We continue with our column, featuring interviews with PhDs who have charted a course unrelated to the tenure track, putting academia squarely in the rearview mirror.
Our hope is that seeing and hearing from a wide range of PhDs who are celebrating their careers rather than settling for them will inspire every grad student, ABD and PhD to add the road OFTEN traveled to their list of options.
We are excited to hear and share your stories. If you have a PhD and are working outside of the academy and would like to share your experience with TPII readers, we’d love to hear from you!Share Your Post Ac Story Here
Today we are pleased to feature Dr. Kate Krueger
PhD in Cell Biology, Yale
I pursued a PhD because I wanted a degree that would help me become a leader in my field. It did that. Currently, I run my own consulting firm in synthetic biology, alternative proteins and cultivated (lab grown) meat.
I started planning for a nonacademic career well in advance, explored different fields as a PhD student, and created an internship towards the end of my degree. That internship (at a startup that just raised $300M earlier this year – a far cry from the ~12 employees when I was there) was a game changer that helped me get my start in the alt-food space, and to make a meaningful contribution to the growing field.
I had gained lots of expertise in protein biochemistry during my degree (mainly structural biology and biochemistry) which directly applied to companies like Perfect Day, a start up making milk protein from yeast. I moved from Perfect Day to the parent nonprofit, New Harvest, which focused on academic research on protein technologies and lab grown meat. I was Research Director at New Harvest for 3 years before heading out on my own to do independent consulting.
For my fellow scientists: rigorous training is always useful. The world’s a really big place with tons of options. Go for it! Do your homework, plan ahead, find a field where you can uniquely contribute using your technical skill set, and make the leap.