Social science and humanities PhDs are not the only ones asking, “If not academia, then what?” This week I was the inaugural guest on PhD in Progress, a podcast weekly podcast run by three molecular biology grad students from Princeton University. They asked me to share tips on how to transition to a nonacademic career. You can find the podcast here, http://phdinprogress.com/2/
In the first half of the podcast, Jason, Nikhil, and Abigail — the molecular biology trifecta! — discuss an article released by the American Institutes for Research titled “The Nonacademic Careers of STEM PhD Holders.” The article, released in April 2014, gives lots of stats on nonacademic careers for STEM PhDs and includes stats by gender and race. One statistic that stood out to me is that 61% of STEM PhDs pursue nonacademic careers. With such a high number who do not go into academic science, why are so many STEM grad students unclear about their options outside of the academy? How do STEM PhDs find pathways to nonacademic careers? Is there a preference among lab directors and STEM graduate programs for academic careers? Let me know if you have any insights on these questions. I’d love to hear your take on nonacademic careers for STEM PhDs. Also, feel free to share any recommendations on how STEM grad students can take advantage of their time in grad school to open new career paths.