time. I began to wonder whether alternative career destinations existed that might offer a structure that was more conducive to a balanced whole-life experience. I was surprised to discover options for scientific research within the federal government that offered intellectual challenge, scientific freedom, and also reasonable and clear performance expectations. I will help you explore whether options in government could provide a good fit, and work with you to successfully navigate ‘the system’.


Dr. Vania Cao

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 opportunities beyond the bench as soon as possible!|

Check out my publications and work on my LinkedIn Page: https://www.linkedin.com/in/vaniacao, or tweet me @vaniacao

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

Karen Cardozo started in career counseling at Harvard in the 1990’s and returned to the field two decades later. In between, she completed a Masters in Higher Education Administration at Harvard (1993) and PhD in English/American Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst (2005).  Before, during and after the PhD she worked as a dean at Mount Holyoke and taught a wide range of courses in the Five College Consortium of Western Massachusetts. When a tenure track position didn’t materialize, Karen made a Real-Ac turn back to career development at Williams College, only to then land a tenure-track position in Interdisciplinary Studies at MCLA in the Berkshires, where she introduced a new course on the changing world of work and ultimately gained tenure). Karen was recruited thereafter for the role of Executive Director of Career Development at Hollins University in Roanoke, VA. That experience launched her into her current position as AVP of Career Design at Northeastern University in Boston. Karen identifies primarily as a developer of whole human beings, and tries to be one herself by meditating, spending time with her husband and sons, hiking with her dog Sadie, and making music with her band, Show of Cards (showofcards.com). You can email her at cardozok1@gmail.com or find her on LinkedIn here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/karen-cardozo-5a7b497a/

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

Maggie Gover’s 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 UC Riverside she was the Coordinator for Academic Preparation and Outreach and then the Graduate Student Mentorship Program Coordinator, and later the Director of Graduate Student Professional and Academic Development. While she is now primarily an administrator, she is still researching and publishing in theories of new media and 19th C visual sciences.

Maggie’s Consulting Philosophy:
I am a strong supporter of graduate education and think that society benefits from having those incredibly creative and analytic minds in diverse industries.  I want to help students find careers that are satisfying to them and in which they will excel.  Remember that no career search is easy!  It will take hard work, knowledge, dedication, and perseverance.  However, the great joy of working with graduate students is that they have dedication and perseverance in spades!  You bring that to the table, and I can help with the knowledge.

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

Dr. Darcy Hannibal

Darcy Hannibal is a biological anthropologist working in data analytics and data science. 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 then worked as an Assistant Project Scientist in the Department of Population Health & Reproduction at the University of California Davis. As of September 2018, Darcy works as the Principal Analyst of Student Success in the Office of Budget and Institutional Analysis at UC Davis. During her time as a Lab Manager and Project Scientist, she managed primate behavioral research projects, which included recruiting, hiring, and supervising laboratory staff. In addition to mentoring the staff on their career goals and development, resumes, and cover letters, she reviewed hundreds of job applications and conducted interviews as a prospective supervisor. Darcy has seen 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/darcyhannibal

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, learn how to describe your skills in a compelling way, 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. 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. 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. Some clients I work already have a lead on a potential job and just need job application material and interview services. If that is true for you, then jumping right into those services is fine. Many clients, however, need assistance with building a job search strategy and for those clients a 50-minute consult is needed before working on job documents. Although good job documents are essential, few prospective employers will look at them if you don’t have a sound job search strategy. In the initial 50-minute consult, we will go over work history and interests, what path you envision for your career going forward, areas where your job materials need improvement, the importance of building a professional network and how to do that, where to find potential jobs, how to pitch yourself for the jobs you want, services you may want going forward, and any other specific concerns you may have. For clients interested in a career in analytics, I provide specific guidance on their analytical skills and translating these for non-academic jobs. Working with you on your next step forward will be a rewarding and fun venture for both of us!

I encourage you to read my blog posts to get an overview of my perspective on job documents and other elements of the job search:

Dr. Jane Jones

Jane Jones, PhD is the founder of Up In Consulting, an editing and consulting business. She works with academic writers as well as writers of serious nonfiction to develop systems to sustain effective writing routines and habits. In her capacity as an editor, she provides developmental editing services to writers of articles, book proposals, and book manuscripts.

Jane earned her PhD in Sociology from New York University in 2010. She worked as a tenure-track assistant professor for three years, then was a fellow at the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS). She started her business in 2014.

Jane’s Coaching Philosophy

Many academics who are starting businesses have internal resistance to developing their identity as a business person. If they intend to serve academics, they believe that marketing to other academics requires a secret formula, or that academics are an indecipherable niche market. Most folks leaving academia also have deeply held beliefs that marketing is “grimy,” no matter who their audience is. They have a conviction that their work should speak for itself.

I coach people who are thinking of starting businesses – or have already started one – and are struggling to put themselves out there as a businessperson. I also help you develop strategies for confronting your resistance to embracing their new identities as business owners. Together, we will identify promotional strategies that feel authentic and aligned with your personal values.

Dr. Lisa Munro

Lisa Munro is a writer, editor, and study abroad director. She has a PhD in Latin American history from the University of Arizona (2015). She founded a small, independent writing business that helps writers get their ideas out into the world through writing retreats, personal support, and academic editing. In her day job, she helps transform the lives of undergraduate students through experiential learning as part of a study abroad program based in Mexico. She has held many non-academic jobs, including serving as a Peace Corps volunteer (Guatemala, 2004-2006), crime victim advocate, various temp jobs, a medical receptionist, and a short term disaster mental health responder in Puerto Rico in 2017. Her current focus word for 2020 is RECEIVING. She lives in Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico.

Her coaching philosophy seeks to honor the loss and grief of life transitions while inviting people to draw on their own internal strength to rediscover joy and personal power.  

www.lisamunro.net (Website)  @llmunro (Twitter) @lisamunrophd (Facebook)
www.linkedin.com/in/lisamunro (LinkedIn)

Coaching Philosophy

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.

Adrienne Posner

Adrienne Posner is a Program Manager at Google and works on various internal and external educational initiatives focused on creating a more diverse workforce. Adrienne received her BA in Art History from UC Santa Cruz, completed a fellowship in Critical Theory at the Whitney Museum, and then took a detour into the non-profit sector, working for a time for a political action committee. Returning to school, she received an MA in Art History from UCLA and then applied to the Comparative Literature program at UCLA where she received a second MA, advanced to candidacy, and began work on a dissertation before deciding to leave the academy altogether.

Adrienne’s experience consulting with grad students began as a teaching assistant trainer and continued in her work at UCLA’s Graduate Writing Center, where she coached grad students through organizing, writing, editing, and filing their dissertations. Though no longer an academic, she is still actively engaged in working in higher education, both via her work at Google and via her consulting work helping graduate students navigate both academia and the non-academic job market.

Coaching Philosophy

As someone who has worked in the non profit sector and the museum world and then transitioned back into academia and then moved between academic programs and then back out of academia and into the tech sector, I have significant institutional knowledge and a wide range of experiences in a variety non-academic settings. If you’re on the fence about how or if to proceed with your degree, if you already have your degree but are considering a change, if you aren’t sure what skills or experiences make you marketable outside the academy, if you’re simply curious about what kinds of alt-ac jobs are out there, or if you want to better understand the tech landscape and how to apply for and get work that feels sustainable and personally meaningful, I can help.

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.



Our Moving On Team — 8 Comments

  1. Does anyone have a good “elevator speech” for explaining to non-academics — succinctly and somewhat objectively — what is wrong with academia? I am leaving academia because I hate it for all the reasons most post-acs do. I have a lovely elevator speech ready for job interviews that reveals none of the problems we know so well and does not in any way bash academia. But when close friends and family find out I am leaving, I would really like to be more honest. I’d like to be able to warn them away from sending their own child going to a large public R1 by saying helping them understand how little teaching is valued there, how the pressure for grant dollars is all-consuming and how many times we are told to cut corners with students. I’d like people to understand about the pyramid scheme that PhD programs have become, and the adjuncting crisis, or the scam that is academic publishing. I’d like to disabuse others of the notion that I am walking away from a job where I work just a few hours a week and have summers off, or will get free tuition for my kids, etc. In essence, I’d like to be able to tell people, in a nutshell, how broken academia is — because I think it is important for voters, and taxpayers, and alumni donors, and parents of college students to understand it. My husband used to work on Wall Street and the main reason he left was he saw so much that was unethical. When he left, I remember he had a hard time articulating to anyone the ugly things he’d witnessed. Mostly people thought he was crazy for walking away from a “great” high-paying, glamorous job. He kept saying to me, “I feel like I should write a book. Regular people need to understand what is happening.” Then about five years after he’d left, the financial crisis happened — and suddenly, regular people began to understand. I feel like the same thing is going to happen at some point in academia… but until then — is there any way to express what is wrong in 60 seconds or less? If you have such an elevator speech, please share!

  2. Pingback: Ask the Post-Acs: “What happens to my scholarly work after the transition?” | The Professor Is In

  3. Pingback: Would You Like a Career With That? History Beyond Traditional Teaching | history is central

  4. Sixty-seven-year-old (Ph.D. 2014) postdoc (and former student of KK–Transnational Anthropology class Fall 2000) needs help prioritizing for an inevitably short career. ‘Tried using the option above, but it greyed out after I began entering my information.

  5. I am looking to leave academia or go alt-ac. I’ve been an academic in one form or another for 9 years. I need to shift my CV and figure out what else I can do. I am in Canada. Who do I contact for consultation when I make the final decision?

  6. I’ve been teaching for almost 14 years and I’m tenured. I want to leave where I am and take an alt-ac job in an area where I have experience and can still help students be successful. My family desires to move to a particular state where the rest of our family resides. Positions are open at the university where I most desire to work, but the deadlines are only recently listed and closing soon. I’ve been working on a resume and cover letter, but I really want to consult with one of your alt-ac experts who help me with polishing the documents.

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